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How to Follow Up New Christians
Unbelievable! Several students just received Christ at an outreach. So now what? How do you respond to help a person who has just received Christ? “Follow-Up” is the answer!
What is Follow Up?
Imagine bringing your newborn baby home from the hospital. Suppose you set her in the crib and say, "Okay, Sweetie, milk is in the fridge, the bathroom is over there, and here's the stereo if you want to hear some tunes." Absurd! So why should we do the same to a brand new Christian, who is referred to as a "baby" in the Bible? No, it's our responsibility to help cultivate the faith of that newborn believer.
Follow-up is making sure a new Christian understands their new relationship with God. They need to know the first steps in how to grow in their relationship with Christ and multiply their faith to others. It is important to help them establish a habit of meeting with Christ daily and to help them live a new life of faith.
How to Start
So where do you start?
Begin by praying for them (1 Thessalonians 1:2,3). Remember that God is sovereign, which means that He has total authority in the making of His disciples (followers of Christ).
- Remember that God is in charge.
Only God can produce growth, and He does that in many ways. The Bible talks about four ways of responding to God's Word in Matthew 13:3-9, 14-20. Check it out!
In the book of Acts, Paul spent special time with new believers, teaching and encouraging them (Acts 17-20). As a result they eventually influenced their entire region. We can help guide and encourage believers to grow, but the bottom line is that God's the one in charge. What a relief.
In 1 Corinthians 3:5-9, the Bible says, "What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, even as the Lord gave opportunity to each one. I planted, Apollos watered, causing the growth. So then neither the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth...For we are God's fellow workers; you are God's field, God's building."
- Don't Delay Follow-up!
It is very important to begin follow-up ASAP! Beware: Satan will be attempting to discourage a student after he has received Christ. The student may have questions or doubts, so it's good to be available to talk. Give him a call within 24-48 hours after he has received Christ and invite him to meet to talk about how his new faith is a part of everyday life.
The Holy Spirit needs your availability to help lead this new believer. You will want to affirm his new relationship with Christ; set up a time to meet to talk further. You may be thinking, "But how do I start meeting with him."? Suggest a time and place to meet (like Taco Bell, Burger King, in the school courtyard ... wherever!) and let the student respond.
Be flexible! Explain that you would like to share some things that will help him in his new relationship with Christ. Encourage him to bring several friends along. Meeting with a group of students who know each other is often the best method of follow-up. The students may feel more open to talk and share, and will make up a potential discipleship group for later. Invite other students who have received Christ (through an outreach or one on one ) to join together as a group, especially if they know each other.
If something happens and you can't get together at the scheduled time, reschedule your appointment within 48 hours. Whatever you do, don't leave that “baby” unattended!
The First Follow-Up Meeting
What do you talk about at your first follow-up meeting? The purpose of your first meeting is to build your relationship, to help these new Christians to understand the assurance of their salvation, and to help them begin to grasp God's love for them.
- Personalize your time.
When you get together to talk personalize your time by asking good questions. In other words, don't talk as much about yourself! Talk about things the students are interested in and things you may have in common, and be sure to listen! (See "How to turn the conversation to Christ with teens")
- Explain spiritual growth.
Use your time together to explain spiritual growth (see below for topics). Show the students that there is much to learn and offer the opportunity to get together weekly, at least for the next four weeks. Asking for a short-term commitment won't be as overwhelming to a new Christian as an open-ended "let's meet" might be. After the first four weeks, challenge them to continue to meet for further growth together.
- Ask questions to gain understanding.
If you are meeting with someone whom you're not sure is a Christian, ask questions which will help you understand better where they are at spiritually, and be prepared to share the gospel with him if the student is open and willing to listen! For instance, "If you were to die tonight and see God, and he asked you, ‘Why should I let you into heaven?' What would you answer?" If the person is not 100% sure they are going to heaven, take the time to share the gospel with them to clarify things with them. (See the interactive Flash booklet “Connecting with God”).
- Remember that follow-up is a process.
A couple of things to remember ... every young Christian will need to continue to learn from the Scriptures. We need to start at the beginning and build. Don't try to teach everything all at once! Follow-up is a process.
Important Truths for New Christians
Here are some of the most important truths a new Christian needs to know:
- Assurance of salvation (Hebrews 13:5)
- Knowledge of Jesus Christ (John 20:31, Romans 10:17)
- Forgiveness and confession of sins (Romans 5:6-9, 1 John 1:9)
- The ministry of the Holy Spirit in his life (John 14:25-26, Ephesians 5:18)
- Understanding his new identity in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17)
For free Bible studies you can download go to “Getting Started - Follow Up Bible Studies” and for other great studies you can purchase go to http://wwwcruhighschool.com/getEquipped/index.htm.
Taking care of a newborn is a lot of work! But if you have done your job well, by God's grace your newborn friends will soon be walking, talking, and feeding themselves spiritually. They will be on their way to becoming mature disciples of Christ!
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