The following is a guest article from Matt Brown *. We thought it did a great job discussing the importance of evangelism in the discipleship process. Share your thoughts below the article!
I posted recently on PastorEquip.com about an idea that has been rumbling around in my heart for a while now:
Discipleship is not full circle until we are doing evangelism. Without evangelism, discipleship is simply INCOMPLETE.
It all started when a Youth Pastor friend confided in me that his strong suite was not evangelism. He felt that he was far more gifted in discipleship. I didn’t think much of the conversation at the time, except for feeling sympathetic towards his plight.
But as I’ve thought back on that day, I’ve had a growing realization that there is a fundamental flaw in this kind of thinking. Many Pastors claim to be good at either discipleship or evangelism; generally not both. As if there were a Biblical distinction between the two.
The problem with separating evangelism and discipleship is that evangelism is not meant to be separated from discipleship. Evangelism is actually a huge part of full discipleship. And vice versa.
Would we say Jesus’ job was done if he had been teaching his disciples to live good moral lives, but never did any seeking and saving of the lost? Honestly, where would our movement be in the world today, if the first followers of Christ had not relentlessly given of themselves to get the gospel out? We cannot call ourselves disciplers if we are not teaching people to spread the gospel. And if we are not spreading the gospel ourselves, there would be a huge gap in the process of discipleship Christ called us to.
So here it is full circle:
Discipleship isn’t full circle unless we are doing evangelism. Evangelism isn’t full circle unless we are discipling.
The reality is that we need to be both relational and relentless in both of these areas. For evangelism to be effective we need to be relational and relentless. For discipleship to be effective, we also need to be relational and relentless.
A final component here is that God, by His Holy Spirit is the one who brings progress in both of these areas in our students:
- The Holy Spirit in evangelism: “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him.” (John 6:44). We need God to move. We are needy of His work in our work. We need Him to draw students to the gospel as we do our best to communicate it effectively to them.
- The Holy Spirit in discipleship: “So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.” (1 Corinthians 3:7). We need God to bring the growth of the spiritual life inside of our students. We plant and we water, but if He doesn’t move and bring growth, our work will fall short.
In all these efforts we work relationally and relentlessly, but we also entrust our work to the Lord, who through His Holy Spirit also works relationally and relentlessly in the life of every student, for His glory.
*“This article reflects the views of the author. It is being distributed by Dare 2 Share to spur dialogue and challenge youth leaders to mobilize their students to reach their generation for Christ.“
Do you see this dichotomy between evangelism and discipleship in your own life? Or in the life of leaders around you? Do you think we are missing the mark in this area by separating them as two distinct parts of the spiritual life in our students, and our own lives?