Christmas services will soon be here and we’ll be communicating the message of salvation through Christ. That IS good news.
And the great prayer of the Church is for an extraordinary number of people to say yes to Jesus in Christmas services around the world.
What is our responsibility to these New Christians?
Like with a newborn to our own families, new believers deserve the very best of love and intentional care.
Helping new Christians grow in their faith is core to the mission of the Church.
How do we get to the core of what we need to teach new Christians?
After all, there are thousands of scriptures; and hundreds of biblical principles, prayers, and practical applications. There are dozens of parables, warnings and exhortations; ten Commandments, nine fruit of the Spirit, and one Great Commission.
And it’s all important!
Thankfully, the Holy Spirit leads us to what we need as individuals. I remember when I was a new Christian, that I was inexplicably drawn to I Corinthians 5:17.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”
I didn’t fully understand the verse in the moment, but I clung to it and over time it gained deeper life-changing meaning in my mind and soul.
In attempting to select out of all this content what you present to new Christians, it’s important to remember that the process of spiritual formation and maturing in our faith is a lifelong endeavor. It’s not a race and we need not be in a hurry.
With that said, the way a person begins their growth as a new Christian sets the tone and trajectory for their lifelong spiritual journey. Therefore, what we teach new believers truly matters.
Further, faith is best developed in community. It’s best lived out in the company, support and encouragement of other believers.
If you select a small and manageable number of major categories that cover the spectrum of spiritual formation, you can provide a framework for spiritual growth over a lifetime.
3 Essential Practices For New Christians (that will help guide what you teach)
(These three practices can serve as a framework of growth for a lifetime.)
1) Trust God
What we believe to be true about God and His word empowers us to consistently trust Him in every facet of our lives.
Our faith begins by trusting God and His promises, and our faith builds as we experience the truth of God and His unwavering faithfulness.
In the early stages we barely understand what we believe, then as we mature, we gain wisdom by experience and a deeper grasp of God’s truth. The interesting question is then, is our faith stronger in the moment of conversion or is our faith stronger the more we understand?
Our faith is stronger and more mature according to the level of risk we perceive as we trust God and continue to take steps of faith. The practicing of our faith requires maturity, not mere belief.
For example, we can believe what God says about giving, generosity and tithing, but until we practice it our faith is still small.
What do you trust God for? What do you still hold on to? I trust God completely, but I still worry some about things like my kids, grandkids, and the economy, so I clearly have more room to grow. (And I’m so grateful for God’s grace.)
Trusting God is a lifelong spiritual growth endeavor. What risks are you pursuing for God today?
2) Talk with God
Trust is built by intimacy in a relationship, and we need to know the person we wish to trust. We can’t trust people we don’t know.
The same is true with God.
Our faith is strengthened by talking with God, especially when we listen. The more we know, love and obey Him, the greater our faith becomes.
We study and pray through scripture to learn more about who God is, His attributes, His nature and purpose for our lives.
There is great freedom in how we talk with God, we call it prayer, but it is natural conversation. We can do it anywhere, anytime, and fully trust that we can express our thoughts and emotion to God who loves us and is for us.
God isn’t nearly as concerned about the number of minutes we talk with Him as He is with the condition of our hearts and our ability to be honest before Him. With that said, there is no condemnation for brevity, but there is limitation. Just like with any deeply personal relationship, time is required to sustain and grow it.
Talk with God about what He wants for you, how He wants you to grow and who He wants you to become. Ask God to reveal more of Himself to you. He leads us to certain passages of Scripture, in certain seasons. For example, it might be the fruit of the Spirit, to gain more of His character in our lives.
3) Tend to the purposes of God
Our faith matures by serving God, based on His agenda not ours. It is in the obedience of taking action that we grow and mature.
We are created on purpose for a purpose. We are given spiritual gifts for a reason, and we have the great honor to partner with God in his eternal purpose.
- What are your spiritual gifts?
- What are your great passions?
- How can you see yourself helping others for a lifetime?
As leaders, our purpose and calling is clear, and it’s our responsibility to help new and growing believers discover their contribution to others according to God’s plan.
The process is clear, we trust God, talk with God and follow His lead.
Here’s a pathway to tend to the purposes of God:
- As we trust and pray, we look for opportunities to reflect God’s love and character and meet the needs of those around us. There will be far too many needs for any one of us to handle on our own, so we ask God what He wants us to do.
- It’s important that we’re in community with other believers and connected to leaders in the church who help guide the way. Far more is accomplished when we are part of a larger group in the body of Christ.
- We need be intentional about Kingdom oriented results from what we do. “Fruit” as Jesus described it — changed lives as we often say.
“This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” John 15:8
Enjoy the process, it’s the most meaningful life we can live.
There are volumes of content and of course the sixty-six books in the Bible to choose from and use within this 3-point framework. Let’s continue to invest in and shepherd well our new believers so they may trust God, talk with God and tend to God’s purposes for a lifetime.
This article originally appeared on DanReiland.com and is reposted here by permission.