Making Disciples Is No Excuse

Posted in church planting, discipleship by Nathan Creitz on January 8, 2006

I would say that, for me, discipleship is more of a strength than is evangelism. I’m not sure that the two need to be separate in a person’s life, but I recognize that most Christians gravitate more towards one or the other. This “gravitation” can be a problem, however, when we do one and neglect the other. A follower of Christ actively engages in both. Indeed, Christ, even in the act of evangelizing the lost, made sure his disciples were right there with him. Then, when they were ready, he sent them out to evangelize and make disciples. In other words, Jesus used evangelism to disciple his disciples to become evangelizing disciplers. He was the first to incorporate the multiplication method (or the 222 principle from 2 Timothy 2:2).

When we aren’t seeing people come to know Christ, sometimes we offer the excuse that we are disciplers, not evangelizers. When that is the case in someone’s life, evangelism is not happening, but neither is true discipleship. In my life, I have only seen a couple of people come to Christ in the past year. My desire is to see more people come to Christ even though I gravitate more towards discipleship. My desire is based on the belief that I can’t be an effective discipler if I am not an effective evangelizer. I never want my desire to disciple followers of Christ to be an excuse for a lack of lost people coming to Christ.

As pastor of The Church at the Gate, I want to make sure that we teach the whole gospel of God. As I equip others to use their gifts for the glory of God through the church, I hope that they will learn that discipleship and evangelism are inseparable partners. Both are only possible through the power of the Spirit, so if I do discipleship in the flesh then it is powerless, but if I disciple others in the power of the Spirit then much is accomplished and people come to know Christ. If I evangelize in my own power, no one will come to the Truth. But if I evangelize in the power of the Spirit then many will come to know him and there will be more people to be discipled and trained through the church.

We all have different strengths and gifts, but all of us have been commanded to bear witness to the Truth and to reveal the glory of God and to be ambassadors of reconciliation, in short, to be evangelizers. We have all been commanded to make disciples of all the nations and to train others to do the same, or, to be disciplers. We are commanded to do both, regardless of our strength. In the end, it’s not about what I’m good at anyway. In fact, it’s more about my weakness when it comes to displaying the glory of God.

Boston (42° 21′ , -71° 7′)


One Response

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  1. joe kennedy said, on January 9, 2006 at 10.52 pm

    Right on man. Dr. Younce explained the whole church function as a cycle:

    Teaching leads to worship, which leads to caring, which leads to evangelism, which leads back to teaching…

    We might all have different roles within it, but all are necessary for a healthy cycle.

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