New believers are excited, forgiven, renewed, energized, and fragile. Like any new life, seedlings or infants, New Christians are genuinely alive for the first time since their natural birth – born again. There are life-changing emotions that you never felt before, at least not the way you feel them now: love, peace, freedom, forgiveness, and family. It’s all new. New is good, and a little intimidating.
“Here’s a book to read.” – You accept the nice gift that’s four times the size of a Harry Potter novel. “Um, thank you.”
“Here’s your new family!” – You glance around the room and think, “I have 2 grandmas, a bald father, a crying baby sister, and an ancient uncle.” Oh well, more family means more food at the reunion.
“Here’s your schedule.” – Sunday morning. Sunday night. Wednesday night. Every other Thursday at 7 pm. Teens meet on Monday. There are 14 New Members classes, 11 Sunday School groups; everything from Bible 101 to something called “MOPS.”
You begin to wonder – Was this a good idea?
YES, it’s the best decision you’ve ever made! God’s been waiting your whole life for you to make it. Welcome to the family of God.
Like any newborn, everything looks, well… new. Churches can be a little overwhelming especially at first. They’re happy you gave your heart to Christ. Like any family, they’re excited you’re here. This isn’t new to them, but it’s the first time for you, so we thought you might like a few tips and ideas on how to be successful in your New Believer’s life.
A Few New Believer Tips
Let’s start with the church – you need one. There is no perfect church so find a Healthy Church. Churches are filled with imperfect people. You will quickly discover those imperfections, and people will discover some of yours. Good news – you’re family. The good thing about family is, they accept you – warts and all.
Next – one step at a time. Your walk is not a sprint, it’s a life journey. It’s a road trip, not a pizza run. You will not become SuperChristian in 90 days. The church does not baptize people in miracle sauce. Poof! You’re perfect now. You are on a new path, toward a new destination. God expects progress, not perfection.
Last, you have a role to play. Your responsibility is simple and complex – like any newborn. New Believers need to focus on one thing. Grow into a healthy member of God’s family.
How? Good question. We sorted through a long list of possibilities and came up with eight that are real-life, not difficult, just right for a New Believer. Walk first, but don’t be content to walk.
- Read the new book. The Bible is your nutrition (Jeremiah 15:16; Psalm 119:103). It’s all natural and comes in nice little bite-size packages called verses. Have a few daily, and you’ll be amazed how much you can grow in a short time. Ask your church if they have New Believer’s Bibles. Many churches will provide one. Often, it will be the version they use in most of their services and classes so you can follow along. Bring it with you every time you attend, but don’t just eat out.
- You need nutrition daily, not just on Sunday. Set aside 5 minutes each day to read the Bible. Start with the New Testament book of John. You may use a “verse of the day” app. It’s a great way to begin. God’s Word will change you, bless you and give you the spiritual food you need to grow (Psalm 119:105).
- Participate. Join a life group. Churches use various names: small group, discipleship group, house church, and others. They are simply a way to create community and personal growth. Some of that happens in a couple hours on Sunday, but most of your Christian life happens in the other 112 hours of the week when you’re not sleeping.
- Ask questions. Simple ones, deeper ones, it doesn’t matter, just ask. You want to know more about living a Christian life, God has the answers. You will have a question, get it answered and then another one will arise. That’s normal. New ones will arise, and some you thought were settled may be challenged, and you need to ask them again. Begin with the most basic questions. Ask them in your small group where it’s less intimidating. More than likely, others have had the same question. God can use your question to help grow several people, not just you.
- Join a small group. Some churches call them Discipleship Groups, some Life Groups; the name doesn’t matter, the connections do. Big churches become smaller, small churches become intimate, and all churches become more personal when you know people and create a community to share life with. In some churches, the groups are built around various interests and commonalities – people who have toddlers, people who play tennis, people who want to do a Bible study, and some who want to go through a book by a contemporary Christian writer. Some just want to get together and build friendships and extend their family. No matter which, join.
- Give. You knew it was coming so you might as well read it. Where you money goes, is where your heart goes. Your giving has nothing to do with the light bills or the church staff salaries. You are not giving to the church, you are giving to God. Line up your bills on the floor. Put a piece of paper with the word “offering” on it, where you would put that in the list of payments you make every month. Where would it go? Last? Ok, then it’s last. I would encourage you to put it first. Here’s why. If you give to God first, you open the door for His blessing on everything after it. How many of your bills and finances do you want God to bless? Move His portion ahead of that item. Imagine if God could bless all your finances. Could He do a better job? If you do that one simple thing – write the check (who uses those?) give online, put cash in the box or plate or wherever. If it’s the first thing you do, now you’ve opened the door for God to pour out blessing on everything else (Malachi 3:10). Give your heart first, the money is far easier. Cascading power of God across all your finances? Yes, that would be a good thing.
- Serve. Shake hands with people as they walk in the door. If it’s a larger church, they may need people to help direct traffic and park cars. You may love kids, and if you do, churches would love to know about it. Larger churches get a bad rap sometimes, but one good thing they offer is more places to become involved and serve. 90% of what churches get accomplished is done by volunteers. God blesses every kind of giving and this is one of the most important gifts you can offer – your service.
- Make friends. Deliberately and honestly reach out to people and make an effort to find people like you and connect beyond a small group. Go to dinner. Set up a play-date for the kids. Swim, fish, shop, go on a turkey hunt. If you don’t know who to talk to, ask someone who looks like they know what they’re doing – someone at the door, an usher, a children’s worker. This is your spiritual LIFE. It’s worth the effort to connect with people who prioritize their spiritual life too.
There are more ways to become a strong, growing, healthy Christian and get the most out of your church. Attend regularly, bring a friend, speak well of your pastor, don’t gossip, and many more but we’ll stop at eight. Have an open heart and God will help you develop a list that meets your personal needs and allows you to bless others.
Want to have some New Believer fun? Ask the pastor what a new Christian should do. After you pick him up off the floor, ask again. And then …try it.
This is truly the most important decision you’ve ever made. This choice to become a follower of Christ – a believer – is the most significant moment in your eternal life. We ask all New Believers to work on the list above, but also have a goal that drives you to continue growing 10 years from now.
Be ALL IN.
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