Friday, January 12, 2018

Evangelism/Discipleship

Sometimes I wonder why we in the church see so many "twin truths" or concepts in scripture as an either/or rather than a both/and. We seem to like to make dichotomies about things. When we do, we almost invariably divide ourselves into two camps as if we are on opposite sides and almost demonize one another for no reason.

One such area of the church is the evangelism/discipleship discussion. It seems that the church would be better served and our unity be better held together about the mission of the church if we saw these as two sides of the same coin or like a yin-yang symbol.

Sure, they may be distinct in their individual definitions, but that doesn't mean we have to turn this into an either/or discussion and debate. There really is a flow between these two, isn't there?

That's probably why I appreciate the designation of "disciple-making" to describe the whole shooting match, so to speak. I was listening to an older video by David Platt the other day, and he reminded me about the arch in the gospel of Matthew. Jesus begins in Matthew 4 with the call, "follow me and I will make you fishers of men". Then, Jesus closes his earthly ministry in Matthew 28 with the command, "go and make disciples of all nations". Recognizing this arch in the gospel of Matthew, I believe, helps us keep the evangelism/discipleship purpose of the church as a both/and rather than an either/or concept.

Disciple-making includes relationship building with the unsaved (which seems to be so very important today) so we can love people & share the gospel (evangelize) with them. Then, as the Lord saves them, we are able to equip, train, "disciple" them so they can in turn, do the same thing -- reproduce. That's why The Master Plan of Evangelism by Robert Coleman is a great tool to help one synthesize the pattern of disciple-making (evangelism/discipleship) that Jesus set for us.

Just a few thoughts rolling around...