Author’s note: This is a philosophy statement I recently submitted for consideration at a church.
Update (23 March 2012): Here is a pdf file of this statement
Discipleship and evangelism hold an important position in the purpose of the local church. Whereas the primary purpose of the local church is to exalt God, the secondary and tertiary purposes of the local church are to edify the saints and evangelize the lost respectively. This document is an offering toward a biblical philosophy of discipleship and evangelism. The reader will notice the order in which this document considers these two purposes. The order accounts for the nature of local church ministry—i.e., in some measure evangelism cannot occur unless discipleship has occurred. Christian discipleship will be considered first.
The primary basis for the oughtness of local church discipleship and evangelism is Matthew 28:19-20. This passage is a record of where the Lord Jesus initiated The Great Commission. This commission includes not only the mandate of evangelism but also the mandate of discipleship. Implicit in this commission is the universal scope relating to who is to heed the mandate. That is, all believers ought to obey the command to “make disciples.” In obedience to the Lord’s command, the local church should seek to faithfully proclaim the message of the gospel to the lost and see those who trust Christ and come under the authority of the local church become disciple-making disciples (cf. 2 Tim 2:1-2). Continue reading