By Dexter Guin
Many years ago, a popular psychologist coined the phrase, “More truths are caught than taught!” I have thought about that statement many times as we have raised our children. If that principle is true in child rearing, it is also true in developing new Christians. Young Christians learn more at church and around other faithful Christians than we can imagine.
They learn how to dress appropriately, how to sing hymns, and how to pray. They learn the importance of personal devotions and how the Word of God affects daily life. Bit by bit, they will be experience discipleship.
Many discipleship studies are available, each with strengths and weaknesses. No matter which study used, each church should provide a course of instruction for new converts. Our church uses a little booklet from Partners in Ministry called “Seven Steps To Joy,” written by Tom Ward, Sr. The truth is, however, that most new convert courses seldom last more than a few weeks.
The process of discipleship goes far beyond a short series of lessons. True discipleship takes months and sometimes years. Often, new believers have a deep history of sin and may require longer periods of time to grow. They may need more individual help to gain victory in their lives. While discipleship studies are both helpful and productive, new believers need a more in-depth, richer, fuller, and meaningful ways to ensure they mature into healthy strong believers.
One of the biggest steps for new believers is to become anchored and involved in a local church. Each new convert needs to be encouraged to start attending a local church immediately. A convert can receive no better help than being around other faithful Christians. Faithfulness in mature believers does wonders to encourage faithfulness in young converts. As a teenager, I remember hearing Hank Hollis (my pastor) say often, “We may not be able to do a lot of things, but we can all be faithful.” How true that has proven to be throughout the years.
It is also extremely important to offer the new convert basic instruction in areas such as assurance of salvation, baptism, personal Bible reading, etc. The more that people are exposed to truth, the more likely they will absorb it.
Discipleship is not complicated. Develop a good plan, buy good study materials, and give new converts a steady dose of fellowship. No six, eight, ten, or even twelve-week course will do more for a new Christian than a constant, steady diet of regularly scheduled church services.
Remember that more truths are caught than taught! Simple? Yes. True? Yes. Those who are saved and immediately get involved in a good, Bible teaching, praying, and preaching church will grow in their faith!
So, how can we disciple a new convert? Love them enough to invite them to Sunday School, bring them to church at night, and ask them to join you for Bible study each Wednesday. In general, embrace them as a new member of the family of God. By doing so, you will love them into a closer relationship with Christ. Over time, you will be amazed at how much more they have caught than they have been taught!
Article adapted from ONE Magazine, December 2007-January 2008.