While discipleship has magazines and entire book lines devoted to it the actual process of discipling someone can be quite basic. If your church has new members who have little or no church background a basic program of discipleship might be just what you need.
Of course many resources on discipleship are wonderful and you’ll certainly want to incorporate them into your discipling programs. But you might start by encouraging all discipling ministries, one-on-one mentoring small groups or Sunday school classes to consider these basics for new Christians.
- Assure new believers of their salvation. When people become Christians Satan inevitably wants to place doubts about their newfound faith. The first step in discipling is assurance. Jesus said, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them and they follow me. I give them eternal life and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand” (John 10:27-28).
- Remind them that they’re new creations. While a new Christian may continue to struggle with old ways 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “If anyone is in Christ he is a new creation.” “God continually works in the lives of his children to make them more like his son” (Romans. 8:29).
- Instill in them the importance of Bible study. God’s Word is one of his main methods of communicating with us so study of Scripture is important to having an intimate relationship with him (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
- Encourage them to pray and fellowship with God. Praying is simply talking to God and listening for his answers. God loves us and wants the best for our lives so we can freely and confidently talk to him about anything (Ephesians 3:12). Praying is how we build our relationship with God.
- Promote the importance of fellowship with other Christians. Scripture is full of “one anothers,” those things that define our relationships with others. God calls us to rejoice and weep with one another (Romans 12:15) and to carry one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:2).
- Embolden them to share their faith. They can simply tell the story of how they came to know Jesus as Savior. God empowers us to tell others about him (Acts 1:8) and will bring us people who want to hear about him.
- Urge them to live out their faith through service. As Jesus served others during his earthly ministry he calls us to serve too. He also equips us with specific spiritual gifts to use for his service (1 Peter 4:10-11).
RESOURCE: Following Jesus. If you’re looking for a discipleship study for the people who sit in your services each week but who don’t really know the basics of their beliefs this guide by Douglas Shaw could be it. (And it’s priced reasonably enough that you might be able to buy each person a copy.) The six sessions cover the attributes of God the Father, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, faith, hope and love. Available from Gospel Light 800-235-3415 or (805) 644-9721.