I was struck by the set up to the story of the feeding of the 5000 in the book of Matthew. (Mt 14:13ff.) Jesus had just heard about the death of John the Baptist. The text tells us that Jesus got in the boat attempting to get away to have some alone time, presumably to grieve, but people somehow heard what Jesus was up to and followed him.
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Recently, I was asked to work with a congregation to improve their discipleship and evangelism processes. Almost instantly, I discovered a phenomenon that is present in many mainline congregations throughout the country: a division between discipleship and evangelism. The advice of the pastor was “I pray your good success.” What he was actually saying was “good luck.” I thought, “With this kind of division, it is impossible for them to make a kingdom impact among their membership and the community.