Two Phantom Words


Did you know there are two words that is used in church life all the time which are never used in the Bible?

No, it's not like names of our church programs such as Men's Ministry, small groups etc. it is much more significant than that.

They are actually two of the key things every Church must focus on. There are five main elements to concern yourself with in a church of any size. And all of these components must be woven together in a seamless whole.


  1. Worship
  2. Fellowship
  3. Discipleship
  4. Evangelism
  5. Service 

There is the list. It's right up there with the importance of oxygen. There at least 8 gases in air but there is only about 21% oxygen. Take the oxygen out and we all die. Yes there are good uses for nitrogen, argon etc. But our bodies can't exist without oxygen.

That makes a good illustration for church life because it is easy to major on minor things and forget the balance required in those five essentials. The balance is like the oxygen.

Clearly all of these must be bound together with balance. That balance can only be achieved if you have a carefully crafted sense of vision for your church. 

As a church leader, it is your responsibility to encourage proper fulfillment of all of these elements. There is always overlap. For example, it is wise to build an evangelism component into a worship service. And it is always good to encourage people to be all they can be by becoming a part of each of these components.

Language can be tricky because the meaning of one word to one individual might be very different than the definition assigned by another individual. That gives us reason to develop a strategy on how we use key words.


  • Never fall into the trap of believing everybody understands any important word in exactly the same way.
  • Repeat your keywords often in church life.
  • Consistently define those keywords almost every time you use them.
  • Encourage people to discuss their personal participation in each of those 5 key components of true church life.
  • Make sure that everything you do from a program standpoint points back to one or more of those 5 key issues.

Have you figured out yet which words are not in the Bible? Well that's a trick question because the concepts are clearly taught. 


You won't find the word “discipleship.” You will find the word “disciple.” “Disciple” is a noun. But a critical word in the New Testament is one word that is a verb. It is “make disciples.” Yes, that is one word. (Matthew 28:19) The word is only used four times in the New Testament but in each case it refers to people who had gone through or were about to go through a process from non-disciple to disciple. The process is what we call “discipleship.” That is a good word - just not a Bible word.


You will find the word “evangelist” but not the word “evangelism.” The core of that word is “evangel” and that simply means “good news.” “Evangelism” is the wonderful privilege to share good news. The person on the other end might not see it as “good news” but when you share it, you never know when it will strike a chord leading to a symphony. So if evangelism (outreach) is so important it had better find a prominent part in your balanced ministry.


Here is a question for you.

Of the paid and volunteer hours in your church what proportion do you give for each of the five? Be honest now. Do you have the balance right? Or are you starving for oxygen? Check out the related "Poll - Running the Numbers" on the home page.

Balance Sheet

We’d like to send you a free resource to help you work through your approach to evangelism and discipleship. It comes with great questions to ask your volunteers to help you engage their attention to these two factors in their own personal walk. The checklist included might be just what you need to get your church off the dime!