Converting Converts into Strong Christians

(This article is part of the series “Building GenNext.” You can read the previous post by clicking here.)

bag-and-hands

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

#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.

What have you found to be effective in teaching new Christians?

If you haven’t taught a new Christian or feel unqualified to instruct them, what obstacles are holding you back?

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39 thoughts on “Converting Converts into Strong Christians

  1. Wally Fry July 22, 2016 / 05:36

    You know, we fail at this pretty consistently. I actually attend a pretty nurturing church, yet we need serious work here.

    When I was saved almost 9 years ago, I knew what had happened and what the result was, but that was the extent of my knowledge. I didn’t even own my own Bible at the time, and had never had one.

    I won’t forget one day just sort of thumbing through our Sunday School quarterly and discovering our Doctrinal Statement on the inside covers. I was pretty shocked, as nobody had really explained there were things we believed to be true.

    I also discovered our Church Covenant, and realized there were things and expectations we had of church members as part or our service and association there.

    Kind of big fail there. We have gotten much better over the course of time, and there are a few of us making a concerted effort to take new members under our wings and help them along the way. When we do that, we see real results and long term service and growth. When we have failed to do that, we see people simply falling off of the map after a sometimes short time and wandering away.

    Another great one my friend, thanks for it.

    Liked by 5 people

    • Elihu July 22, 2016 / 05:48

      Thanks, Wally.

      I was raised on the pew and my parents were great on the training front, so I had an advantage over many new Christians. That being said, I also watched many of my peers simply slip away for lack of understanding. The deceit of the world was so strong and convincing and the succumbed.

      Notice that I say, “I watched.” I could have stepped in, but always had some lame excuse like, “I didn’t know them well,” or “they wouldn’t have listened to me” or “I’m not an experienced teacher.” I need to start jumping in with two feet and helping instead of waiting for that ever-elusive “Somebody” to do what “Nobody” did.

      The congregations I have attended often had the same problem. Strong leadership makes a huge difference!

      Liked by 3 people

      • Wally Fry July 22, 2016 / 05:59

        Strong leadership does make a difference, and it doesn’t necessarily have to come from the “official” leadership of any church; any of us can step up and take a role of leadership, and we should!

        Liked by 3 people

      • Elihu July 22, 2016 / 06:52

        Amen! Sometimes it starts with one person. 😊

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Andy Oldham July 22, 2016 / 06:17

    This is a pertinent post. It is so important that we as Christians are ready to guide and teach those new babies in Christ.

    Liked by 2 people

      • Vincent S Artale Jr July 22, 2016 / 16:28

        you’re very welcome Elihu! House sitting for my brothers. The most important task is to make sure the water in the pool remains wet. 😀 How bout you

        Liked by 1 person

      • Elihu July 23, 2016 / 05:40

        I’m going to be composing lesson plans. Exciting stuff. 😉

        Like

  3. The True Light! July 22, 2016 / 10:54

    An excellent post, full of good thoughts and advise. We do need to stay with the new Christians and help train them with the milk of the word, (rudiments), leading to the meat of the word as they mature in Christ. Thanks for sharing these thoughts!

    Steve

    Liked by 2 people

    • Elihu July 22, 2016 / 12:59

      Thanks, Steve! I think that every church falls short in this area. If we don’t want to repeat the Israelites mistakes we’ve got to step up. Thank you again for your comment. Have a blessed weekend!

      Like

  4. Salvageable July 22, 2016 / 13:36

    The importance of focusing on God’s love and his forgiveness for our sins cannot be overstated. We find it far to easy to focus on the things we are doing for God, to obsess over our failures, and to think that we have lost our connection to Him. But he is always there, always loving us, always ready to forgive. New believers–and long-time believers too–need daily reminders of grace so we don’t get trapped into measuring ourselves instead of measuring our Savior. J.

    Liked by 2 people

    • dawnlizjones July 22, 2016 / 14:32

      I so relate to this comment! One of my “Big Three Fears” was fear of God’s rejection, and as the Holy Spirit has walked through this with me, I realized that one of the things Satan always aims at, one way or another, is our core relationship with the Lord. Duh!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Elihu July 22, 2016 / 15:12

        That was one of my biggest fears as well, which is why repentance & renewal was at that top. I had 1 John 1.9 in mind—if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins.” It’s reassuring to know that we don’t hop in and out of Christ. We have to keep shedding the layers of worldliness and allow God to transform us bit by bit. 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  5. dawnlizjones July 22, 2016 / 14:33

    Great and practical. Do you have or have your written a syllabus for new Christians?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Elihu July 22, 2016 / 15:10

      Well… I started working on “material” that I had planned to include with this post and continued to get stuck. I was going to follow the above outline, but I think I need more than a week to get it properly put together. Ideally I’d like to work with somebody to write it, that way we can check each other’s work.

      Liked by 1 person

      • dawnlizjones July 22, 2016 / 15:11

        That would be a very, very worthwhile project. Go for it, take your time and prayerfully pursue it.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Elihu July 22, 2016 / 15:14

        Thanks, Dawn! I will continue to work on it because of like to have it on hand for myself to teach classes with new Christians. I’d like to make it available to my users as well because we all need an arsenal of tools.

        Like

  6. thiaBasilia July 27, 2016 / 02:11

    My Brother, the whole routine is so familiar to me. I lived by it for a long, long time. Until my due time came. It was then when, the truth of John 8:32 truly set me free from all routines, from all of all the acquired knowledge of my years of faithfulness to my Christian beliefs.

    What is that ‘truth’? The truth of our carnal selves. Our carnal mind. Everything we do until the due time comes? Is carnal, as it was for the Corinthians, for the Galatians.

    Once the Son set me free? Father began the molding of His nature within me. It took several years, six to be exact. Now I am on my 7th year–the year for Him to demonstrate the harvest of His labor in my heart. I have recorded every single day as His Spirit has led me to do.

    He leads me all the way. At this moment He has led to post this matter in your blog. He knows why? I don’t. All I know is that His love is in my heart for you all, thiaBasilia. 🙂 http://www.thia-basilia.com/

    Like

  7. worshipfreely July 28, 2016 / 09:41

    God bless you Elihu, That’s very powerful and true. Very insightful words. I have shared your post on my facebook timeline. I hope you don’t mind.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Elihu July 28, 2016 / 10:23

      Thank you for sharing this! I am very honored. God be with you.

      Like

  8. walkofthespirit July 29, 2016 / 08:24

    I love how the Lord is using us to share the Word of God! Bless you and your Work

    I have began to use mine for ministry purposes of course. It is really great to see God using people to paint many pictures of truth and in our own way.
    I am looking to become a Christian Writer, at least helping me with my teaching gifts, and inspirational spirit from God!. If you could take the time to check out some of mine as well and share them with others. I pray that it blesses you always. In Jesus name.
    Thank you so much Daniel Byzewski
    https://godheaddisciplesjourney.wordpress.com/2016/07/29/be-anchored-today-in-the-word/

    Liked by 1 person

    • Elihu July 30, 2016 / 04:50

      Thanks for stopping by, Daniel! I am always happy to check out other blogs and I will take a look at yours and offer feedback.

      I do think it’s important to note that I try very hard to represent God and His Word as accurately as possible. I may have my own expressions and comparisons, but may His truth be the one that shines and not my personal truth.

      Like

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