Evangelism & Discipleship

Evangelism and discipleship are buzz words in the church. But what do we mean by them? How do you describe evangelism and discipleship and how do they relate?

Evangelism is trusting that God will supernaturally act in our human effort of communicating the message that Jesus Christ is Lord, with the hope that our audience, believer or nonbeliever, responds by trusting, repenting, following and obeying Jesus. Adapted from Sam Chan’s Evangelism in a Sceptical World.

Read Peter’s sermon in Acts 3. See Peter’s trust. Hear the message Jesus is Lord as the explanation for Peter’s actions and faith. Let your heart be once again evangelised by the truth about God communicated to you. Respond to the call to repent, to turn to God. The nonbeliever responds in faith for the first time. The believer responds by holding fast in trust and growing in their commitment to obediently follow Jesus. Both continue to unpack the implications of Jesus as their Lord.

Discipleship is the relational context of evangelism. Every story in the Gospels is a story of relationship, of Jesus relating with people and God. Jesus communicates to his disciples by his teaching, ministry, death and resurrection that he is God’s chosen King and equips his disciples to share this message to the world by making disciples. In the Gospels we are invited into a discipleship relationship with Jesus, to be evangelised by the same words Jesus used to evangelise his first disciples. This serves as a helpful reminder that all believers share the common ground that we are disciples of Jesus.

Jesus commissions and empowers his disciples to continue to make disciples (Matthew 28). Paul describes, from the disciple makers perspective, the discipleship responsibility in this way:“Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” 1Corinthians 11:1.

Discipleship is experienced by committing to relationship, firstly with Jesus, and also with examples of followers of Jesus who evangelise you.

Before asking: Who can I evangelise and disciple?
Ask first: Who have I placed in my life to continue to disciple and evangelise me?

I am confident that from this foundation God will reveal to you who you are called to disciple and evangelise, helping them to continue to discover what it means for Jesus to be their Lord.

Pastor Isaac