Nurturing New Christians

Posted: October 15, 2008 by cthoward in Ministry Question
Tags: , ,

Question submitted by Brian Baell:

“How can we make sure that we continue to nurse new babes in Christ, including strong-spirited Christians?”

This is a practical question, and practical advice would be welcome, but, as always, let’s make sure we appeal to Scripture as well.

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Comments
  1. bshelley says:

    We utilize a little booklet called “Now That I’m a Christian” as the basis for group and individual follow up study with new Christians. We hold the class during Bible Class hour periodically after a few baptisms, but open up the attendance to anyone. We have several baptisims as a result of the class as well. I have found the first section of that booklet also to be a great source to follow for Bible studies with seekers as welland encourage new converts to use it with friends and family. There is also another resource I got from a ministry friend that is great called “Your First Forty Days”. It has daily devotional readings and specific verses to help lock in the decisions and clairify for new Christians. If you would like a copy of that, just email me and I’ll send a soft copy. bryan.shelley@yahoo.com

  2. cthoward says:

    Thanks Bryan…..do you use the videos for Now That I’m a Christian at all? We have them here, but I have not used them yet, and would like to know what you think if you are familiar with them.

  3. Brian Baell says:

    I think that “Now That I’m a Christian” booklet is great booklet for all new Christian. It gives basic foundation of the Bible such as giving the summary of every book in the OT and NT, how to live a Christian life, etc. I give out this booklet to to all new Christians. However, I haven’t used it for class. I think it should be used for class.

  4. Wade Bower says:

    You see the church in Acts 2, they are doing it right. The problem in rural America is that congregations appear to be untrained, illequiped, or unwilling to play their important role in regards to nurturing new Christians. How do we remedy that? I hope I am not coming off as mister negativity, but this is something that is presently frustrating me.

  5. Johnny B says:

    Wade, good comments. It must go beyond just the booklet, and just the class. Purposeful, growing relationships (Barnabas to Paul, Paul to Timothy & Titus, etc.) need to be the norm, not the exception. We mist be about these relationships as Paul was with the first century churches. We as the ministers need to be training men to be about other men. To “spur” one another on, to encourage, to console, to listen, to battle with other men so that they can turn and seek out men to pay the same dues with. That is one of the things that I see.

  6. Brian Baell says:

    Johnny, do you have a suggestion on how to train men to become mature and train other men to do the same process? One on one with one man at a time weekly?

  7. David Creek says:

    Amen to what Johnny said. Babes in Christ need to be nurtured and encouraged, so relationship is absolutely critical.

    I’d also say that when we are teaching people, to never allow baptism to be the final study.

    There’s so much false teaching out there. There’s so much pressure from the world to buy into this concept that it doesn’t matter what a person believes that everything is valid and that there is no absolute truth.

    We also need to tell them that it is through “many tribulations” we are to enter the kingdom of God. I wonder how many converts have left because they thought being a Christian would be easy and they would never go through hard times.

    Then there’s also persecution, but how it’s a good thing for us to be persecuted for the cause of Christ. Then there’s walking in a manner worthy of the calling which we received and taking up our crosses daily and following Jesus.

    These are all very important things that will nurture and strengthen.

  8. cthoward says:

    I’m with you right now, Wade….struggling with this question. Many Christians are very friendly, but few are willing to become genuine friends with new converts. And, the major factor keeping us from growing in this area is time. We think we are too busy (and in many cases we are)…but we cannot let ourselves get too busy to save souls and build-up one another.

    So, I am with Johnny, too…we need to implement strategies to help people learn to help people. Our mature members need to know they are a valuable resource. Preaching helps, but I am thinking the most effective method is small group studies with a few families/individuals at a time, encouraging and training them to nurture new Christians…once they are equipped and motivated they can help others AND nurture new Christians.

    Whatever we decide, we need to do something. This is definitely a major issue right now.

  9. npulpit says:

    Here at West Olive we have had a number of people obey the gospel. One of my elders thought it would be great to have a new converts and so Sunday mornings I have been teaching the class for the last several weeks. The question then becomes: what do these new brothers and sisters need to hear? So I have tried to be a broad as possible in the topic selection, beginning with the very basic (a study on God’s Word) to some things with a little meat in them (a study on the process of sanctification) with various topics in between (a disciple and the church, worship, giving, giftedness, etc.).

    I think when a person comes out of the water they are entering a new world and therefore, they need to find their place in that world and how best they can make an impact. So many gifted Christians simply fail to realize they are gifted and that God has given them the gift to benefit the body of Christ. Perhaps steering them in the direction of online spiritual gift analysis tests (churchgrowth.org has a good one) may help them to find, understand, and nuture their spiritual gifts.

  10. Johnny B says:

    Brian B.
    I have been very purposeful in getting to know a handful of men, and telling them up front that I am praying for God to make them leaders in the church. Now,as you can imagine, this can be hugely frustrating when they do not exert any effort themselves, or just get stuck or hung up in one particular area. I have been walking with 6 men. One is on the fast track (but he has just turned that corner) 2 are making good progress and the other 3 are in various stages of Arghhh and grrrr.
    The things that I do, is address what is going on in their lives from a Biblical point of view. To get them to see things in a spiritual way, instead of just flesh and blood. each man is different, and you have to get to know them and what is on their heart.
    Whatever they come to me with, I direct it to Jesus. This keeps me on my toes, and I sometimes have to wait to get back to them so that I can study and give them meat.
    The other thing that is of utmost importance for me is to be real! Just be a guy, break down that “wall” that church members try to put up between them and the “man-of-the-cloth.”
    Let them see some of your safer struggles so that they know you are real and not just somebody spewing forth advise on things you know nothing about. Be willing to share some of your story of who you were before you began ministry.

    We have to remember “Our Journey” and the struggles we had along the way. Don’t rob them of the lessons that they will learn as they struggle.

    Okay, there are some of the things that I have been doing. Now, somebody tell me how to make some of the “established” buy into the new hope of a growing church. I suck at that part.

  11. Johnny B says:

    One more thing. I remember Gerald telling us that we needed to find a handful of men and train them up, and in that training teach them to train others (disciples that make disciples) as soon as we got to our jobs.

  12. bshelley says:

    I appreciate the encouragements to invest our lives in making disciple makers. That, like too many things, gets lost in the business of every day. It is all too easy to slip into a one-off ministry model and lose the vision of transformation of entire communities.

    Clint, I have not seen the viedos, but I’d like to hear what you think if you get a chance.

  13. cthoward says:

    Bryan,

    I will let you know…..I would like to view them soon because I would like to use them with several people, but I want to preview them first. But, with the baby due any day I don’t know when I will get a chance to watch them.

    I actually just looked at the covers…they look like the Jewel Miller evangelism stuff (of course they would, they were made by him)…I may have even watched part of the first one. I sure wish someone would do an up-to-date version of these and the Jewel Miller stuff…someone with a good radio voice…someone from California who could probably find someone to produce such a video……hint, hint…

  14. Johnny B says:

    yeah Bryan, what are you waiting for…

    I had another thought today. We need to pray for the men we are trying to lead into leadership.
    I remember about 4 years ago, a dear brother told me he was praying for me. I said thank you, I need it. He said, I pray that God would lead you into full time ministry.
    That changed my thought process, and shook me.
    We need to shake these men from their doldrums…

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