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FIRST-PERSON: New birth! Now what?

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (BP) — Praise God if your witness has helped someone surrender to Christ as their Lord and Savior. Now what?

Give them a quarterly and plop them in a Sunday School class? Invite them to a one-hour lunch where you run down the ministries that could use their help? Provide a walkthrough so they know your church’s facilities and schedule?

Jesus said we are to make disciples of all people. How’s that working for you? Here are five proven practices for following up with new believers:

1. Go to meet them in person. At the arranged time, listen to them tell their story (their testimony). Affirm their decision by reviewing what it means to come to salvation.

2. Pray with them about their decision and what it means for them in the days ahead. Ask them if this means any changes in their lifestyle as they walk with Jesus “in the newness of life.”

3. Ask them who they know that needs to hear the gospel message. This could be a family member, co-worker or friend. Pray with them about their concern. Offer to go with them or have the new believer invite those they know to a special place to hear the gospel message. Or set a meeting time to explain the gospel message to people in their circle of influence and follow up with those who make a decision.

4. Invite them to your church. Alert a Sunday School teacher or small group leader to meet with them after church or take them to lunch. After they attend, begin to discuss baptism and other basics of discipleship with them.

5. Begin an intentional disciple-making effort, equipping them as witnesses who can reproduce this process in the lives of others that they know.

A few years ago, when traveling for the International Mission Board into a people group of 3 million, it was a joy to encounter a missionary who had spent months developing evangelism projects. When reviewing his printed plans, I innocently looked up and asked, “Where are your follow-up plans for new converts?” The missionary swallowed hard and mumbled something about looking into it. About two months later, I received an email stating that within a week of finishing their disciple-making plans, God honored them by having their first converts come to faith in Christ. I have often wondered if God was waiting for the missionary to get ready because His new children deserved quality attention.

It may be that you’ll need to start a special class, using a partnering teacher to lead a series of basic discipleship classes on understanding the Bible, what it means to have a daily devotion, the Lord’s Supper, understanding worship including learning a few Scripture songs, how to share your faith with others, the importance of church membership, having fellowship, and ministering to others. If this is a cross-cultural experience it may require possibly a small group that can become a new church.

Invest time with new believers. And get to know those in their circle of influence. They likely will know more lost people than those who have been saved. If there are godly followers of Jesus that they know, meet them too so they can become part of a network in your follow-up plans.

Go ahead and be a bold witness for Jesus. Help the lost repent and surrender their all to Him. But then comes the good part as you guide them as the Holy Spirit leads to develop into a disciple who can make disciples of others.
Mark Snowden is the evangelism/discipleship strategist for the Missouri Baptist Convention. He is the author of a three-month course for new believers, “Catching Fire: New Believers.” For information about the resource, email [email protected] This article first appeared at The Pathway (www.mbcpathway.com), newsjournal of the Missouri Baptist Convention.

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  • Mark Snowden