There are those who tend to focus on evangelism at the expense of discipleship, and others who focus on discipleship at the expense of evangelism. But truly the two should not be separated and should exist in our lives as one in the same.
In order to follow Jesus I need to live as He lived, doing what He did. Jesus taught His disciples how to think and live from a Kingdom perspective–from the Father’s heart. But He also revealed the Father’s heart to the multitudes by compassionately and powerfully meeting their physical and spiritual needs. So, there were those that Jesus revealed the Father to through life ministry (His disciples), as well as those He revealed the Father to in life moments (the multitudes–strangers).
What I want you to see is that Jesus didn’t separate these two things. Instead, He seamlessly blended these two aspects of ministry. As a matter of fact, we can see all through the Gospels that the ministry of teaching His disciples often occurred in moments of reaching out to strangers. If this is what Christ did, it should be no different for us as His followers today.
Here’s the thing: You cannot separate following Christ from teaching others to follow Christ…or from stepping out in faith to reveal the love and power of God to the lost. It’s all discipleship. By pouring into another believer, I am teaching him to live out his identity in Christ…I am teaching him how to think and live from the Father’s heart. And by stepping out in faith to share Christ with a stranger (or any unsaved person), I am revealing the Father’s heart to that person. I am teaching him who God is…if even just for a moment. And God uses those moments (from me and others) to draw that person into a relationship with Himself through Jesus Christ.
…PS…These thoughts were inspired by the post of Pastor Trevor Nashleanas entitled, “Five Discipleship Principles From the Great Commission.”