Come, and Follow Me
Those who answer Jesus’ invitation to, “Come, and follow me” are called disciples. As he began his ministry, and then throughout it, Jesus called men and women to lay down what they were doing and follow him. At the end of his ministry on earth, as he returned to the Father after the crucifixion and resurrection, he instructed his disciples to “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20).
Jesus instructed his disciples to grow both the numbers of men and women who are disciples and to grow in their faith as disciples. You and I are disciples, and it is our calling as followers of Jesus every bit as much as it was the original disciples’ calling to make new disciples and to grow in our own discipleship.
A word often used for growth in discipleship is evangelism. That E-word as it is sometimes called, tends to terrify some people because they associate it with television preachers and street corner evangelists with megaphones. But evangelism is about living the Gospel, the Good News of Jesus Christ crucified and raised for our forgiveness and salvation. To evangelize is to tell the story of Jesus’ gift of himself for our redemption to family and friends as well as strangers. After all, that is what we do in church every time we meet, tell ourselves about the story of Jesus Christ, and how his story has changed our story, and for the better. In him we have mercy, love, and hope, and the Bible tells us to share those gifts with all who need them, including our friends who go to church with us and even the person we see in the mirror every morning and evening. Yes, brothers and sisters, we need to be evangelized ourselves. We need to hear the story of our salvation over and over again so we can celebrate Jesus’ love and recommit ourselves to following him, to being his disciples. So, we do evangelism inside the church doors as well as outside of them. Evangelism includes an invitation to hear the Gospel for the first time, or to study Christ more closely so we might grow in faith, or even the renewal of a faith gone stale or lukewarm. Whether making new disciples, nurturing people who are already disciples of Jesus Christ, or reawakening faith in the spirits of those who have walked away from Christ and his Church.
More Information on Discipleship
The pages that follow this one are designed to give you useful information about growing as disciples and growing new disciples. Some of that information is oriented to making new disciples, and is more typical of what people think evangelism is. You will find this information under the heading, “Making New Disciples.” Some of it is focused on nurturing faith in people who are already disciples, and you will find that information under the heading, “Growing as Disciples”. Finally, some of what you will read in these pages is about calling people back to faith who have not been to church in a very long time, and have perhaps walked away from out Lord.