(This article is part of the series “Building GenNext.” You can read the previous post by clicking here.)
Water rolled down her cheeks as she was lifted from the cool water. A thrill of joy sang within her. Her sins were gone! She was no longer lost! She wished Jesus would come right at that moment so she wouldn’t mess up this new life into which she was entering. After drying off, she re-entered the auditorium where a small crowd was waiting to hug and congratulate.
One older lady, embraced her tenderly and said, “The angels in heaven are rejoicing for you, dear.”
Yes, the angels were rejoicing! “And so am I!” she thought.
Two weeks later, the same girl lay curled up on the floor of her bedroom crying. She had made so many mistakes since her baptism. Was she really saved? Did she have to lose her best friend, be humiliated in science class and lose her temper with her mom? She thought being a Christian would mean that she would make fewer mistakes. It seemed as though she was just making more. She was having trouble keeping up with sermons and classes.
Maybe she would just skip worship services this morning…
When an individual chooses to follow Christ, Satan gets mad, then he gets ugly.
Another soul has decided to oust him from their hearts. Another soul has chosen God as king. It’s going to take more effort to lure this soul away from the Lord.
It is both my experience and my opinion that those first few weeks and months are critical to the survival of the new christian, because Satan will do everything in his power to reclaim what was just snatched from his grasp. As older Christians, we need to equip these new Christians for battle, surrounding them with support and encouragement.
In this series, we’ve already discussed the first two E’s of raising GenNext: Engage:building relationships and Exemplify: setting a proper example for new Christians. In today’s post, we’re going to cover the third E: Equip: Teaching and training.
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.
~ Matthew 28.19-20, ESV
Does the above passage sound familiar?
This is what is referred to as “The Great Commission” given to the Apostles before Jesus ascended to heaven. We also are to carry out this “great commission.”
Read the passage closely. Notice the words “baptizing” and “teaching.” These denote regular continuous actions. After baptism, Jesus wants us to teach Christians to observe all that He commanded. Are we actively doing that for new Christians or are we just hoping they’ll figure it out on their own?
Get them in training. ASAP.
The first step is to set up a class with the new Christian. This class can take the form of formal sessions with several new converts or a small weekly home class with just the new Christian. I prefer the latter as it allows the new Christian to ask questions without the inhibition of feeling like the only one who doesn’t get a concept. Whatever you decide, name a day and time convenient for all involved and get it going immediately.
After that, what specifically do we teach?
Basics for New Believers
The following eight topics are foundational to all who follow Christ. Faulty foundations make for a troubled house. Never ever assume that the new Christian knows or understands these things. Even if they do (or think they do), they will benefit from added insight.
#1: Repentance & Renewal
This topic deals with the need to continue to walk in the light, confess our sins to Him in prayer and renew our minds to be more like Christ.
#2: The Responsibilities of the Christian
- Continuing Education: Daily scripture reading, regular bible study
- Communication with God: Daily prayer
- Regular worship with fellow Christians
- Observing the Lord’s Supper
- Extending Love towards fellow Christians
- Extending Love towards non-Christians
- Making a constant metamorphosis to be more like Jesus.
#3: The Structure of the Scriptures
- The Old and New Testament division
- Number of books in the Bible, number of authors and period of time written
- Involvement of God in it’s authorship
- The fulfillment of the Law and Prophets in Christ
- Basic hermeneutics (methodology of interpretation): Command, Example & Necessary inference
#4: The Mechanics of Prayer
- Frequency (daily prayer, anytime there is a need, when fighting temptation, offering praise)
- God’s will
- Giving Thanks
#5: The Roles of God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit
#6: The Structure of the Church
#7: Church doctrine
#8: Worship & The Lord’s Supper
- Why we need to worship consistently
- The solemn importance of the Lord’s Supper and it’s meaning
A Few Teaching Tips
When teaching anybody, the idea is to train yourself out of a job. In other words, the goal is to raise up people who know how to analyze and study for themselves.
Ask Questions. It establishes understanding and stimulates thoughts. (This was a favorite method of Jesus!)
Have your student read reference verses along with relevant content.
If you don’t know the answer to a question, be honest and go ask someone who would know. Get back to your student with the answer as soon as possible.
Review. Briefly go over the previous lesson in order to reinforce what was learned.