Evangelism and Discipleship

The word Evangelism could be defined as “to announce the good news” or “preach the gospel”. In fact Evangelism and Discipleship are interrelated. A disciple is always at the task of evangelism. He is constantly witnessing, he is prepared to give an answer to anyone who asks him about his faith (1Peter 3:15) at all times he is ready to communicate the gospel. Evangelism was carried out by men and women and was characterized by three things:

1. They openly identified with Christ Jesus.

Every where they went and in anything they did, they were not ashamed to be identified with the Savior. “Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ” (Acts 42)

2. They demonstrated the fruits of the Spirit.

There was something in their lives that drew other people to them. Others including their enemies, knew that they had been with Jesus (Acts 4:13)

3. They were actively seeking to influence other people towards Jesus Christ.

That is evangelism. We read that the night after the persecution that ended with the martyrdom of Steven, the church was completely dispersed. But something happened when the church scattered to other area of the near east. Luke tells us “now those who had been scattered by the persecution in connection with Steven traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch, telling the massages only to the Jews (Acts. 11:19). Then the men from Cyprus and Syrene began sharing the gospel with non Jews and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord (Acts 11:21)

These people were actively involved in Evangelism, and saw the fruit of their Ministry. It’s against this background that Christianity found its way to Africa, East Africa and Uganda in 1877 by the two Missionaries from England.

Two men started the work of Evangelizing the Baganda that culminated in the frontiers of faith in suffering and martyrdom of the young Baganda convents at the hands of Kabaka Mwanga in 1885.

In various parts of Buganda, many Christians had been confronted with the choice of either giving up their allegiance to the Christian faith or of suffering the consequences. However, the enthusiastic Ugandan Christian Converts of the late 19th Century chose to suffer and some to die for their faith.

Eight years after arrival of the first missionaries in 1877, persecutions broke out and within two years (885 – 1886) some 200 Christians were subsequently put to death, through chopping off their heads, clubbing or burning. The courageous and zealous converts/martyrs had a strong enough faith to see that when obedience to Christ comes into conflict with the obedience required by a secular ruler, true loyalty both to Jesus Christ and to their country, puts obedience to Christ first. Thus, this wave of inspiration captured the admiration of young Baganda converts to spread the gospel to Tooro region and beyond Western region to as far as Mboga (DRC).

By: Rev. Erasmus Kisembo Diocesan Mission & Evangelism Coordinator