While Matthew 10 and Luke 9 do not specify that Jesus sent out His disciples in pairs, in Mark 6:7 we find Jesus sending out the twelve in “two-two” or two by two, and in Luke 10:1 Jesus sent out seventy others “by two” or in pairs:
Mark 6:7, “And He called the twelve to Himself, and began to send them out two by two, and gave them power over unclean spirits.”
Luke 10:1, “After these things the Lord appointed seventy others also, and sent them two by two before His face into every city and place where He Himself was about to go.”
At first glance the fact that Jesus sent out His disciples in pairs seems harmless enough. However, the divine example may well provide some practical lessons for evangelism today. So, what are some implications of “Two and Two” evangelism?
To begin, two and two evangelism implies intentionality. If one person is involved in evangelism all that is needed is the individual decision of the will. However, when two are involved it requires two wills to be in agreement.
In this case, two and two evangelism is more than “as you go” evangelism. A common view of the participle in Matthew 28:19 is that Christ is not calling us to “go out of our way” necessarily, but rather to make disciples “as we are going.” While it is important to be involved in evangelism and discipleship “as we are going,” Christ’s example of two and two evangelism points out that Christ’s intent in commanding Christians to go is more than just “as you go.” Christ wants us to plan evangelism mission trips, like two and two evangelism.
Two and two evangelism assumes initiative evangelism, rather than just passive or reactive evangelism. It assumes that those pairing up to share the gospel are sharing the gospel every chance they get. While evangelism comes in many forms, planning to do outreach necessitates including outreach in the plan, preferably as the purpose and centerpiece of the plan.
Two and two evangelism implies the need to find a partner to accompany us in evangelism. Finding a partner to collaborate in evangelism is a challenge. But when an evangelist has found a faithful partner with whom he can do evangelism, he has found someone who is a blessing. More on that below.
Finding a partner assumes choosing a time slot and organizing to be away from other activities, such as family activities or study. Finding a regular partner also assumes a beginning and an end of the time in evangelism outreach.
Two by two evangelism cannot be haphazard, or else the bond between the two evangelists will break down. Vision, clarity, and direction are needed. There is a need for agreement as to where the evangelism is to be focused and how the gospel is to be communicated. Mutual respect is needed to reach a true level of ongoing partnership.
Remember how Paul stressed that he wanted to reach the “regions beyond”?
Rom 15:20, “And so I have made it my aim to evangelize, not where Christ was named, lest I should build on another man’s foundation”
Paul was sharing his vision with those in the church in Rome, some of whom had been evangelism partners with him, such as Priscilla and Aquila (Acts 18:18; Rom 16:3).
When more than one person is involved in evangelism, a lot of tangential aspects come into the equation. It appears that Jesus knew of this complexity when He sent His disciples two and two.
There may be travel involved in two and two evangelism. Perhaps literature will be needed in the proper language of those who are to be reached. Bibles are always helpful as the foundation for the gospel message, as well as the focus of the Holy Spirit’s work.
Further, two and two evangelism provides for opportunities for mutual discipleship training. There are at least four levels of accountability:
- Accountability to be regularly involved in evangelism.
- Accountability as to how the gospel is shared
- Accountability in dealing with open and closed people
- Accountability in avoiding dangerous or potentially compromising situations.
Two and two evangelism also allows for partnership in the gospel (Phil 1:5). With colaboring in evangelism comes deep bonds of friendship and Christian love.
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, two and two evangelism is biblical, being exemplified by Jesus and the apostle Paul.
Some do not like the sound of “missions” as it seems to them to be militaristic, imperialistic, or unnatural. Nevertheless, two and two evangelism is biblical. It must be done humbly and with love and reverence for those to whom we are sent. But it is biblical.
It has been my privilege this summer to go out for evangelism every Tuesday afternoon with Omar, a student from Midwestern. We have had a great time together, deepened our relationship, and reached lost people with the gospel.
Will you consider joining an evangelism team this fall? Perhaps God is calling you to start an evangelism team at your church? Just apply Christ’s principle of two and two evangelism and see what God does with it!