Original Research - Special Collection: HTS 75th Anniversary Maake Masango Dedication

Rediscovering ‘disciplemaking’ and the role of faith-sharing

Malan Nel, W.J. Schoeman
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 75, No 4 | a5119 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v75i4.5119 | © 2019 Malan Nel, W.J. Schoeman | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 21 May 2018 | Published: 25 February 2019

About the author(s)

Malan Nel, Department of Practical Theology, Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of Pretoria, South Africa
W.J. Schoeman, Department of Practical Theology, Faculty of Theology, University of the Free State, South Africa


According to the Gospel of Matthew, disciplemaking seems to be the signature mark of faithful disciples of Jesus the Christ (cf. Mt 28:18–20). Van Aarde refers to this, with reference to Von Harnack and Lohmeyer as the manifesto of the church, being on the same level of meaning as Deuteronomy 6 in the Old Testament. It may be fair to say that this ‘natural’ way of being and doing was in more than one way exchanged for evangelism practices that did nothing to show forth that following the Christ is a better or best way of living life, here already, to its fullest. These practices even reflected negatively on disciplemaking as such. A personal conviction is that ‘discipling’ may even be one of the missing links in the so-called missional conversation. This article will reflect on current theory on discipling and the natural necessity thereof. It will also draw upon findings in empirical research conducted by the National Church Life Surveys during 2014 in South Africa that may give an indication whether discipling is a common praxis among selected South African denominations and congregations. The focus will be on ‘Faith-Sharing’ as a core quality among adult attenders and includes several measures of the involvement of attenders in the outreach of the congregation (e.g. evangelistic activities, readiness to share their faith with others and whether outreach is a highly valued part of the ministry of the congregation).


Disciple; discipleship; discipling; faith-sharing; evangelism; missional conversation; outreach


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