Evangelism

It is the duty and privilege of every follower of Christ and of every church of the Lord Jesus Christ to endeavor to make disciples of all nations. The new birth of man’s spirit by God’s Holy Spirit means the birth of love for others. Missionary effort on the part of all rests thus upon a spiritual necessity of the regenerate life, and is expressly and repeatedly commanded in the teachings of Christ. The Lord Jesus Christ has commanded the preaching of the gospel to all nations. It is the duty of every child of God to seek constantly to win the lost to Christ by verbal witness undergirded by a Christian lifestyle, and by other methods in harmony with the gospel of Christ.

Genesis 12:1-3; Exodus 19:5-6; Isaiah 6:1-8; Matthew 9:37-38; 10:5-15; 13:18-30, 37-43; 16:19; 22:9-10; 24:14; 28:18-20; Luke 10:1-18; 24:46-53; John 14:11-12; 15:7-8,16; 17:15; 20:21; Acts 1:8; 2; 8:26-40; 10:42-48; 13:2-3; Romans 10:13-15; Ephesians 3:1-11; 1 Thessalonians 1:8; 2 Timothy 4:5; Hebrews 2:1-3; 11:39-12:2; 1 Peter 2:4-10; Revelation 22:17.

“Gospel” is one of the most common words in a Christian’s vocabulary. But what does it mean in the original languages of the Bible? In this video, we’ll discover that “gospel” is a royal announcement about Jesus, who is the crucified and risen King of the world who overcame death with his love.

Word Study: Euangelion – “Gospel,” The Bible Project

Evangelism means announcing the good news of Christ’ death, burial, resurrection, and ascension. Discipleship is the task of training believers to become mature followers of Christ, growing in their knowledge of, love for, and obedience to the Lord.

Evangelism and discipleship are foundational and essential elements of Christian mission—making God’s glory known among all peoples (Ps 96:3). In the Great Commission, Jesus said to his disciples, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Matt 28:18–20 ESV). Because making disciples is the heart of the command, the relationship between evangelism and discipleship is organic, making it difficult to detect where evangelism ends and discipleship begins.

In the ancient world, kings dispatched heralds to announce the good news of their victories in battle. The New Testament writers also understood evangelism as announcing God’s victory over sin and death through the death, burial, resurrection, and ascension of Christ. While this victory was proclaimed, audiences were invited to believe the good news, turn from lives of sin, and follow the risen Lord. Throughout the history of the church, evangelists (full‐time vocational preachers as well as committed laypeople) have approached Christian witness through a variety of means and contexts: from events such as open air “crusades” and small-group gatherings to personal relationships. Some have developed apologetics, offering a rational defense of Christian claims; others have mastered the art of dialogue, crossing religious and worldview boundaries in order to clarify the Christian message. Many have successfully proclaimed the good news by sharing their own faith story. Though Scripture affirms that some possess the gift of evangelism (Eph 4:11), the work of conversion does not depend on the skill of the preacher; it is a work of the Spirit.

Throughout the Gospels, Jesus called people to be his disciples through the simple invitation, “Follow me.” To be a disciple is to be Christ’s student or apprentice—one who loves and worships Christ, emulates his life, and understands and obeys his teachings. While individuals responded to the call to follow Jesus, discipleship in the New Testament is largely a community experience. Of the 262 times that the word “disciple” occurs in the New Testament, 239 usages are in the plural form. Jesus’ discipleship community included the Twelve (with a core of three), the Seventy, and the broader group of 500 followers. We simply do not observe the Lord having one‐on‐one discipleship appointments. As communities of Jesus followers expanded, new church plants naturally developed.

In short, Jesus’ command to make disciples of all peoples involves telling the good news, inviting friends to believe and follow Christ, training new believers, and establishing new faith communities. All of this occurs in the midst of caring relationships. This New Testament pattern remains a formative model for ministry today.

Ed Smither, “The Church’s Work of Evangelism and Discipleship,” in Lexham Survey of Theology, ed. Mark Ward et al. (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2018).