Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in him and established in your faith,just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.
What and Why
We love those amazing times when someone places his/her faith in Christ. We celebrate the moment, thank the Lord and tell our friends about God’s great work. God created a new life which, in its early stages, is vulnerable and fragile. New believers need encouragement and help at this critical moment. It is possible that during these early days of their new faith that we are the only believers they know. This means that we have a precious responsibility to help them.
How often does it feel like just after we introduce someone to Christ the demands of exams, the activities of the movement, and the needs of our friends press in on us? Weeks can pass before we realize that we aren’t doing such a good job staying in touch with the person who came to Christ. Perhaps this is part of the spiritual battle that we are in. In such a battle, we can ask the Lord to strengthen us and help us remain focused.
Even while we maintain our focus, reconnecting with new believers may be challenging. Everyone is on a journey, different people moving at different paces. You might find yourself reaching out to a new believer who is not actively pursuing spiritual things. Don’t be discouraged. Old patterns continue to affect people. New patterns take time to develop. You can help those who came to Christ exchange the old for the new.
We turn our attention again to the task of helping someone become rooted and grounded in their faith. This process will require intentionality, love and wisdom.
Learning from the Word
Read 1 Corinthians 3:5-9
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What two tasks are found in the text? (vs. 6)
Emil was confused. He had recently led his roommate, Tomas, to Christ. They had a great conversation which obvious touched Tomas’ heart. After that conversation, Emil told Tomas that he was available to answer any question that Tomas might have. But in the last three weeks, Tomas hadn’t raised any questions. While Emil and Tomas saw each other every day their discussion about the Lord didn’t continue.
Around the same time, Emil’s friend Corina had led Olga to Christ through a random survey. Olga, who was a stranger, seemed eager to grow. Corina and Olga regularly met to study follow-up lessons. Emil felt like a failure in his work with Tomas. You are going to meet with Emil later today. He wants to talk to you about why Corina is doing so well in follow-up and he, in his words, “is doing so poorly.”
What would you share with Emil?
1. Take the initiative
As the leader of a follow-up meeting, you need to initiate getting together for further growth.
2. Connection matters
People seek friendship and respond to caring, personal interaction. A good follow-up meeting involves more than working through a lesson. Take time to connect with the student, getting to know him/her.
Express interest and care outside of formal meetings. It is a good idea to become Facebook friends and to ‘like’ various posts the student makes. You might find that following them on Twitter or Instagram is effective.
3. Length of time matters
Keep the meeting fairly short. While you might enjoy a two-hour discussion, the new believer might consider it too long. If the meetings are long they might be less interested in getting together again.
4. Make the content relevant to the person with whom you are meeting.
5. As the leader of the meeting, you need to know the material so well that you can focus on the person you are with.
6. Pray, asking God to help you see and then pursue meaningful connection points with this person.
7. Set up your next meeting while you are still together.
Preparing to guide someone through the next interactive study
♦ Read through the 2nd follow-up lesson (you fill find it in the VOLT directory). Look up the passages and observe how the text answers every question. You can also follow this link to the lesson - From Unworthiness to Forgiveness
♦ Work through the lesson with a practice partner.
♦ Find someone who is willing to help you learn. (You might even work with someone via Skype or another long-distant format.)
♦ Divide the lesson into several different sections. In the first section, you “lead,” walking your partner through the material. Switch roles in the next section, and let your partner walk you through the material.
♦ After the practice session, evaluate how it went. Ask for feedback that might help you improve your skills.
Set up an appointment to meet with someone to discuss how sin affects our relationship with God. (Lesson 2) Let them know before the meeting that there are verses in the Bible that address the topic and that you found it helpful to see what the Bible said.
Reflecting on what I’ve learned
What did I learn about helping someone grow in their faith?
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