Should I focus on Discipleship or Evangelism?

This seems to be the perennial question for most leaders, especially those who are trying to be missional – where should I spend the majority of my time and energy?

Should I focus on discipleship or evangelism?

Andreas Kostenberger addresses this question in an essay in a new book titled Shepherding God’s Flock. Here is what he has to say (regarding the themes of Luke 15):

The figure of the “seeking shepherd” also makes clear that the dichotomy between pastoring God’s flock of those already saved and evangelizing those who are still lost is an unfortunate and unbiblical one. The seeking shepherd combines both functions in one He cares for the sheep who are already in the flock and provides for them spiritually (and if need be physically) and keeps them safe, but he is also concerned for those in the world who are lost in their sin. Not only does he lead by example in reaching out to the lost, he also seeks to mobilize the church to be moved with compassion for the lost and to take the gospel to them. This calls for wisdom and discernment, and wise shepherd guided by the Holy Spirit, will strike the right balance between caring for the saved and seeking to reach the lost.

So there you have it!

Discipleship vs. evangelism is a false dichotomy!


Published by cwoznicki

Chris Woznicki is an Assistant Adjunct Professor of Theology at Fuller Theological Seminary. He works as the regional training associate for the Los Angeles region of Young Life.

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