We want to live as catalyzed disciples making disciples (who then make disciples). As we seek to build relationships, share the gospel, and see people come to a saving faith in Christ, new believers are made. But then, we ask: now what?
Finding the next step after someone receives salvation can seem harder than it should be. We know we want to plug them into a church, but we also know growth takes intentionality. Sometimes, we are the ones providing this intentionality through mentoring a new, younger believer.
How should we disciple them?
We can keep these three tips in mind as we pray for the Lord to keep doing His work and as we keep doing our discipleship part.
1. Trust them with remembering.
Remembering what it was like when we first believed or were freshly growing in our faith can help get us into the discipleship mindset. If we start by sharing our story, it can help them open up about their life and show (potentially unexpected) areas where you can relate. But we must remind them to ultimately remember this: no matter if the road feels all uphill or if life seems like a series of successes: it is Christ who is ultimately at work both in and through us (Philippians 2:13). He is the One who will form us into the disciples He’s calling us to be, and it’s only through Him that we can keep living the Christian life (Romans 8:10). In discipleship conversations, urge them to remember this freeing reality that Christ is at work, can be depended on, and gives us all the strength we need—instead of us feeling overly guilty, frustrated, impatient, or prideful.
2. Teach them “but first.”
If we live our lives based only on what we’re feeling or how we react to situations we find ourselves in, we’re not always heading for a God-honoring existence. But, when we disciple, we need to equip others to do this: to renew their mind (Romans 12:2). Begin to show them practically how through the simple phrase: but first. When they are becoming discouraged, have them stop and tell themselves “but first.” Before they give into total discouragement, ask: “But first, what do I know about God?” or “But first, what is true?” or “But first, what would the Bible have to say in this situation?” This simple tip to renew their mind can help them keep actively seeking Christ and His kingdom.
3. Turn them to mission.
As a new believer, it is tempting to get hyper-focused on “my personal relationship with Jesus.” This is hugely important! However, we can forget the next step: taking action to live like Jesus lived. And what do we find Him doing? He was about His Father’s business, and He loved, sacrificed, and served. We, too, then, should make sure that we and those we disciple are plugged into loving service. As you engage with discipleship conversations, challenge the new believer to find ways to get involved in giving. This could be at their church or simply in relationships they already have. Ask them to think about ways to invest in the community around them and then make sure you follow up in a cadence of accountability.
One conversation at a time, we disciple. And we can keep finding out how to do so better. If you’re looking for more tips and a resource that can further guide you in how to disciple, especially around foundations of faith, try My New Life. This Bible study will walk through: understanding the gospel, knowing God, following Jesus, connecting to God’s family, joining God on mission, and more!
No matter the resources and tips that aid you in your journey, remember to not give up. This is eternal work.
DEBORAH SPOONER is a Marketing Strategist for Lifeway’s Groups Ministry. As a pastor’s kid with a background in Digital Communications and Media and Biblical & Theological Studies, you can find her talking about Jesus at her church’s Student Ministry, reading way too many books at once, and seeking to know Christ and make Him known.