EM Chapter 14 - Discipling New Believers

is for
General Conference
Women’s Ministries
Training Program
Chapter 14 – Discipling
New Believers
General Conference
Women’s Ministries Department
• “Those who have newly come to the faith should
be patiently and tenderly dealt with, and it is the
duty of the older members of the church to devise
ways and means to provide help and sympathy
and instruction for those who have conscientiously
withdrawn from other churches for the truth's
sake, and thus cut themselves off from the pastoral
labor to which they have been accustomed.
• The church has a special responsibility laid
upon her to attend to these souls who have
followed the first rays of light they have
received; and if the members of the church
neglect this duty, they will be unfaithful to the
trust that God has given them.” Review and
Herald, April 28, 1896. Evangelism, p. 351.
• Discipling new believers is a very important
part of evangelism, so important that a
discipleship program should be carefully
planned before starting any kind of outreach.
Friendships formed during small groups,
seminars, or an evangelistic series must be
maintained after baptism.
• “After individuals have been converted to
the truth, they need to be looked
after....These newly converted ones need
nursing, – watchful attention, help, and
encouragement. These should not be left
alone, a prey to Satan’s most powerful
temptations; they need to be educated in
regard to their duties, to be kindly dealt
with, to be led along, and to be
apportioned to every man in due season.”
Evangelism, p. 351
Helping New Members
Feel at Home
• People resist change. Change is hard. But
when people are baptized, we ask them to
change churches, or if they have not been a
church member, to make an even harder
• We ask them to change their day of worship,
what they eat and drink, their recreation,
sometimes their friends, and perhaps even
their job.
• We need to be patient and helpful, staying
close to them during this process.
• An important part of
discipling is helping new
members make friends.
Here are some ways you
can help.
• Have a new member committee,
responsible for the integration of new
• A new member banquet once or twice a
year where new members are featured.
• New member visitation once a week
during the first month, then once a
month for the first year.
• Watch for any indication
of problems, such as
absence from Sabbath
School or church, or a
failure to make friends.
Involving New Members
in Church Groups
• Pair new believers with someone close to
them in age or interests, or with a friendly
family. If someone is already close to them, it
is natural to pair them up as friends.
• These friends need to be
accountable to someone else who
will make sure the friendship is
beneficial to both.
Training and Equipping
New Members
Further classes on doctrines.
Special classes for new believers.
Guidance in how to study the Bible and pray.
It is also important to help them become
accountable to others in their spiritual life.
• The greatest witnessing potential for new
believers is during their first three years in
the church.
• Help new members learn to give a gospel
presentation and to share their own
experience in accepting Christ.
• Provide opportunities to bring their
friends, relatives, and neighbors to
non-threatening events.
• Prayer meeting can be evangelistic
and an opportunity for them to invite
their extended family.
• Provide opportunities for them to
witness as you train them in classes.
Take them along as apprentices in
your witnessing. First model the
witnessing and then encourage
them to try. Be encouraging.
• When our new members are
encouraged and trained to discover
their own spiritual gifts and use them
in a ministry that fits their gifts, they
will have great joy and satisfaction
and will bless the church and the
community. We can help new
members discover their spiritual gifts
through spiritual gifts seminars or
Life Style Changes
• When you talk about lifestyle changes, do not
magnify what they are giving up, but focus on
what they are gaining from embracing new
• One of the most difficult life style
changes, of course, is keeping the
Sabbath. Time should be spent
discussing why God gave us the
Sabbath. We must emphasize over
and over again that God gave us the
Sabbath so that we could have
quality time with Him to develop a
strong intimate relationship with
Questions New
Believers Ask
• How does one keep the Sabbath?
• What is one of the best ways to tell
my family about what I have
• My family is angry with me for
joining the church. What do I do
• I have lost many of my friends
because of the drastic changes in my
life. What do I do? This is why it is so
important to help them build a
network of friends in the church even
before they join.
• I would like to (golf) on the Sabbath. Is it
OK to do that? Here is your opportunity
to educate your new member positively
about Sabbath observance and invite
them over to keep the Sabbath with you.
• Do you have a school where I could send
my children? Give them information on
the nearest SDA school. Better yet, take
them over to talk
Crises New Members May Face,
with Possible Solutions
• Crisis of discouragement. S/he fails to live up
to the high standards in the church.
• Crisis of integration. S/he fails to make friends
in the new church.
• Crisis of lifestyle. S/he fails to integrate the
value systems of scripture and the church into
his/her lifestyle.
• Crisis of Leadership. S/he is discouraged over
imperfections in church members.
• Follow-up meetings also help. Provide a
variety of meetings or services. Make prayer
meetings evangelistic. Start small groups.
Make certain that there are meeting for them
to attend when your series is over. Have a
Sabbath school class for new members.

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