The Church, for the most part, has reverse engineered EVANGELISM and inverted DISCIPLESHIP. For the purposes of this article, I will make a distinction between the two, but I do not want to suggest that such a distinction is necessarily biblical.
With regard to evangelism, we’ve put the cart before the horse and changed the destination. Evangelism is simply the preaching or proclaiming of the Gospel. One of the results of good gospel preaching is the salvation of souls. It is not, however, the only, nor the ultimate result. To make individual conversion the primary point of evangelism is to set a skewed trajectory which targets “decisions” and does not produce disciples.
- We preach the Gospel to glorify God, not ourselves.
- We preach the gospel out of obedience.
- We preach the gospel because it demonstrates our love for our neighbor.
- We preach the gospel to express our gratitude for God’s work of grace in us.
When we preach the gospel to “win souls,” or to make converts, then all of the bullet points above are jeopardized. Simply put, when we evangelize to convert, we run backwards from the finish line holding up a mirror so that we can see where we’re going.
In the second part of this article, I will defend the proposition that the church has inverted discipleship and put the onus on it’s hierarchical leadership rather than the “non-leading” congregational masses. But for now, a few questions:
In your opinion, is evangelism’s primary objective the salvation of souls?
What benefit does evangelism have for those who already believe?
Is there a clear and biblical distinction between evangelism and discipleship?
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