Following Up On New Converts
By Dawson Trotman
Zealous and yet decidedly practical, Trotman in his generation was the chief proponent and practitioner of disciple making follow-up. Here are some of his words on the subject:
For new Christians the entire world is new. They have before them a grand new life with all its potentialities for blessing and profit and use. They can either fall into a nominal Christian existence or be of little help or an actual hindrance to the cause of Christ, or they can move victoriously into a life of fruitfulness and glory to the Lord.” “The patient, tender care of those able to instruct and equip men and women for the Christian walk this is the embodiment of what we commonly term follow-up.”
“Perhaps yours is a church where a few do the work that many should be doing. But the majority of Christians should have a part, and perhaps would be willing to do so if they but knew what to do and felt qualified to do it. Follow-up is something in which the whole church may participate.” “But are the new Christians to be encouraged to start daily habits of prayer and Bible study merely by being told? No, they must be shown. The person who seeks to do follow-up must be what he is trying to teach, for the learner will follow the example of the teacher sooner than he will his word.”
To pastors: “Every member of your congregation who is spiritually healthy should be able to meet his own problems and help care for another. However, every member who is not spiritually strong doubles your responsibility. You must not only care for his own problem, but do the work he would be able to lift from your shoulders were he in good spiritual health. The simple application of follow-up will conserve, perpetuate, and multiply the fruit of your weeks and months of prayer, visitation, and preaching the gospel.” “Imparting truth, along with being a living embodiment of the truth, is the initial step. But once this is done, a constant vigil must be kept to ensure that this truth is carried out in the believer’s life. It involves correction and instruction, for not only does the human mind forget, but the human will must be challenged to continue steadfast.”
“You are in the greatest business on earth that of bringing men and women into fellowship with Christ and to the place of greatest usefulness in God’s marvelous plan.”
Dawson Trotman, founder of The Navigators, had a consuming desire to see new Christians grow into faithful, consistent followers of Jesus Christ. As his discipleship ministry grew among sailors in the 1930s and during World War II, and among a broader segment of people after the war, all his efforts seemed aimed toward the goal of effective follow-up: newsletters and personal correspondence to men at sea; the development of concise, basic follow-up literature; the always-open Trotman home that hosted a nightly stream of sailors and other guests eager to learn from this man of God; and, most of all, thousands of man-to-man hours spent individually with attentive young believers.
This article is from website www.navpress.com in February 1981
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