In this post, I want to explain how I see prayer, outreach, evangelism, and discipleship flowing together as we tell the good news of Jesus Christ.
Prayer. Prayer is the essential foundation. The process of people responding to the gospel begins and ends with God. New birth begins with God. As we tell the gospel, we have an opportunity to participate in the delivery of a new believer, something like the role of a midwife, but God is the one who creates new life. Evangelism also ends with God; it is to his glory and for the extension of his kingdom. Since it begins and ends with God, prayer is the necessary foundation.
Outreach. This is the process of people from inside of the church connecting with people outside the church through community needs and interests. The goal is to build credible personal relationships. My good friend Dr. Ken Priddy has served as a church revitalization trainer for many years. He teaches that outreach is a strategic priority for the Church. It is strategic because it is much more effective to tell the gospel to people we know than to strangers. Outreach may be thought of as pre-evangelism. Yet I am finding that many churches think they are doing evangelism when all they are doing is outreach.
Evangelism. This is connecting people who don’t yet believe in the Jesus of the Bible with the crystal clear gospel of Jesus Christ. The goal is to proclaim the gospel with clarity while trusting the Spirit of God to do the amazing work of transformation that causes that gospel to be understood and results in new life in Christ.
Discipleship. A disciple of Christ is a follower of Jesus. The Great Commission in Matthew 28 commissions us to make disciples. That same commission indicates that a disciple is a baptized believer who is learning to obey everything that Jesus has commanded. Discipleship requires more than head knowledge, it involves how we live. Ultimately, a disciple is one who loves, lives, and then tells the good news about Jesus Christ.