Keep New Believers Faithful and Fruitful

Many receive Christ, begin worshipping with others, and then lose interest and stop attending meetings. Jesus warned this would happen because of temptation, persecution and worldly allurement (Matthew 13:20-23). Even so, shepherds can keep most lambs from straying by following these New Testament instructions:

  1. Baptize new believers right away, among friends, and lovingly receive them into the Body.
    Show God’s love to those who repent by baptizing them. “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Cor. 13:7). Many will not feel sure that God has forgiven and accepted them, until a church accepts them in the way that Jesus commanded (Matt. 28:19). Baptize new believers in a setting that is natural for them. If you baptise new believers with no witnesses whom they know and trust, then they will often feel isolated and lonely. Only baptise in secret if the new believers’ life would otherwise be in danger. Home church leaders sometimes take new believers into a chapel or another church to baptise them; as a result the newly baptised do not associate their baptism with their own home church.

  2. Bring new believers into a culturally suitable church. New, simple church plants can prove just as foreign and unnatural as big, traditional congregations. A foreign-appearing church discourages new believers who respect their culture. Do not let new believers find your church with frivolous activities or accommodating only to women or youth. Rapidly spreading, home-church networks normally thrive within a single ethnic and economic community. Use methods of worship and evangelism that new believers can easily imitate. Let them take Jesus to their friends and family, in ways that they find natural, and coach them in planting churches in their friends’ homes.

  3. Ensure joyful, edifying fellowship in the church. A church must provide healthy, loving, joyful relationships. When possible, bring entire families into a church together, for new believers seldom fall away when accompanied by close friends and family. Let all believers speak to comfort, exhort and encourage one another (1 Cor. 14:3, 24-26). Older believers must show love and concern for the new believers, including them in important activities. Let all serve with their spiritual gifts. Even new believers have received the Holy Spirit and His gifts that enable them to serve others. Therefore, help them to recognize and employ their gifts from the start.

  4. Teach loving obedience to Jesus. The Holy Spirit floods new believers’ hearts with the Father’s love, and they easily express this new love for Jesus. Obeying Jesus shows one’s love and faith, and must not be confused with legalism that tries to please God by heeding rules. If church traditions and unbiblical rules dictate practices, then such legalism will prove lifeless, loveless and discouraging.

  5. Demonstrate godly response to persecution. Teach Jesus’ warnings. He warned that the world woul


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