OUTREACH is for EVERYONE General Conference Women’s Ministries EVANGELISM MANUAL Training Program OUTREACH IS FOR EVERYONE Chapter Chapter 14 – Discipling New14 BelieversDiscipling 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of the church to devise ways and means to provide help and sympathy and instruction for those who have conscientiously withdrawn from other churches for the truth's sake, and thus cut themselves off from the pastoral labor to which they have been accustomed.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 change. • 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 members. • 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 classes. 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 patterns. • 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 Him. 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 learned? • My family is angry with me for joining the church. What do I do now? • 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.