In 1999, Phil Neighbors—co-pastor of the Valley Baptist Church in Bakersfield—invited me to speak at a youth weekend. That weekend helped cause a shift in ministry focus for me over the next 18 years. It led me to a strategic part of ministry as a teacher, writer and pastor, one I will continue to emphasize: the Next Gen. During these years I’ve spoken on scores of college campuses and at countless DNows, youth rallies and camps. I’ve loved this season. I once did an event in a church where I’ve done some Next Gen events. But this weekend took me back to my roots. I trained believers to share Jesus Without Freaking Out. Yes, we are talking about evangelism, but I actually see training believers in this area as the heart of my calling: to make disciples.
The Need of the Hour: to Make Disciples
When I was in seminary I saw a bifurcation between evangelism and discipleship that seemed unhealthy. We did it denominationally, compartmentalizing by agency, and we did it personally. Some were of the” evangelism party” and others were of the “discipleship faction.”