Tag Archive | Care

Care Partner Ministry for New Converts

Care Partner Ministry for New Converts
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 Bamabas. 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 unlit (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.

This article “Care Partner Ministry for New Converts” was written by Tim Massengale.

The material is most likely copyrighted and should not be reprinted under any other name or author. However, this material may he freely used for personal study and research purposes.

Posted in NC - New Convert Care Ministry0 Comments

20 Ways to Not Grow

photoTwenty Ways To Not Grow

Tim Massengale

 

 

 

 

Yesterday I drove past a local high school. On the signboard out front someone had placed the following sage observation: The only place that success comes before work is in the dictionary.

 

With that thought in mind, let me say that it is not excessively difficult to see a church grow, but it does require a certain amount of time, effort and work. You also need a plan, for no journey is successful without clear direction. And it requires having enough desire to work your plan consistently regardless of setbacks and disappointments. If a church will do these things, it will grow. As I have stressed often in this column: If we will do our part (go forth with a burden and sow the gospel seed) God will do His part (bring souls to full Bible salvation). This is His unequivocal promise (Psalms 126:6).

 

But then it hit me: Not every church wants to grow – or at least not enough to do something about it. They have this wonderful group of believers who gather several times a week to worship and hear the Word. There is a spirit of love and unity and blessing. They like their church the way it is. It is comfortable. They are happy. Of course, they would love to see new souls in the altars, but not if it requires changing anything and not if it requires more of their time or money.

 

So, here are some easy to apply guidelines to help you not grow. If carefully followed, they will make any church growth highly unlikely.

 

  1. Don’t think, talk, or preach about growth. Any topic but that. Talking about soul winning is fine, as long as no real plans or programs are discussed to see this happen.
  2. Don’t delegate any ministry leadership. Or at least, no more than you already have. If you already have a Sunday School Director, a Youth Leader, or a Ladies Auxiliary Director, fine. But stay away from delegating any new positions like New Convert Care Director, Home Bible Study Director, Visitor Follow-Up Leader, Promotions Director, Outreach Leader, Music Minister and so on. Be totally content with what you now have.
  3. Do nothing to help or encourage your leaders. Don’t give them a job description. Don’t help them learn to do their job better. No books, no magazines, no conferences, no seminars, nothing. Show no interest in helping them set goals or explore new plans.
  4. Don’t do annual planning with your leaders. Don’t even think about having an Annual Planning Retreat with all your leaders. Don’t brainstorm ideas or try new things or improve current plans and activities. In fact, don’t challenge them to do anything this next year.
  5. Don’t ask your leaders to plan on their own. Don’t ask for a departmental one-year plan. Don’t ask for any departmental goals or activities. This will encourage them to coast along and to be content with the status quo.
  6. Don’t meet with your leaders monthly. In fact, never meet with them at all unless they ask – and then cancel the meeting a few times or just keep it short and quick. If you do meet with them in any way, do it only once a year to put a few dates on a calendar. Regular meetings builds team spirit, shows that you are interested in their success, and encourages them to plan and reach for goals – and you would not want that.
  7. Don’t make anyone accountable for anything. No monthly reports, no follow-up on goals or plans. Don’t check up on anything. New converts? Visitor Follow-up? Home Bible Studies? Who cares?
  8. Don’t train your leaders to be leaders. If your leader grows, his or her department will grow. And if the department grows, your church will grow. God forbid.
  9. Don’t set any numerical growth goals. Don’t set goals for converts, new convert retention, home Bible studies, visitors, contacts, Sunday school, bus ministry, or anything. Stay away from goals of any kind. Because when you set goals, it just makes you feel guilty because you made no plans to help you reach those goals.
  10. Don’t be friendly to visitors. If this seems too extreme, be friendly at first, then ignore them. No guest parking, no greeters, no ushers, no guest packets, no welcome time – and when they slip out the door during altar call, don’t have anyone speak or invite them back.
  11. Don’t follow-up on your visitors. Since 100% of your converts come from your visitors, and few receive the Holy Ghost the first time they come, you don’t want to encourage any to return. Don’t call them, send them a letter, and especially don’t visit them. A visit has the greatest effect upon whether they return or accept a home Bible study – so don’t do that.
  12. Don’t push Home Bible Studies. Don’t promote it, don’t train teachers, and don’t try to get new studies for your teachers to teach. And especially don’t appoint a home Bible study director because he might try to do all three.
  13. Don’t train your saints how to be a witness. Just assume that growth is entirely a work of the Holy Ghost. If a saint has the Holy Ghost they should know how to witness. No training needed.
  14. Don’t start a Constant Contact Consciousness ministry. The CCC ministry just might encourage people to get in the ‘habit’ of witnessing. It’s much better to go month after month and never witness or invite anyone to church.
  15. Don’t start a bus, van, or car ministry. In fact, stay completely away from any children’s evangelism ministries. When you win a child to God you just might win their parents too. We don’t need that.
  16. Don’t advertise your church. Especially don’t let newcomers to your community know where your church is or what special ministries you might have to offer.
  17. Don’t try any new evangelism methods. Use only methods that were popular fifty years ago. Just because a method isn’t working is no reason to abandon it. After all, it’s the tradition that counts.
  18. Build small buildings on small lots. This keeps the congregation thinking small. Don’t even consider moving to a new facility. Too many memories and history in the old one. Better to just stay small.
  19. Emphasize ‘quality not quantity.’ This one always works. Make it sound like those who advocate growth are just playing the ‘numbers game.’
  20. Don’t pray for growth. Pray for the sick, missions, spiritual renewal, anything but growth!

Posted in AIS CD - Church Growth, NC - New Convert Care Ministry, OPGP - General Outreach Ministry1 Comment

Foundational Principles of New Convert Care

photo

By Rev. Tim Massengale

Pastor Johnson smiled broadly and waved as Dave and Patti’s car pulled out of the church parking lot. Then, with a small sigh, he turned and walked back into the church. He could not help but feel a little apprehensive.

Dave and Patti were new converts. Both had been baptized and received the Holy Ghost during a revival about a month ago. This morning they had called and asked to meet with him at the church. They had some questions and were puzzled about several things they had heard from other members. Their questions had to do with holiness standards. He had answered them as best he could but he could tell they were not fully convinced. Carefully he had encouraged them to pray about the scripture he had shown them and to give the Spirit time to lead them into a better understanding. Afterwards they had prayed together. Dave and Patti said they felt better and both assured him that they would be in church Sunday. They expressed their love for the church and especially for the presence of God they felt during the services.

Pastor Johnson returned to his study and sat staring out the window, silently praying for this promising new couple. He asked the Lord for the wisdom to help them mature in the Lord. But so many converts had come in lately only to drift off after a few months. He could not help wonder if there wasn’t more that could be done.
Proactive New Convert Care

The above example is fairly common. Souls come in the front door and then frequently slip out the back. Often you will hear people say, “Well, they know the truth. If they want it they know where to find it. When they need God bad enough, they come home.” How sad! Too often we have come to accept a poor retention rate as inevitable. This should not be!

On the day of Pentecost over 3,120 new converts were born into the church that very first day. It had to be the work of the Holy Ghost to inspire the Apostles on how to establish these new Christians. The writer Luke records that after the three thousand were baptized, the new converts continued steadfastly in three areas (Acts 2:41-47): First, instruction (vs. 41, 42, & 46). Secondly, fellowship (vs. 42 & 46). And thirdly, a unity of involvement (vs. 44 & 45). Each of these are extremely critical to the growth of a new convert. If any of these three areas are neglected, the convert will struggle.

Around the turn of the century, the infant death rate was close to 10% – almost one tenth of the babies born in the world died the first few years. Infant diseases such as small pox, scarlet fever, influenza, and others took a heavy toll. Today, the death rate in America less than .04%. Why? Do mothers today love their babies more now then back then? No! The simple fact is, we have learned to care for newborns better. The same applies to the church. If we will learn to take better care of our new converts, we will see more solid, established Christians.

When an individual comes to our altars and receives the Holy Ghost or is baptized, they begin their new life much like a new born infant – very weak, very hungry, and very dependent upon their mother. They do not know how to live for God, how to pray, how to study the Word, or how to fight temptation. Someone must train them; someone must teach them – and that someone is us. If we abandon the newborn, it will not take long for them to die. You can be sure that the devil is going to do everything he can to make them stumble and fall. Somehow we must give them proper nourishment and provide the protection that will deter the devil’s attack. While there are many things that can be done to help strengthen a convert, one of the most important is what many call, ‘First Week Counseling.’
First Week Counseling

Research shows that most new Christians who backslide, do so within the first month – and many the very first week. The reason is that the devil will strongly attack the convert before they know his tactics or how to fight back. His attack usually begins the moment the convert leaves our services. Satan knows that the sooner he can cause them to stumble – and all new babies stumble when learning to walk – the better are his chances of getting them to give up and quit. We dare not let a new convert leave that service without putting something in their hands – both for strength and to defend themselves. For too long churches have used the “sink or swim” attitude once someone receives the Holy Ghost. Far too many are sinking. First Week Counseling can help prevent this.

First Week Counseling simply means that someone, usually the pastor or a trained assistant, calls the new convert the very next day and sets up an appointment to visit them that same week, usually in their home. The purpose of this visit is to teach a simple, short Bible study on the basic fundamentals of living for God. These are:

Your New Life. The convert needs to know what has just happened to him and how it fits into the new birth process. If they haven’t been baptized, baptism is explained. If they haven’t received the Holy Ghost, this is explained also. But what is mainly stressed is the “new beginning” that comes by being born again. This way we defeat a major tactic the devil uses against new converts: dragging up their past that’s now under the blood.

Three Essential Truths. The second topic is what many call the “three essential truths for new converts” – daily prayer, daily Bible reading and consistent church attendance. A convert needs to begin a daily prayer life immediately. The problem is, they often don’t know how to, or that they even need to, pray. To wait until lesson five of the new convert’s course to begin praying is too late. The same applies to the Word of God. They need to read their Bible daily, for this is their source of strength. But they don’t need to begin in Genesis, like the Bible was some kind of novel. They need to begin in the Gospels or the Book of Acts and read a chapter each day. They also need to know that every time the church doors are open to be there. The world’s concept of going to church is ‘Sunday morning only.’ Someone must tell them otherwise. These three basic truths – prayer, Bible study, and church – attendance are explained in a simple straightforward way. Often a handout is given that explains the basics of prayer, provides a beginning Bible reading chart, and also lists church service times.

The Devil’s Attack. We must warn the new convert that the devil will soon attack them. He may use family or friends to condemn their decision to live for God. He will try to make them stumble and sin. He will try to tempt them back into their old way of life. The new converts needs to be aware of this and be ready to defend themselves. And if by chance they do stumble and do something wrong – and all babies stumble while learning to walk – to get back up, tell the Lord they’re sorry, and try to never do it again. They need to know the Lord will forgive them. A favorite ploy of the devil is to tell the convert that, having stumbled, they are now forever lost – so they might as well quit. If someone doesn’t tell them otherwise, how will they know it’s a trick of Satan?

We Care. The last topic is very simple, yet so extremely important. The new convert needs to know “we are here, we care.” Many converts have no one close to talk to when they encounter problems because no immediate family is in church. Yet, they are often reluctant to call the pastor for fear they are imposing upon his time. So they battle alone and often fail. Someone needs to reassure them that they can call or come by any time. If we don’t come when the baby cries, the devil will! It is good to give them the pastor’s contact number, the assistant pastor’s, the new convert care director, and any others who can encourage them when they are down. Someone needs to be there. We must realize a new born baby is not like an adult – they must have much more personalized attention until they mature, and much more often.

In First Week Counseling these four subjects are only covered briefly. The objective is not to give them a comprehensive study, but rather to reveal a few basic principles and spark their hunger for more. More depth will be provided in each area by teaching a comprehensive new converts course at the church on Sunday morning. Every convert should be enrolled and strongly encouraged to attend.

It is also recommend that the pastor take a Bible Study night and teach a lesson entitled, “The Successful Christian Life” and expound on these and other important concepts of spiritual growth. But make sure you record it, because from then on every new convert should have this cassette tape or CD given to them the night they receive the Holy Ghost or are baptized.

In addition to the CD, many recommend giving the new Christian a new convert’s booklet. Several excellent examples are Victorious Living for New Christians (Kinzie), New Beginnings (Triplett), Growing With God (Alphin) and Ready Set Go (Cook). All can be purchased from the Pentecostal Publishing House.
End Time Harvest

This is First Week Counseling: a forty minute home visit, a booklet and a CD. Now they have some tools with which to fight the devil and spiritual nourishment with which to begin their walk with God. With this and other key methods, a church can see their retention rate increase to fifty, sixty, even seventy percent. Understand this well: God is not in the business of making backsliders. He does not want to send us a mighty revival only to have 90% backslide. But if we will prepare ourselves for a great end-time harvest of souls, and have a program in place to retain that great harvest, I believe that God will give it to us. Don’t you agree? So how ready are you?

If you would like more information on successful new convert care, call the Apostolic Information Service at 1-800-800-0247 and ask for “The Complete New Convert Care Program” by Tim Massengale. Cost is just $5.00.

Posted in AIS CD - Church Growth, AIS CD - Featured Stories, NC - New Convert Care Ministry1 Comment


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