Helping New Converts Become Insiders
George G. Hunter
Strategies That Assimilate People
1. Provide ministries of instruction.
If new converts are largely ignorant of basic Christianity, then the ministry of instruction becomes necessary in reaching them.
2. Invite people to dedicate their lives.
The average person in the pews has never been told how to make Christian experience a fact instead of an aspiration.
3. Help new converts find meaning.
Churches that do not help people make sense of their lives and find meaning and purpose are neglecting their essential mission.
4. Engage new converts in dialogue.
If you engage in honest open dialogue with people at the point of their honest doubts, you will give some satisfying answers that can remove some barriers between them and the leap of faith.
5. Address new convert’s doubts and questions.
If new converts doubt the church’s capacity to know and teach ultimate Truth, the church is called to clarify its truth claims and develop an apologetic that responds to people’s questions.
6. Provide opportunities to meet credible Christians.
Since the credibility of Christians and the church is sometimes a question for new converts, they need to meet credible Christians.
7. Engage in ministries of affirmation.
Church leaders who know that many new converts are unsure in their faith will need to engage in ministries of affirmation.
8. Help people discover their dignity and self-worth.
If many new converts have low self-esteem, this means that the doctrine of creation-that people are created in God’s image, with dignity and for significant responsibility-is part of the good news that the Christian movement must now communicate.
9. Offer people hope in the kingdom of God.
The Christian doctrine of the kingdom of God-with its promised consummation and second coming of Christ needs to be interpreted meaningfully to this insecure generation.
10. Provide support groups for people with addictions.
More people are now experiencing the empowering grace of God in 12-step groups than in all of the more visible evangelism programs combined.
11. Identify and reach receptive people.
New converts experience receptive seasons in their lives when they are dissatisfied with their lives.
12 .Reach across social networks.
New converts can be reached better by credible Christians in their kinship and friendship networks than by Christian strangers.
13. Offer culturally appropriate forms of ministry.
New converts are reached more effectively through the people, language, music, needs, struggles, issues, leaders, and leadership style that are indigenous to their culture.
14. Multiply “units” of the church.
New classes, new groups, new choirs, and new congregations will disciple more new converts because new converts are more interested in getting in on the start of something, where everybody is even.
15. Offer ministries that meet needs.
New converts are more reachable through ministries that engage their struggles, felt needs, and driving motives.
16. Engage new converts on their turf.
Finally, if new converts are lost and cannot find the door to faith, then the secular West needs a generation of many Christians willing to “stand by the door.”
From: How To Reach People by George G. Hunter (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1992) 55-72. Downloaded October 2015.
The above article, “Helping New Converts Become Insiders” was written by George G. Hunter. The article was excerpted from How To Reach People.
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.
This article may not be written by an Apostolic author, but it contains many excellent principles and concepts that can be adapted to most churches. As the old saying goes, “Eat the meat. Throw away the bones.”