Discipleship Growth through Evangelism

By Joel Comiskey, Making Disciples in the 21st Century Church, 2023

Jesus spoke more about hell than heaven (Matthew 25). People without Jesus are lost for eternity; we know Jesus is the only way to the Father (John 14:6). We must be urgent about sharing the gospel.

But I find great joy in knowing that as I share the gospel, I become a stronger disciple of Jesus. In other words, a key motivation behind sharing the gospel is growing like Jesus and becoming his disciple more fully. Sharing the gospel helps us to stretch our muscles and depend on Jesus.

The same is true with group evangelism. As the group plans and prepares to reach out, each member grows in Christ. Does your group have evangelism goals? Are you planning evangelistic activity? Do you pray for the empty chair and a new person to fill it?

Recently my cell group planned an outreach to the migrant population at Home Depot (a large house appliance store chain in the U.S.). Those looking for work stand at Home Deport or sit in parked cars. We packed “food” baskets with gospel tracts. We set up a medical table to monitor blood pressure. Teams of two or three approached people and shared the gospel. Were people touched? Yes. Were people grateful? Yes. But guess what? We grew as disciples of Jesus and went away rejoicing and even closer as a cell group. We are now planning our next activity. Everyone is excited.

Often groups don’t aggressively evangelize because they’re afraid of failure. “Will we turn people off?” “What if no one comes to the cell?” Yet when we go beyond results to discipleship growth, we grow into Christ’s likeness and enjoy seeing Jesus give the fruit (A non-Christian husband went with us to Home Depot and recently received Jesus in our cell group!).

In 2023, we’ve discussed mending nets, praying for the lost, meeting needs, and focusing on our Oikos. The thrust for 2023, in other words, has been reaching out. But remember that a critical reason for evangelism is to become more like Jesus. Christ told us to reach a lost and hurting world, and as we do, we grow as his disciples (Matthew 28:18-20)

Recently, I talked to a pastor who considered challenging his leaders to grow their groups to 15. Each group was supposed to grow to 15 people. Yes, it would be wonderful if each group grew to 15, but I also envisioned a lot of discouraged leaders trying to reach the pastor’s goal. I encouraged the pastor to change the goal to each group aggressively evangelizing in the community. I reminded the pastor that cell members become disciples when reaching out, and only God would fill their cells as they reached out.

Let’s keep our goals simple and doable: become disciples of Jesus through community, participation, evangelism, and multiplication. The cell system is vital in the process of discipleship. For July, experienced leaders and pastors will write 25 blogs on discipleship through evangelism. Click here if you’d like to receive these blogs in your inbox. We’ll cover the following: 

  • July 02-08: Key motivation for evangelism is to grow in discipleship. 
  • July 09-15: Not becoming weary in reaching out to those who don’t know Jesus as a group. 
  • July 16-22: Various evangelistic activities will help stretch cell group muscles and make each member more like Jesus.
  • July 23 to July 29: Group evangelism is different from individual outreach. We’ll discuss the differences this week. 
  • July 30 to August 05: God is doing great things through group outreach. We’ll share testimonies of what he is doing through cell outreach.

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