The proverbial question Which comes first the chicken or the egg? has never acquired an authoratative answer. Guess it’s how you look at it. The same is true with discipleship and evangelism. Evangelism does not, however, insure discipleship but a growing disciple should be trained and involved in discipleship.
Our discipleship program, launched in Haiti to disciple literacy-challenged believers has garnered results we never anticipated. Recently some seminary students, enthused to reach unreached areas began spending time in a small village in the mountain area of their country. They used the first four modules of our program to evangelize. Who is God? How do you get to know Him? What does it mean to be a follower of Christ? What is the meaning of baptism? Topics that speak to unbelievers.
The response speaks for itself. Today there is a congregation averaging over sixty each Sunday. New believers are being discipled with the continuing modules of the program and other non-believers are being evangelized by new converts. The people of the village have given land and a donor from the U. S. has provided the money to build their first place of worship. Discipling pays huge dividends.
Most believers are aware of Peter’s words of challenge, Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have (I Peter 3.15). An aim of discipleship is to equip followers of Christ to do so. Many questions asked of believers are tough ones and unbelievers don’t expect easy answers.
A good friend, Dr. Raymond C. Hundley, has provided two great texts for helping us answer those difficult questions. I highly recommend them. Answers to Life’s Toughest Questions and More Answers to Life’s Toughest Questions are available from him at $12. each. If interested, address your order to him at 926 Ell Way; Sarasota, FL 34243.
Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their decitful scheming (Eph. 4.14). Such is a worthy goal of discipleship.
Wouldn’t it be fantastic if every believer considered himself a discipler? The question deserves some explanation. Discipling can be considered on different levels. Some discipling is more intentional and structured. Some is unintentional and informal.
Every contact that a believer has with a non-believer should have as its ultimate goal evangelism, praying that someday that person would become a Christ-follower. Every contact with another believer should have as its goal discipleship, edification. One could ask, “Is my contact with my fellow believer one which provokes to love and good works. Will my brother or sister in Christ be motived, by contact with me, to desire a deeper relationship with Him?
There have been people in my life who have inspired me to want to be more than I am. Their very presence exudes the spirit of Christ. Their conversation is always seasoned with salt. I want to be a person like that.
Whether formal or informal, structured or unstructured, discipling should be on the agenda of every believer.