Too often, we think of discipleship and evangelism as two entirely distinct enterprises, but they are, in reality, two sides of the same coin.
Both are sharing, proclaiming, and teaching the gospel.
They only differ in their audience.
During evangelism, we share the gospel with non-Christians, and during discipleship, we share the gospel with Christians.
Therefore, discipleship is evangelism for believers, and evangelism is discipleship for non-Christians.
The process of discipleship is important because our call to make disciples is not complete after someone becomes a Christian.
Jesus did not command us to make converts; He told us to make disciples.
How then do we continue the process of discipleship after someone becomes a Christian?
Our Lord answered the question Himself in the Great Commission: by teaching them to obey all that He commanded us. We are meant to teach Jesus’ teachings to the next wave of disciples.
As with evangelism, God does give to some in the church the specific gift of teaching; however, each Christian is still called to teach in some capacity. Consider Paul’s charge to Timothy, “and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.” (2 Timothy 2:2) Paul encourages Timothy to continue the process of teaching other men what it means to follow Christ.
But the process is not only for men. In Titus 2:3-6, Paul gives Titus these words for women:
Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanders or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.
Notice that Paul commands older women to teach and train younger women.
Both men and women are called by the Scriptures to teach those who are younger in the faith. I say younger in the faith because physical maturity is not necessarily indicative of spiritual maturity. A young man might be quite mature in Christ, while an older man is an infant in the faith.
Of course, this does not mean that younger believers have nothing to share. Just as we are told to submit to each other out of reverence for Christ, so should we teach another the truths of God that we find in Scripture. (Ephesians 5:21) We should mutually build one another up in the Lord, teaching one another to continue walking faithfully with the Christ.
This process can be as intentional as meeting regularly with someone or a small group to study and discuss Scripture, or it could be as relaxed as two families eating together, discussing what God has been teaching them recently. The key is to actually discuss the Scriptures and what God is doing. If we meet with brothers and sisters in Christ without discussing the goodness of the gospel, what makes us any different than the world?