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Was Jesus Christ's church (the primitive church) a missionary church?

Matthew 28, verses 19-20 leads me to believe it was. It says,

Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

Can we take this to mean that if Jesus Christ's church is on the earth today that it is involved in missionary work (ie. teaching all nations, baptizing them, and teaching them to observe the commandments)?

If so, which churches today are the most missionary-minded (in terms of number of missionaries)?

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This is unfortunately going to be largely subjective. What measurement are you looking for? Amount of investment per capita? Number of missionaries per capita? Does building things count? –  Narnian Jan 28 at 13:35
    
Good question but I don't think this is answerable. There might be some websites which have some reliable data regarding this. –  Mawia Jan 28 at 14:13
    
@Narnian I realize that this question may take some research, but I am interested in number of missionaries alone. Which church has the most? Does anyone have a number for the Jehovah's Witnesses? –  user9652 Jan 28 at 17:29
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Would make more sense if some of these answers had actual data as reference –  gerdi Jan 29 at 14:45
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Are you looking for effort proportional to the size of the church? –  DJClayworth Jan 31 at 13:45
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4 Answers 4

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Mormons

80 000+ missionaries in serving in more than 400 missions throughout the world. REF

Jehovah's Witnesses

Total hours spent in the field ministry during their past service year (September 2012 - August 2013) 1,841,180,235 REF

Christian

Total number of foreign missionaries 419,000 REF

Catholic

The number of lay missionaries in the world is 335,502 units, REF


I would find it extremely hard to find actual usable statistical data on this.

Just a side stat which i find relevant only because Jesus basically spend his time healing people

MSF Doctors without Borders

MSF provides medical care to approximately 8 million people through more than 400 projects in nearly 70 countries worldwide.

Although they do not baptize people, they most certainly follow a very selfless dedication to the upliftment of humans without prejudice or pride. Which i kinda think jesus was ultimately teaching REF

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The reference to MSF is irrelevant. Their mission statement could easily be stated by a religion other than Christianity. Also,"Christian" reference is very broad. The question specifically asked for specific churches...there are thousands of non Catholic Christian "churches." –  Charles Alsobrook Feb 7 at 1:14
    
I spent a good bit of time trying to find stats on this subject and that is as close as i got. Please if you can find better stats that would be great. Please note that the reference to MSF was a "side note" just for anyone interested. I did try and format the text to indicate as such. If you read the question it does not actually say "specific churches" as you state. I included churchs of which i found information on the subject. And even the information found, is found wanting. –  gerdi Feb 7 at 7:12
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Currently The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has over 82,000 full time proselytizing missionaries and another 10,000 service or humanitarian missionaries. All serve on a volunteer basis and are required to pay most of their expenses. Financial assistance is also available for those who have limited resource. See here for more info Aside from full time missionary service, all members are taught to be missionary minded in their everyday lives and always look for opportunities to share the gospel of Jesus Christ.

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This is an interesting answer but this is only one organization. To answer this question fully "which churches today are the most missionary-minded (in terms of number of missionaries)?" comparison data from a few organisations would be ideal. –  gerdi Jan 30 at 8:29
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@gerdi I gave those numbers in my answer and links. The Mormon church has over 82,000 fulltime proselytizing missionaries in roughly 400 different missions around the world. Most of those missionaries serve roughly for 18 months to 2 years. Those are the numbers for our church. –  Nelson Jan 30 at 14:26
    
yeah , that is for 1 church. How can this be an answer for question based on the plural .. churchs. –  gerdi Jan 30 at 17:05
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@gerdi Members of other churches are free to inform us of their numbers. These are ours. There is no other church that I am aware of with as many fulltime proselytizing missionaries as the Mormon Church. So using that as the metric the Mormon church would be the most missionary minded Christian church in the world. –  Nelson Jan 30 at 21:13
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@gerdi. Nelson has given an answer for his church. Obviously it would be silly of him to begin speaking about other churches he does not belong to. If you have data from other churches, please display it so that we CAN compare. –  Vladhagen Feb 7 at 1:04
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I'm only aware of two Christian denominations that place a strong emphasis on missionary work, to the point where ordinary members are expected to serve as missionaries, and both lie outside of mainstream Christianity: Jehovah's Witnesses and Latter-Day Saints.

They take different approaches; the Jehovah's Witnesses expect members to take small amounts of time out of their lives (a few hours at a time) to go proselytizing within their own communities on a regular basis. The Mormons, on the other hand, send members to other places, generally either other countries or distant parts of their own country, for two years to live the life of a dedicated "full-time missionary," which is done once. (And potentially again, much later in life, after retirement.)

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Highly opinionated with no reference data. No reference even to the organizations mission statement outlining their role in missionary work –  gerdi Jan 30 at 8:18
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@gerdi: Here is a reference in the case of the LDS Church. And Mason Wheeler is spot on in his assesment of the LDS I might add. mormon.org/values/missionary-work –  Vladhagen Feb 7 at 1:01
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Here's a current NY Times article to back up this post: nytimes.com/2014/03/02/us/a-growing-role-for-mormon-women.html (its focus is on the women serving as missionaries, but many, many relevant facts are stated.) –  Matt Mar 3 at 17:38
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Jehovah's Witnesses are very focused on preaching and teaching the good news of the kingdom, including missionary work. (Matthew 24:14, 1 Timothy 2:4, Acts 10:34, 35)

Here are the worldwide statistics for the preaching and teaching activity of Jehovah's Witnesses in the past servivce year according the 2014 Yearbook of Jehovah’s Witnesses (the service year is from September - August, so these stats are for September 2012 - August 2013):

  • Lands 239
  • Publishers 7,965,954 (number of people actively preaching and teaching)
  • Total hours spent in the field ministry during the past service year 1,841,180,235
  • Bible studies during the past service year 9,254,963.

That same yearbook shows this information for the website jw.org which contains lots of Bible based learning resources:

  • 316 Languages in which the Web site is available
  • 220,000+ Number of Web pages on the site
  • 600 Languages in which downloadable publications are available
  • 130 Requests for Bible studies per day from over 230 countries
  • 5 million+ Videos viewed per month
  • 1.5 million Downloads per day
  • 900,000+ Visits per day from over 230 countries

Here are some statistics found in the April 2014 Watchtower magazine for the printing of each issue:

  • 45,944,000
  • 213 Languages

All of Jehovah's Witnesses are expected to have a regular, active share in preaching and teaching.

As far as missionary work goes, according to the lesson "What Is Missionary Service?" from the brochure "Who Are Doing Jehovah’s Will Today?" since 1943, more than 8,000 Gilead-trained missionaries have been sent out to witness in some 200 lands. Unlike most people who claim to do "missionary" work, these missionaries primarily focus on preaching and teaching the Bible. That number of more than 8,000 only includes those sent out after training at Gilead. There are many more who make sacrifices to preach where there is a greater need than where they come from.

Jehovah's Witnesses imitate the greatest missionary, Jesus Christ. He was willing to leave his home and life in the heavens to live as a human for a time. (John 6:38; Philippians 2:7) According to Jesus own words the main purpose of this was to "declare the good news of the kingdom". (Luke 4:43)

For more information please see the lesson "How Can You Recognize True Worship?" from that same brochure.

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Again no data against other denominations. This question is based on the assumption that you all understand what a plural is. –  gerdi Jan 31 at 7:54
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