STUDY TOPIC: Effective Follow Up: Principles & Practice.
TEXT: “While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Thy Name: Those that Thou gavest Me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the Scripture might be fulfilled.” – Matthew 24:14. (KJV).
When someone turns away from sins and comes into Christ, he becomes a new creature (2 Corinthians 5:17). Such a person is now a new babe in Christ (1 Peter 2:2) and needs the care, the concern and the comfort of “older” Christians who have been in the faith before him. But when new converts are neglected, they become exposed to a lot of dangers which may in return lead to premature death (Matthew 9:36; John 10:12; Acts 28:28). Our text is Jesus Christ’s account of how He kept those that His Father gave to Him and how none of them was lost (John 17:12).
Follow Up Compared With Nursing and Nurturing of New Born Babe:
Follow up of a convert is similar to the nurturing of a new born baby. The work of a mother does not end in giving birth to a baby. In the actual sense, the responsibility of the mother increases the moment she gives birth to a baby. It is better for a woman not to plan to have a baby if she is not ready to take care of it. The ultimate goal of parents should be to nurture a child to a stage of self-reliance and self-supporting and not just having a baby.
In the same way, we should bear in mind that the responsibilities of the Church increase when a sinner or a convert is brought to the Church. It is better not to go out to bring sinners to the Church than to bring them and refuse to follow them up to the level of maturity. It is the Local Pastor’s duty to oversee and ensure that the new converts are nurtured to maturity. The Pastoral Ministry is a Parental Ministry. When souls are won, they are handed over to the Local Church Pastors (Jeremiah 23:1-2). The Pastoral Office has an important role to play in nurturing new converts spiritually. The Pastor should assign new converts to mature Christian believes who then become their spiritual parents, guidance, instructors, counsellors or advisers. New converts do not know their left from their right, even though they are now in Christ. We should not merely show our happiness and appreciation to the converts every Sunday by singing, “You are welcome in the Name of the Lord…” and forget everything about them. God will not be pleased with us if any of these converts die prematurely as a result of our carelessness or lack of proper follow up.
Let Us Now Evaluate & Meditate On The Following Questions:
- What happens to the weekly converts that visit our Church every week?
- How many of them are visited after our Church services and during the week?
- How many Church Workers or Members actually care if the converts do not come to the service again?
- Is there any proper record in the Church containing names, addresses of new converts and evidences of follow up of them?
These questions are very vital to those who are ready and really concerned about the great number of converts that are dying prematurely. The ultimate spiritual death of these converts stem from the fact that they lack care and adequate follow up. One of the problems with many Churches today is that many converts added to the body of Christ are left alone to look after themselves spiritually. The Church should assign each convert(s) to a spiritual parent who will take good care of him or her for survival. Paul considered himself a parent of his converts (1 Corinthians 4:15; Galatians 4:19; 1 Thessalonians 2:11).
One of the problems with many Churches today is that many converts added to the body of Christ are left alone to look after themselves spiritually. The Church should assign each convert(s) to a spiritual parent who will take good care of him or her for survival. Paul considered himself a parent of his converts.
The Similarities Between The New Baby & The New Converts:
There are a lot of striking (sure to be noticed) similarities, between the newly born baby and the new convert. The Bible talks about the new convert, as newborn babes that desire the sincere milk of the WORD for growth. (1 Peter 2:2). Let us take a close look at these similarities:
- Both of them are born: One to the world and the other to Christ. Jesus told Nicodemus in John 3:3-7, “… you must be born again”. The moment someone accepts Christ, as Lord and Savior and repents from his sin, he is born again and becomes a new baby in the Lord, no matter his age. Age doesn’t count in spiritual birth. The fact is that both of them are born; one is born naturally by flesh and blood, and the other is born by the water and the spirit. “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the spirit is Spirit”. (John 3:6).
- They are both new to the system and the environment into which they are born: As the newborn baby looks so strange to its environment immediately he is born, likewise a new convert who has just known Christ, is still a novice in the things of God. He is born without the Christian knowledge and experience of God’s Word, and the doctrine of the church. He may have the excitement but the knowledge and experience needed for the new life are lacking.
- They can both respond to feeding instantly. (1 Peter 2:2): Jesus said to Peter, “… feed my sheep”. The new converts should not be starved to spiritual death because of our laziness and nonchalant attitude. (John 21:17).
- They cannot help themselves: They are helpless without their parents. Two things happen to new born babes if they are not cared for:
- Lack of Growth and maturity.
- Infant Death
- Both of them need motherly care: Both the natural and spiritual babes need specific mothers to take care of them. Will you be the mother to these spiritual babes?
- They need parental guidance: Both the natural and spiritual babes need to be guided for a balanced growth.
- Parental Love: Both of them need parental and practical love.
Summary Of Similarities:
- Physical Birth:
- Born into physical realm.
- Physical baby needs:
- Spiritual Birth:
- Born into spiritual realm. (John 3).
- Spirittual baby needs:
- Mature Christian as parents
- Bible: (The Word of God).
- Love and Fellowship.
What Is The Biblical Basis For The Care Of New Converts:
When the Lord gave the disciples the great Commission, He placed a high premium on the need to care for new converts; (Spiritual Babes); (Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 2:37-40; Acts 4:32-35; Acts 2:41-47). Even God, the Creator of the whole universe was paying visits to Adam at the cool of the day to follow up; (Genesis 3:8). We are to love, care, cherish them, nurture them, encourage them, give them attention, spend time with them, and build them up until they know how much we care; (1 Thessalonians 2:7-14). We are also to protect them from that evil one, satan the devil, from his deception and discouragement; (1 Samuel 17:34-36; Jeremiah 23:4). For you to be a good shepherd in following up new converts, you must possess the qualities of a good shepherd as enunciated in John 10:1-16.
Follow Up Methods & Attitudes:
- Intercede for them. (1 Thessalonians 5:18).
- Pay constant visits to him/her; be very close to them to them. (Romans 8:35-39).
- Counsel/advise them frequently.
- Develop atmosphere of loving concern. (Proverbs 17:17).
- Develop you relationship with them around Christ. (1 John 1:3).
- Be patient and persevering; (go on trying). (1 Thessalonians 2:1-7).
- Spend quality time together with them. (Proverbs 18:24).
- Be interested in more than just their spiritual life. Present gifts to them as as occasion necessitates within your ability.
- Remember what they tell you.
- Keep their secrets secret.
- Be a leader as well as a friend.
- Be a model of Christ; (likeness of them that live a godly life). (John 14:28).
- Let your motive be right in all your dealings with them.
Some Qualifications of A Follow Up Worker:
- Salvation: You must be born again with a relationship with Christ. (John 3:3-5; John 15:5-6).
- You must be mature and spiritually healthy; (This has nothing to do with age). (Ephesians 6:10).
- You must have knowledge of the Word of God. (2 Timothy 2:15; Colossians 3:16).
- You must be prayerful. (Matthew 7:7; John 16:23-24).
- You must possess an irresistible passion for souls. (Proverbs 11:30).
- You must be filled with the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2).
There is need for self examination and repentance. Can you remember the number of souls (converts) given to you for follow up which you fail(ed) to visit? Have you ever requested for list of new converts you will like to visit? Jesus said, “… I was in the prison, I was hungry, and I was naked… Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of my brethren, ye have done it unto me”. (Matthew 25:31-40).