Is the Commission Still Great?   •   Week 8

Is Missions Failing?

Facilitator Tip
Ice Breaker & Snacks

Ice Breaker Activity

  • What kind of student were you in elementary school? Teacher’s pet? Class clown?
  • At what age did you first see snow?
  • Would you rather participate in a snowball fight or a pillow fight?


Enjoy some luxuries that our unfortunate polar explorers probably didn’t: ice cream bars and hot chocolate.

Chapter Summary
Facilitation Recommendations

“So the vision of our world-sized part depends not so much on who we are, why we’re here, or where we’re going. Rather it depends on who Christ is, why He’s here, and where He’s going—because we are following Him.” –David Bryant


On the whole, missionaries haven’t made much impact. As the world population grows, we may even be losing ground. Our strategies haven’t worked well.

Chapter Summary

Facilitation Recommendations

The church has made huge progress toward the fulfillment of the Great Commission. The remaining needs of the world are staggering. Those two truths do not cancel out. We have a limited view of a God-sized task and must keep in mind that God’s church spans both geography and time. Let’s not be fooled into thinking that the Great Commission can be reduced to a checklist. Regardless of what we may see in any particular context, God’s global church is now growing rapidly, both in terms of individual believers and diversity of people groups. Ultimately, whether global missions is advancing or regressing in a particular location has little effect on our responsibility to pursue the Great Commission. Don’t allow a sense of negativity or failure to become an excuse for apathy or disobedience.

Discussion Questions
Need some extra questions?

Questions from the Book

  1. What encourages and discourages you about the Church’s progress in global missions?
  2. Do you find the distinction between Christianity and evangelical believers to be helpful as you read statistics?
  3. Do you find it more motivating to think about how much Great Commission work has already been accomplished, or to think about the remaining needs of the unreached?

Additional Questions

  1. Is most of what you hear about missions progress positive or negative?
  2. Were you already familiar with the terms “unreached” and “unengaged”? Do you find them to be helpful categories?
  3. What difference does it make to think in terms of people groups without gospel access rather than lost individuals? In what situations might each perspective be more helpful?
  4. Why do you think that God often works undercover? Why isn’t the progress of the gospel more obvious?
  5. What are your thoughts on measuring and tracking spiritual goals like disciple-making? In what ways do you think it’s helpful? How can it go wrong?
  6. Do you feel a tension between our responsibility to be diligent and strategic, and God’s habit of moving in unexpected ways? How does that affect your missions thinking and decision-making?
  7. Do you agree with the author that failing in a missions effort is better than apathy or disobedience? Why or why not? What examples have you seen?
  8. What is your key takeaway from this week’s discussion? What are you going to do differently this week as a result of what you learned?