This brings me to the topic “Evangelism is Discipleship.” At FJMC, over the years we have experienced pain when brothers or sisters fell away from the faith. Some have left the fellowship of the church of Jesus Christ and never entered another community of believers. A rallying cry regarding this painful development can and should include “We need to live and walk closer to God and to each other so that we can encourage one another in the faith.” Certainly, a natural outworking of that goal is discipleship, giving ourselves fully to knowing God, to the work of discipling each other in the faith through prayer in the Spirit, through the ministry of the Word, and through the fellowship of the Gospel.
Even with this discipleship focus, let us not pit discipleship against evangelism. Every disciple, whether a new believer or a “seasoned” follower of Jesus, should be a “preacher of the gospel.” If God has given you the privilege of mentoring another believer, or of participating in a Bible study with someone, do not forget that some of the greatest discipleship that person can experience is the privilege of sharing his/her faith with family, friend, and even complete strangers. Look at the blessings we receive when we see others released from bondage! Because we have received the blessings of redemption and freedom from the bondage of sin through faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, we should regularly share our faith with others, and pray for opportunities to “do the work of an evangelist.” If we don't the “first love” we had with Jesus Christ wanes. Evangelism is most effective when done as a pouring out of the love that God has given us, as in “If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God” I Peter 4:11. While we should build each other up and encourage each other in the faith, let us not neglect to “do the work of an evangelist”, because evangelism has that remarkable ability to encourage discipleship.