Getting Up Close and Personal in New Convert Care
Two extremely significant things happened to Chris (not me) while a student at Northwestern University: (1) he became one of the best offensive linemen in the school’s history, and (2) he came to know Christ as his Savior. Though he was involved in a Bible study there, he received very little personal follow-up.
Upon graduation he moved on to professional ball. For a while, he faithfully attended the weekly chapel programs, but for one reason or another, he never entered into a personal, one-to-one relationship with a stronger, more mature Christian for the purpose of being discipled. Eventually, he lost interest in the chapels and dropped out.
He is now one of the top offensive linemen in football. He’s been all-pro every year since his career began. He’s a man who could influence tens of thousands of people for the Kingdom of God, but his ministry for Christ these days is non-existent.
Who knows how differently this scenario might have played if a stronger brother had come alongside him during his early days as a Christian and become his close friend? If someone had helped him get established in his walk with Christ, taught him how to defend himself against the devil, and had been there eyeball-to-eyeball to help him find answers to his doubts, fears and misconceptions, he might be a champion for Christ today.
The “small group” dynamic – such as a weekly study – is vital. But we have found that if there is not also some kind of significant “one-to-one” time with each member of the study, they will seldom develop into spiritual leaders. Even in the context of the group study, they will exhibit far less attention and participation and show far less application.
Everyone has different strengths, weaknesses and needs. You can’t deal with all that variety in a group situation. Only in the “one-to-one” context can you personalize and specialize the discipling process.
You might be leading a dynamite study on “Stewardship”, But Joe over there isn’t listening because he’s being eaten alive by anger and bitterness toward his coach. Frank thinks about nothing but his neighbor’s wife all day. Jed’s thinking about dropping the study next week because he can’t resolve evolution and creation. Individual needs require individual attention.
It’s only in the intimate, personal environment of the “one-to-one” that you can deal with the intimate, personal issues of life. And let’s face it: if a person doesn’t have a place where he can deal with the intimate, personal issues of life, he will be devoured! It’s one of Satan’s oldest tactics – separate the individual sheep from the flock. Break off all ties of spiritual accountability and encouragement, pour on the pressure, and then watch him self-destruct.
People don’t bail out of the Christian life because they didn’t catch the sequence of Paul’s missionary journeys, or because they only made it through Book Three of an eight-book Bible study series. They bail out because life got a little too rough, and when they needed someone to lean on for a while, no one was there. No one to pray for them, no one to steer them back to God for real answers, no one to say, “Buddy, though the whole world’s against you, I’m for you, and I believe in you!”
Every one of us has a hurdle or two that’s keeping us from going a little farther down that road to maturity – and usually the tallest ones are the private, personal types that we’d never feel comfortable talking about in a group setting. Take the time to really get to know the people you’re working with. Let them see your love and concern, earn their trust, and then help them dismantle those hurdles.
The above article, ‘Getting Up Close and Personal in New Convert Care’ was written by Chris Adsit. The article was excerpted from: www.disciplemakersinternational.org web site. June
The material is copyrighted and should not be reprinted under any other name or author. However, this material may be freely used for personal study or research purposes.