the weblog of Alan Knox

Internet Ministry: Evangelism and Discipleship

Posted by on Aug 31, 2010 in discipleship | 10 comments

Internet Ministry: Evangelism and Discipleship

In my previous post, “Internet Ministry: What is it?,” I defined “internet ministry” as follows:

“Internet ministry” is the use of online services, apps, functions, and technologies in order to serve people with the intention of helping those people grow in maturity towards Christ.

What what kind of service can be included in “internet ministry”? Is this evangelism or discipleship?

The short answer is, “Yes.”

First, in Scripture, evangelism is part of discipleship. “Discipleship” is simply the process of helping someone live in a manner that honors Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. “Discipleship” is helping someone else mature in Christ.

Evangelism is the process of proclaiming the gospel with someone or some group. This is the first step of discipling that person or group.

Note that evangelism is different from apologetics. Apologetics is presenting arguments in support of one’s beliefs in order to show that those beliefs are reasonable, cohesive, coherent, and consistent. So, apologetics may or may not include a presentation of the good news.

Evangelism, on the other hand, focuses on the good news of Jesus Christ and the fundamentals of trusting Christ for salvation and life. As such, evangelism is part of the process of helping someone live as a disciple of Jesus Christ – that is, discipleship.

Thus, internet ministry – if it is truly ministry (“service”) – is a part of the process of discipling others. This process begins with evangelism, but must not end there. Remembering that “ministry” includes interaction with others, “internet ministry” must continue beyond evangelism to helping the new believer follow Jesus more closely – that is, to mature in Christ.

(Note: I believe this is true of all evangelism, not just online evangelism: Evangelism must include the intention of continuing the discipling process.)

So, an “internet ministry” (or any type of service) that focuses on proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ to unbelievers must include the further service of helping new believers grow and mature. Why? Because our goal as disciples of Jesus Christ is not to evangelize (only), but also to make disciples. Our goal is not converts, but disciples.

When we proclaim the gospel to someone, we are (whether we realize it or not) beginning the first step of discipleship. So, when we proclaim the good news, we should understand that we’re asking the person or people to begin to share our lives with us so that we can help one another grow in maturity in Christ.

Yes, there will be occasions when these types of ongoing discipling relationships are not possible. But they should be the exception, not the rule. We should not plan to use the internet only to serve people through evangelism. Instead, we should understand that evangelism should include further discipleship, and so include discipleship in our plans to serve people.

Jesus told his apostles, “As you go, disciple all nations…” (Matthew 28:19-20). If this command applies to us (and I think it does), then we should seek to disciple other people wherever we go. If we go across the oceans, we should seek to make disciples, even if that includes evangelism. If we go across the street, we should seek to make disciples, even if that includes evangelism.

And, if we go online, we should seek to make disciples, even if that includes evangelism.


Comments are closed. If you would like to discuss this post, send an email to alan [at] alanknox [dot] net.

  1. 8-31-2010

    “evangelism is part of the process of helping someone live as a disciple of Jesus Christ – that is, discipleship” I really appreciate how you treat evangelism as part of discipleship. I think that is an important thing to remember. Also you said “if we go online, we should seek to make disciples,” our activity on the internet could easily fit into the “as you go” so maybe what we need to ask is not “should we do ministry on the internet?” but “are we doing ministry on the internet?” since it is part of our “as you go” it should maybe be assumed that we SHOULD minister through it. maybe?

  2. 9-1-2010

    I have been doing this for about 6 months. The seed is sown very broadly. It is one very serious attempt at using the internet to reach those who are yet unreached.

  3. 9-1-2010


    If I don’t think of evangelism as part of discipleship, then I tend to think that my “job” is over once I’ve proclaimed the good news to someone. But, my responsibility is to disciple that person, not to proclaim the gospel to him/her.


    Thank you for your service to others, your example to us, and the link to your site. :)


  4. 9-2-2010

    Dear Alan

    Thank you for your thoughts. The whole area of how to use the Internet appropriately is still only becoming clear, I feel. I do try and write about this on the Internet Evangelism Day site, and welcome dialogue on all these issues:



  5. 9-2-2010


    Thanks for your comment. How do you encourage people to use the internet for both evangelism and also for discipleship?


  6. 9-2-2010

    Hi Alan

    Well, I suppose I do my best to write about the many opportunities, and to tell the stories of people who are doing this in many varied ways. And do a newsletter. And a blog. And network with others. And stuff like that!

    Bless you


  7. 9-2-2010


    That’s great! Could you share a link with us to one story about people using the internet for evangelism and discipleship? I think my readers would appreciate that and learn from it. Thanks!


  8. 9-2-2010

    I’m using moodle to deliver a 20 week church planter training course based on Tim Bunn’s church planting manual. So far, we’ve put 3 groups through this online.

    Each week consists of course work consisting of research, observations and interactions via a forum. At the end of the week, we get on a conference call with audio/video, and talk things over for an hour to an hour and a half.

    The manual is available on line for free, and the course is free as well.

  9. 9-2-2010

    Hi Alan

    Here are some stories of people finding God online:

    and here are stories of various web evangelists:



  10. 9-2-2010


    I’ve been thinking about using Moodle for a project too.


    Thanks for the links!



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