Two thousand years ago, Jesus left a command for his disciples to fulfill. It is the most comprehensive and challenging command given—to make disciples of all nations and to teach all to obey all of Jesus’ teachings. Great strides in the world mission movement can be observed, yet a paradox seems evident. While there are more Christians in the world each day, more Bible translations, more unreached people groups hearing or reading the Gospel, and more and better resources for conducting mission, churches are losing their influence and impact in their communities.
The declining impact of the church around the world is observable by the seeming increase in poverty, injustice, corruption, and violence. Jesus taught his disciples the great command—that is, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. … You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22:38-39 NASB. If the latter part of the command is not taking place, then one might assume that the former part of the command is not a present reality. We simply cannot love God and not love our neighbors.