Read Matthew 28:19-20
19 Therefore,go and make disciples of all the nations,baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always,even to the end of the age.” (NLT)
Many of us might cringe at how we did ‘evangelism’ in our younger days. Some might even have doubts about how they do it now! No doubt about its necessity: Jesus spells it out in his Great Commission. Yet note we are not simply to make converts but to make disciples: consistent followers of Jesus rather than those who merely say a prayer or sign a form of commitment.
In our desire to be enthusiastic,in our desire that people be safe for eternity,in our desire to have them taste forgiveness and new life,we can too easily end up doing the right thing in the wrong way.
One of my favourite writers is Adrian Plass. Hear what he says: “In my early life I reckon I had a powerful ministry of discouragement. It was as if Jesus’ command had been ‘go out into all the world,particularly when all the world is busy doing something else and put them off following me because they don’t want to become an insensitive arrogant git like you.'”
The gospel itself carries both appeal and offence. People don’t like being told they need pardon to be right with God. They may not even figure there is a God to be reckoned with. There is enough offence in the cross of Christ without our adding to it by our misguided enthusiasms and insensitivities.
Let’s by all means make disciples,but let’s minimise the chance of making enemies as we do so.