Evangelism, Discipleship, and Moving Closer to Jesus

By Mike Henry Sr.

Evangelism: “the preaching or promulgation of the gospel; the work of an evangelist.” Dictionary.com. Merriam Webster says it is “the winning or revival of personal commitments to Christ.”

A disciple is “one who accepts and assists in spreading the doctrines of another,” according to Merriam Webster. Dictionary.com went further and said it was any follower of Christ or a person who is a pupil or an adherent of the doctrines of another; follower: a disciple of Freud.”

Trust Jesus

Many inside the church think of evangelism as the act of winning someone to trust in or follow Jesus. Once they trust Jesus, they become a disciple and from then onward they grow as a disciple or student of Jesus. Part of the plan includes assisting in “spreading the doctrines” of Jesus.

I often get invited to conversations like the one in this article by Christianity Today. Hundreds of religious leaders spoke up on whether evangelism is the highest priority of a Christian at work.

Faith At Work

When I first became a Christ-follower, I struggled to follow Jesus while working. I had no step-by-step plan for living my faith at work.  In the workplace, my top priority must be to create value for the people who sign my check. So for my boss or my customers, I must produce a result that those people value more than the money they pay me. 

God Is First

On first glance, this may seem like a compromise with my faith. The “truly” spiritual know that God is first. That’s the Sunday school answer. God is first, others second and me third. It’s biblical. The Great Commandment (Luke 10:27) is that we would love God and love people. God is first.

So how can a marketplace Christian put their boss first? Doesn’t that confirm we’re 2nd class part-time Christians? The “real” Christians are the ones who chuck their career so they can work for someone who lets them put God first. They work on Sunday, but they “do their faith from the stage. Aren’t they the “true” Christians?

Because I Follow Jesus

But I work for others because I follow Jesus. And I do a good job because I follow Jesus. I help others grow as disciples because I follow Jesus. I must protect my relationships at work to honor my commitment to the one in authority over me. 

One Notch Closer

We can all use being closer to Jesus, in relationship with Him and following Him. So I came to define marketplace ministry as the act of helping everyone move one notch closer to Jesus. When I’m following Jesus, I draw near to him (James 4:7) and he to me. Everything works better when I follow closely.

When we adopt this focus, we don’t have to worry about whether the notch our friend moves is the one where they trust Jesus. It can be before or after that. 

Closer to Jesus

Anytime I help anyone move one notch closer to Jesus, I did my job. Sometimes, I do that by making sure I get to work early, exceed expectations and learn, and continue to improve so I can do a good job while following Jesus. Everything lines up. 

So whether it’s evangelism or discipleship, I don’t know. I want to help you move one notch closer to Jesus. And I can do that working for just about anyone. Ready to start? Sign up for the next Marketplace Mission Trip.

Image by: nd3000 for Getty Images Pro

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