Leading A New Christians Group
When it comes to new Christians groups, one of the biggest mistakes I have made was to think that just about anyone can lead one. After all, I reasoned, most Christians should be able to teach foundation bible studies. Big mistake! (I wouldn’t be surprised if many other pastors made the same mistake as I did.)
When I look back on it now I ask myself, “What was I thinking?” The most important part of any building is the part you cannot see – the foundations. Anyone who skimps on these pays the ultimate price. Would a builder let just anyone come onto his building site to lay the foundations of a house he is building? Of course he wouldn’t.
Let’s look at what the New Testament says about teaching new Christians. Who is it that God appointed to lay foundations in the lives of believers and churches? The foremost ministries in the church – apostles and prophets (Eph.2:20; 1 Cor.3:10&11). And no wonder; the beginnings of the Christian life are the most critical stage of all.
When I look back over 35 years of pastoral ministry I can see that those who struggle the most are those without proper Christian foundations. I include myself in this example, because for many years I was ignorant of true apostolic foundations. Yet, once I learned these my whole life and ministry took off!
By now you might be asking, “What kind of foundational bible studies for new Christians would you recommend?” Well first, every new believer should be taken through a series of
new Christians basic bible studies.
A good series of eight to ten inspirational bible studies on prayer, Christian fellowship, the bible, assurance of salvation, water baptism, communion, etc. will be most helpful.
But then, it is imperative to take them deeper into
This can be done by asking these two questions:
1) “Who are you?” It was to new Christians that John said, “I write to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for His name’s sake” (1 Jn.2:12). As amazing as it is God has forgiven us all our sins – past, present and future. He clearly wants us to have a righteousness-consciousness. Yet, many believers are dominated and tormented by sin-consciousness and are consequently living defeated lives.
2) “How do you relate to God?” Just as many are as confused in this area as in the previous one. God is a God of covenant. The word ‘covenant’ is from the Greek word diatithemai. This is made up of two words dia = two; tithemai = to place. A covenant is something which is placed between two parties in order to establish a relationship between them.
The question, then, is, “What is it that God has placed between us and Him in order to establish a relationship with us?” Well, if we were living in Old Testament times we would have to reply that it is the law which God has placed between us and Him, and that He will bless us on the basis of law-keeping.
But we know that the old covenant has passed away and has become obsolete. It has been replaced by the new covenant, which is a grace covenant. Law emphasizes what I must do for God in order to be accepted by Him and enjoy His favour. But grace is what He gives me freely in His Son the Lord Jesus Christ. Not only are we righteous; we have also been blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ Jesus. We are complete in Him!
We respond to law with works; but our response to grace is faith. “The just shall live by faith.” Paul said, “The life that I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God” (Gal.2:20).
Sadly, my experience has been that the majority of Christians are trying to relate to God on the basis of a covenant that doesn’t exist anymore. No wonder, so many Christians are struggling. And we can see why foundations are so vital.
The subject of our new identity in Christ is a major theme in the New Testament. There is no truth more liberating than to discover who we are in Him. It takes maturity and skill, though, to communicate these powerful realities to new Christians. We cannot delegate this role to novices. Put simply, no one can take someone else where they have not yet been.
In summary, “Who shall we appoint as leaders of our new Christians?” Answer: let’s appoint the very best!
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