Starting strong with new believers is important. Unfortunately, many times we don’t do our discipleship job well as people come to Christ. Here is an example.
You shared the story of Jesus. At the end, you asked the question – Do you believe that what I’ve been sharing with you is true? Do you want to receive the free gift of salvation Jesus offers you today? They respond with a yes! Woohoo! Praise God! You pray with them introducing them to Jesus for the first time. He becomes their Lord and Savior. Things are going well. You are thrilled at what is happening in their lives!
What Is Next For New Believers?
It is at this critical point when the “slow down” factor often happens in our disciple making. This is not the time to reduce our engagement with this person. Not if we want to see a disciple making movement take place. Sometimes we don’t take the next steps because we don’t know what to do. Or perhaps we are just relieved that they are now “saved.” We feel we can relax just let them grow slowly by attending church.
A Critical Time
Immediately after someone receives Christ is as critical a time in their spiritual life. It is the same as the first month is for a newborn baby. We would never think of bringing a child into the world and then telling the baby, “Now come once a week to this meeting we have and you will get the food and care you need.” Would we? Of course not! Yet this is exactly what often happens with new believers.
If we train people in evangelism but don’t train them in how to disciple new believers, they don’t know what to do next. At this point, many simply invite the person to start attending church with them. That is all the follow-up they do. This is a major loss of opportunity for that person and for the movement. If we train on this issue and make a few key changes, we can see much greater multiplication!
There are a few critical things we must train our disciples to do with new believers.
1) Get them to immediately start sharing their story (testimony) with others.
2) Start meeting with them regularly to teach the basics of what it means to follow Christ.
Jesus Told New Believers To Immediately Share Their Testimony!
In Mark, chapter five, we read the story of Jesus casting many demons out of a man. The man begs Jesus to let him stay with him. How did Jesus respond?
“Jesus did not let him, but said, ‘Go home to your own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.'”(Mark 5:19)
Immediately after this man met was set free, the Lord instructed him to begin evangelizing others. If Jesus felt new believers were ready to start ministry immediately, then we too can follow that model!
Teach Simple Baby Lessons
In addition to encouraging new believers to witness, start meeting with them often. They need to quickly learn some basics. Ying Kai, of T4T, calls these the Baby Lessons. There are different foundational discipleship tools you can use. They need to be simple and reproducible. Make sure you get the new believers to start praying, receiving from the Word of God daily, and connecting with their new spiritual family. For this to happen, those who led them to Christ will need to meet with them often. Generally speaking, I’d recommend a few times a week in the first few months.
Obstacles- Time and Training
What are the biggest obstacles to quality discipleship for new believers? They are training and time.
- Training. We often train disciples to evangelize but don’t train them in how to disciple new believers. It is not hard to train them in this. Equipping in this way will make a huge difference in releasing multiplication. Give trainees a simple system to do this. A system makes it easier and less time-consuming than creating from scratch. (Sign up with the form below to learn how to use the oral culture friendly “Baby Lessons” we recommend).
- Time. People with full-time jobs and families, don’t have a lot of free time to follow-up on those who respond. Encourage them to give adequate time to care for those who receive Christ. Show them how to train the new believers to witness to their friends and family. This may mean they will have less time for evangelism. That is okay.
As you address the issues of time and training you will make disciples who both evangelize, make disciples and start new groups of disciples. We call these people green and blue people. 🙂
Start New Groups Through New Believers
It is a normal response to want to incorporate new believers into existing discipleship groups. When someone believes, it is a chance, however, to start a new group around them and their Oikos (friends and family). This is where you start to see 2nd, 3rd and 4th generation growth. But you have to overcome the “default response” of just inviting people to join an existing group.
Start strong with new believers. Quickly turn them into disciples and trainers of others. Train your disciples to do this. Your movement will leap forward into new generations!
Oral Culture Baby Lessons
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