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How to Follow Up New Christians

Unbelievable! Your friend received Christ with you during lunch over a burrito, but had to leave right at the bell. So now what? How do you respond to a person who has just received Christ? Follow-Up!

What is Follow Up?

Follow-up is the crucial step in the process of helping new Christians take their first steps in their walk with God, helping them to grow up in their relationship with Christ and multiply their faith to others. It is important to help them transition to a new life of faith and establish a solid relationship with Christ.

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’s 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.

How to Start

So where do you start? Don’t freak out; it will only give you more complexion problems.

1. Pray.
Begin by praying for them (1 Thessalonians 1:2,3). Don’t try to be fancy; just pray. Remember that God is sovereign, which means that He has total authority in the making of disciples (followers of Christ).

2. 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! You may have already seen some of these responses from your friends at school.

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."

3. Don’t Delay Follow-up!
It is very important to begin follow-up ASAP! Give them a call or stop by their locker within 24-48 hours after they have received Christ. Beware: Satan will be attempting to discourage your friend after he has received Christ. Your friend may have questions or doubts, so it’s good to be available to them to talk.

The Holy Spirit needs your availability to help lead your friend. You will want to affirm him in his new relationship with Christ and set up a time to meet to talk further. You may be thinking, "But how do I start meeting with them"? Suggest a time and place to meet (like Taco Bell, your favorite burrito shack, Burger King, in the school courtyard ... wherever!) and let your friend 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 free to talk and share, and will make up a potential discipleship group for later. 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 your friend understand the assurance of his salvation, and to help him begin to grasp God’s personal care for him.

1. Personalize your time.
When you get together to talk, personalize your time by asking him good questions. In other words, don’t yak and yak about yourself! Talk about things he is interested in and things you may have in common, and be sure to listen! Don’t get caught off guard daydreaming and have to say, "What did you just say?"

2. Explain spiritual growth.
Use your time together to explain spiritual growth. Show him 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 him to be involved in a discipleship group or other Christian options that would encourage spiritual growth.

3. 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?"

4. Remember that follow-up is a process.
A couple of things to remember ... every young Christian needs 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)

Taking care of a newborn is a lot of work! But if you have done your job well, by God’s grace your newborn friend will soon be walking, talking, feeding herself, and on her way to becoming a mature disciple of Christ!

From VITAL LINC Call 800.789.5462 or visit www.svlinc.com


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