The Fuel & Exhaust of Disciple-Making
Discipleship is the engine of any good ministry. Just as engines need fuel for proper maintenance and performance, discipleship is dependent upon evangelism to keep it running. Unfortunately, though, evangelism is one of the most neglected aspects of discipleship-engine health. As an engine cannot run apart from the input of fuel, discipleship will not run without evangelistic input of new disciples. And just as an engine produces exhaust fumes to indicate proper performance, so, too, does biblical discipleship produce evangelism.
Evangelism is essential to a number of things, but it is particularly essential to a ministry or church that is intent on carrying out the Great Commission. Evangelistic ministries not only believe the gospel, but believe in its power (Romans 1:16). If the gospel is the power of God for salvation to anyone, then why believe anyone is beyond its reach? Without evangelism, discipleship dies. If there are no converts, then there are no new disciples. And if there are no new disciples, then there can be no discipleship.
Evangelism is clearly God’s work and not our own (Ephesians 2:1, 4). Therefore, humility bookends evangelism. Since the faithfulness of God, and not our fruitfulness, is the hope behind evangelism, we pray on the front-end of evangelistic encounters and praise him for the fruit on the backend. And through God’s faithfulness, evangelism is always effective:
- Evangelism leads to testimonies of God’s incredibly forgiving patience: (1 Timothy 1:16-17) If God could save the likes of us, then why not others?
- Evangelism leads to the break-up of holy huddles: (1 Corinthians 5:9-10) We are called to two things: to not be OF this world, but to most definitely be IN it.
- Evangelism is a constant reminder of eternity: (2 Corinthians 5:16) Evangelistic eyes lead us to look beyond the flesh to one’s future eternal destination.
- Evangelism keeps believers banking on the Bible: (John 20:31) Which words are you banking on in evangelism? Your speech or the Scripture? “These were written that you may believe in the Son of God and that by believing you might have eternal life.”
- Evangelism makes for a very happy people: (3 John 4) What makes parents and grandparents happy? The birth of their children and grandchildren! Likewise, John says we will have no greater joy than to hear of our spiritual children walking in truth.
Evangelism should be the fuel that propels your vision and ministry forward. The Great Commission cannot be obeyed apart from evangelism (Matthew 28:18-20). The making of disciples is contingent upon the converting of them. Without evangelism and the birth of new disciples, discipleship will dry up and new spiritual generations will cease to exist (2 Timothy 2:2). If Paul’s most repetitious sermon was the gospel, then what he practiced before many witnesses most often was evangelism. Evangelism speeds the coming of the kingdom (Matthew 24:14). Jesus Christ still tarries NOT for lack of love of more conversions, but for lack of laborers to use in conversion.