A recent poll conducted by the Barna Group has found that more than half of Christians in the U.S. have not "heard of the Great Commission," which refers to Christ's commandment for his followers to "go and make disciples of all nations."
The study, which was conducted in partnership with Seed Company, has indicated that 51 percent of U.S. churchgoers have said that they are not aware of the term the "Great Commission," and only 17 percent are familiar with the passage associated with the term.
A total of 25 percent have said that they are familiar with the term, but they cannot remember what it is. Six percent said they were not sure whether they have heard the term before.
When Barna presented the respondents with five different Bible verses, about 37 percent were able to correctly identify Matthew 28:18-20, the passage associated with the "Great Commission."
Among those who said they have previously heard of the term, 94 percent selected the correct passage. Thirty-three percent of churchgoers said they do not know which of the five verses is the Great Commission, while 33 percent answered incorrectly.
When it comes to age, the figures revealed that Millennials were the least likely to correctly identify the Matthew 28 and also the least likely among adult generations to be unfamiliar with the Great Commission.
Only 34 percent of Millennials were able to correctly identify the Great Commission, compared to 43 percent of Elders, 42 percent of Boomers and 41 percent of Gen X.
The Barna Group noted that the low number churchgoers familiar with the term may be due to the decreasing use of the term in churches.
"The data indicates that churches are using the phrase less, which may reveal a lack of prioritizing or focusing on the work of the Great Commission, but may also indicate that the phrase, rather than the scriptures or the labor, has simply fallen out of favor with some," the polling firm noted.
The organization further noted that the study cannot be used to determine "whether respondents are ignorant of the scriptural mandate itself, or just unaware that it is commonly called the Great Commission."
The results were based on interviews conducted last October with a nationally representative sample of 1,010 U.S. adults, as well as 619 pastors and 1,004 American adult churchgoers. Barna stressed that the term "churchgoers" refers to someone who has attended services within the past six months.
The polling firm also conducted an initial research in July 2017 to study perceptions of missions and Bible translation. Among the participants of the initial study were 25 pastors, 31 practicing Christians and 28 churchgoing Millennials.