Evangelism is an event in the process of disciple making. That seems so elementary but it is apparently not near as basic as it first appears. On a trip to Russia I am just finishing today I have been teaching on evangelism in five different cities and numerous churches and conference settings. And, it is very clear that the average believer has not given much of any though to what the Bible states is our main task – seeking and saving the lost and then discipling the new believer.
Let me give you an example. In every place I have been I became the verse that states, “Go into all the world and …” leaving it for those listening to complete. It always came back wrong – most times their answer was “and preach the Gospel.” Of course, their understanding determines what they do. If they don’t feel called to preach then they can excuse themselves and say this is not their calling. Yet, when properly understood as “make disciples” no believer is excused from doing what they are told to do because as a disciple they are to reproduce and make more disciples. A proper understanding of the Great Commission is of utmost importance.
The Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20) states that we are to make disciples. It goes on to state that once you have a baby disciple they need to be baptized and then taught everything Jesus taught and commanded us (1050 commands) and that when we are about this process or walking on this journey of disciple-making He is with us. So, having someone receive the Lord is only the first of many steps that the new and true convert must take. It is simply the start of the journey through discipling, training, equipping, and mentoring. It is the beginning of a life-long journey.
Every disciple is called to be walking this process and taking this journey. At the same time every disciple is commanded to be looking for others who they can share the Gospel with and win to the Lord and thus begin to disciple and move them forward in this maturing process. This process or journey until they reach both a place where they know their gifts and are ministering to other believers as well as being involved in missions and also reaching out to the lost that they know.
Of course, at times this is somewhat stretching and thus uncomfortable. But here is an evangelistic truth I have discovered: “God tends to choose and use people outside their comfort zone.”
Where do you stand – inside or outside your comfort zone? Who are you sharing Jesus with? And, who have you led to the Lord recently? Remember, we are all called to “follow Him and become fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19).