New members of the Church are more than statistics to computerize; they are bundles of joy, fears, needs, hopes and dreams, all wrapped in a new robe of Christ’s righteousness. If neglected, they will disappear, but if properly nurtured they will become strong, mature Christians. We usually put the onus on the new converts when they fail to mature in the Christian life as quickly and symmetrically as we would like. But the truth is that most of the responsibility lies at the doorstep of the Church family, who must develop skill in integrating new believers in the congregation and helping them to become active within the Church’s program.
There are four anchor lines that hold new members in the Church and each one is essential:
- Friends – a new convert needs six good friends in the Church within six months.
- Faith – review the Bible message repeatedly with new believers; they don’t catch it all the first time through.
- Groups – get new converts into a small group for Bible study, prayer and fellowship.
- Task – Give new believers a job to do for Christ and train them to use their spiritual gifts.
Key Passages and Questions
- Evangelistic Follow-Up — Acts 14:21-22
- In what ways do new converts need to be nurtured? How important is “friendship” with regard to keeping new members in the Church?
- How should mature members relate to the new converts who come in?
- Establishing New Members — Acts 18:8-11
- Is a 3-4 week evangelistic campaign generally enough to establish a new believer in the faith?
- Is it usually best to have new members observe the program for a year or two before becoming involved in the work of the Church?
- What devotional habits do new members need to learn?
- Leadership Training — Acts 20:27-36
- What kind of service was Paul expecting from the Ephesian elders?
- What kinds of problems did Paul predict the elders would face as shepherds of God’s Church?
- Do we face any of these same problems today?
- Encouraging One Another — I Thess 5:11-21
- According to I Thess 5, what are some of the ways church members can build each other up?
- How close knit was the community of believers to be?
- How were church leaders to be regarded?