Introduction: When Joshua and Caleb died, it did not take ISRAEL but a few years to become an apostate nation.
After the great revival spread throughout the world, which was led by the apostles in Jerusalem, it was only about 40 years before many false preachers and doctrines plagued their work. In fact, several of the New Testament books were written because of the first great apostasy, which followed this worldwide revival. Jude, II Timothy, Titus, I and II Peter were not prophesies which foretold future apostasies, but instructions to pastors who were dealing with crippling problems which plagued their churches.
The Bible, God’s perfect manual, has principles, which deal with and overcome a period of apostasy.
I. First phase of the New Convert Care Program: The Follow-up Phase
a. The new convert needs following-up and care as soon as they are saved.
i. They are saved in a period, which is totally non-Christian, because of many years of humanism.
ii. The young converts (babes in Christ) know nothing about God. The primary way a baby learns is through observation and personal attention. Left to learn by themselves by observing they will become victims and fail.
iii. Just as natural babies need immediate and thorough attention from their birth through the early years of their lives, so do our spiritual babies (the new converts).
iv. The new convert needs following-up as soon as possible, because all a newborn spiritual baby has is an emotional experience to rely on.
1. Salvation brings emotions
2. Salvation is an experience
All the old devil has to do in order to stop or at least confuse the newborn spiritual baby is to get him to have another emotional experience. Get him to sin.
When the new convert sins, he becomes confused, and possibly, permanently wounded. We can prevent much of that through a good follow-up program.
Do not give the booklet to the new convert without making an appointment with him. During this appointment, you will go over each principle with him. (You will need to train your members in this book so that they can become role models to new converts.) The disciple will present the booklet to the new convert (less than 5 minutes), and then give him time to read it. After a few days, make another appointment to meet with him and go over his booklet together. Mae sure he understands the principles and answer any questions that he might have. After you second meeting with the new convert, give the pastor a report on his progress.
II. Second Phase of the New Convert Care Program: The Protections Phase.
a. The new convert must be protected in at least three areas.
i. From the influence of nominal, backslidden or careless Christians.
ii. From the proselytizing spirit which dominates our society today.
iii. From the ghosts of the past, most of the people of today have had serious disappointments and disenchantments in this life. They are much more sensitive and easily offended.
THE SOLUTION: Appoint a role model over them as soon as they are saved to be an extension of the pastor.
III. The Third Phase of the New Convert Care Program, The Development Phase.
In the book of Acts, the early disciples were developed into mature, full grown soul-winning, and discipline members within a few weeks or months instead of a few years.
We must begin to go by the manual or the biblical pattern instead of judging ourselves by ourselves. The Bible is true. It will still develop new converts into strong soul-winning mature working members if we learn to go by biblical principles instead of following the sloppy handling of our new converts which has produced our day of apostasy.
Just as our domestic children deteriorated and develop poor habits and get into trouble unless they are properly trained, so will (DO) our new spiritual babies.
Just as our domestic children learn bad habits from older brothers and sister, so will our spiritual babies unless they are protected and developed!!
In order to hold and develop our new converts, we must
a. Appoint over them a spiritual role model as soon as they are saved.
b. Stress the standards of the Bible and seek to get them to make the commitment at the end of each lesson.
c. Grade them, so they will get their fulfillment from doing spiritual things instead or seeking satisfaction in the world.
d. Major on the promises and memorize the problems.
Stop talking about negative things such as how hard our field is, the end times you can’t win a Catholic or Mormon, the summer slump, the good old days, ect. And do what the Bible says. When you continually lament on how hard it is, you sow defeat and unbelief into the lives of the people you are trying to develop.
Talk like the Bible teaches: hope, faith, can do, God is greater, the future is bright, you can win your loved one, and our church is going to grow.
- 1. We must place a shield of faith around our new converts as soon as they are saved through a direct, proper follow-up.
- 2. We must protect and shelter them while they make the transition from being religious (humanism) lost sinners to where they submit to the pastoral tutorship.
- 3. We must train them to observe, and do instead of just leaning the Word. The stress in the Bible is doing, not hearing only. God’s method works – We must learn to work God’s method.
The above article, “The Three Phases of the New Convert Care Program” was written by James Wilkins. The article was excerpted from www.jameswilkins.org web site. June 2016.
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.”