A Philosophy of Evangelism, Part 5: Lifestyle Evangelism & Integrating Discipleship

This entry is part [part not set] of 5 in the series A Philosophy of Evangelism

About this series: Developing a biblically rooted philosophy of evangelism can greatly enhance the effectiveness of outreach and evangelism ministries. In this final part of a five-part series, Ken Boa wraps up this series by discussing the approach of lifestyle evangelism as well as “what comes after evangelism” (discipleship).

Biblical evangelism is a lifestyle to be lived, not a lesson to be learned; it is a process more than a program.

In recent years, the concept of lifestyle evangelism—also called relational or friendship evangelism—has been taught in a growing number of churches and ministries. This relational approach to evangelism as a way of life has the advantages of stressing the cultivation process and of being less threatening to most believers than methods that are more confrontational. But it is important to avoid the two extremes of all friendship without evangelism and all evangelism without friendship.Twitter By being dependent on the Spirit and sensitive to the opportunities he provides, we can seek the right balance between . . .

  • Incarnation and proclamation
  • Love and truth
  • Actions and reasons
  • Walk and talk
  • Life and lips
  • Intention and information

Go Deeper

Ken Boa lays out more of his philosophy on lifestyle evangelism and discipleship in his book Conformed to His Image (in “Facet 11: Nurturing Spirituality”). You can purchase the book in our store or on Amazon.com in three formats.

“The believer’s highest call in ministry is to reproduce the life of Christ in others. Reproduction takes the form of evangelism for those who do not know Christ and edification for those who do.” —Ken Boa, in Conformed to His Image

Integrating Discipleship and Evangelism

Just as discipleship should lead to evangelism, evangelism in turn should lead to discipleship. Evangelism is the beginning of the journey of knowing Jesus, not the end.Twitter Our Lord commissioned us to make disciples, not decisions (Matthew 28:18–20).

And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18–20)

The joy of the journey commences with conversion and increases with maturity. As a spiritual father, Paul wanted his converts in Thessalonica to grow into the fullness of formation in the image of Christ:

You are witnesses, and so is God, how devoutly and uprightly and blamelessly we behaved toward you believers; just as you know how we were exhorting and encouraging and imploring each one of you as a father would his own children, so that you would walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls you into his own kingdom and glory. (1 Thessalonians 2:10–12)

Spiritual obstetrics should naturally and smoothly transition into spiritual pediatrics. This follow-up process requires love, patience, and acceptance, since growth is gradual and young children tend to make messes.

For more about sharing your faith in today’s world, check out our “Evangelism in a Postmodern World” series. 

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