By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. John 13:35 ESV
“Go and make disciples”
In your experience, which is more difficult, evangelism or discipleship?
Immediate answer? Discipleship.
In the Muslim country where we lived, those who came to faith in Christ faced huge challenges and temptations that most of us can’t even begin to imagine. You might not believe me if I told you all the things even one of those people experienced!
More thought-out answer …
In thinking about outreach to our Muslim neighbors, it is helpful not to separate evangelism and discipleship.
In His great commission, Jesus talked about discipleship as something for people not yet reached with the gospel. “Go and make disciples of all nations (ethnē, people groups).”
Many people coming from non-Christian backgrounds understand that belief without paying the cost of being a disciple is not enough for them. “Faith without works is dead,” as James tells us in James 2:17. These people do not separate evangelism and discipleship, or from their perspective, they don’t make a distinction between accepting Christ as Savior and living the life of a disciple. Their conscience makes them hesitate to profess faith in Christ until they have counted the cost and finally decided to carry their cross.
And since so many cultures are committed to the importance of the community and the family as one’s source of identity, honor, and value, a person’s journey toward and even with Christ can be long and lonely.
What kind of disciple-making did Jesus model for us? It was life on life, with a community of followers who learned to trust and love their master and one another, and then welcome new disciples among their numbers. No one was left to make their journey alone.
Can one make disciples of other people without being a disciple himself or herself? We don’t think so. Because of this, Ethnē Outfitters emphasizes gospel witnesses living out their Christian faith in connection with other believers in a team context. We need to consistently grow in our understanding of grace, helping one another to appreciate the gospel more deeply and to love Jesus more fully and with a stronger and stronger commitment to life changes necessary to reach out to our Muslim neighbors. We need to develop as disciples ourselves if we are to make disciples of others.
And among all the other sayings of Jesus about being His disciples, we have the promise that the world will understand that we are identified with Jesus as His followers if we love one another. That’s just one more reason to reach out as a community of believers in Jesus. As a team.
Are you interested? Start your journey here.