“And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.” Acts [2:46]-47
Have you ever considered the difference between evangelism and discipleship?
Growing up, I thought of evangelism as something you had to “go out” to do. Like a mission trip or service project. The Oxford Dictionary defines evangelism as, “the spreading of the Christian Gospel by public preaching or personal witness.”
Christian discipleship, conversely, is the teaching or training of someone to be a follower of Jesus. Discipleship assumes that a person has already bought in to the truth of the Gospel and are now seeking to grow in their faith. Discipleship is for the believer, evangelism is for the unbeliever, and we often view them as mutually exclusive.
In the church described in Acts, it’s clear that discipleship and evangelism are happening simultaneously. These early Christians shared their lives with one another with generous hearts. They lived joy-filled lives. And they openly worshipped God together. They were experiencing discipleship. And what happened as a result? “The Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.” Their teaching, eating, preaching, worshiping, discipleship, was so attractive, it became a powerful tool of evangelism and grew the church. When a church lives out the Gospel it functions as both discipleship and evangelism!
God, help me live out your Gospel by the power of your Spirit. Help our church family to love and serve each other in a way that compels non-believers to desire what we have in Christ. Amen.
For Further Reading
1 Peter 3:8-17