Care Partner Ministry for New Converts
By Tim Massengale
Somehow the church must the church to mentor our new converts. It is these mentoring relationships that help support the convert through their trials and struggles. When the world casts them aside because of their commitment to live for God, when their old friends and family avoid them because their very presence brings condemnation, then we, the church, must fill in the empty places and give them new family and friends to make them feel they belong. It is not just important, it is essential. The ministry of a Care Partner can go a long way in meeting this important need.
Care Partner Defined
The “Care Partner” is normally the “spiritual parent” or the one who has won the new convert to the Lord. They are one of the most important parts on any new convert care system. When the Lord allows a person to bring someone to spiritual birth, they need to realize that there is a responsibility beyond the altar and baptismal tank. This new baby needs a mother, someone to train and watch over him or her.
In the New Testament we find this kind of caring attitude in Barnabas. Paul was a new Christian. He had been excluded by the disciples in Jerusalem. Barnabas took Paul under his wing and nurtured him. He brought him into fellowship and was his early teacher. How tragic it could have been had Paul not had such a friend. We need our churches to be filled with the Barnabas type of people.
Care Partner Responsibilities
The Care Partner is the primary friend of this new convert, and, just like a physical mother has many responsibilities, the Care Partner does also. The responsibilities of the Care Partner for a sample new convert named “Mary” are as follows:
• Pray for Mary each day.
• Look for Mary in each service. Contact when absent.
• Insure that Mary attends all special church socials and services.
• Sit with Mary in church, pray with her when she goes to the altar.
• Introduce Mary to your friends. Make her a part of your social life.
• Have Mary over to your home for dinner as soon as possible. Have at least two other church couples over at the same time. Help her make new friends.
• Teach Mary a complete Home Bible Study. This is important!
• Go with Mary to the New Life Class on Sunday Morning.
• Help Mary become involved in the various ministries of the church. Invite her to work in the ministries you are involved in.
• Provide minor counseling. Refer Mary to the pastor for all major problems.
• Do not push standards of holiness or talk negative of the church or its members in any way.
• Alert the pastor to any needs or problems that Mary encounters.
These responsibilities are often outlined in a letter or job description that should be sent to all spiritual parents. The pastor should strongly encourage the care partner to be faithful to his or her duties as the parent of this new born child.
Adoption May Be Needed
Occasionally there will arise the need for someone to “adopt” this new convert. This will be needful when no one brought this person to the Lord, or when the person that won them is not able to raise them. Such conditions are:
a. The new convert is a “walk-in,” no one really knows them. They came on their own and received the Holy Ghost.
b. The new convert was won to the Lord by another new convert. This is very common. The first new convert is not spiritually able to raise themselves, much less their friend.
c. The spiritual parent already has several new converts that they are caring for and do not feel they can take on another.
d. The spiritual parent is spiritually unfit (backslid) to raise their new baby. If they did, they would give the new convert the same bad spirit they have.
In all the above situations, adoption is needed. Any person that has a burden for souls and would be compatible with the new convert would be a good adoptive spiritual parent. Some members who are not your best “soul winners” in the church, may become your best “spiritual parents.” Not everyone is a “harvester.” Some are “planters,” others are “caretakers.” Everyone has their place. This kind of ministry needs to be taught and encouraged.
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