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Thoughts on Growing New Believers (Part 2)

August 27 2015 By
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In Part 1 of this series we asked the question, “Do we want a new believer to become like the ‘typical’ member of this congregation?” If the answer is no, then arrangements need to be put in place to impart Biblical values to new believers.

Ideally, we should be able to place new believers into a congregational environment and have healthy spiritual growth with Biblical values and convictions.

Shouldn't a new believer have the “right” to assume that older Christians have Biblical values and convictions? Are you satisfied with the spiritual values and convictions of the congregation you are associated with? In many cases the answer would be “no.”

When a newer believer is simply placed in the congregation without personal mentoring, that believer will probably feel “free to adopt” the spiritual values and convictions of that congregation. Why should we expect otherwise? Would I expect my child to acquire acceptable values and convictions if I allow him or her to associate with children whose values and convictions are unacceptable, yet I don’t object? By not saying anything to the contrary, I am conveying to my child that the association meets my approval?

We should not expect the newer believer to understand much about the Christian walk. It is only natural for newer believers to be mainly concerned with doing the right things, which means their focus is on external behavior.

As stated previously, a newer believer should be able to make the assumption that if he or she behaves like “older” Christians, then logically they'll be behaving in an acceptable Biblical fashion, since those older Christians have “obviously” styled their behavior on Biblical patterns. Right? NOT!

Unfortunately, many older Christians have adopted their behavior from previous older Christians who they similarly “assumed” to be spiritual. And so one generation follows the next. Unwittingly, many Christian leaders are “conveying” approval of this natural human process, by not insuring that each new believer is personally helped through the first formative and critical period of the Christian walk.

While it is totally natural for new believers to begin their Christian walk focusing on “external behavior”, we believe it is God’s purpose for those believers to quickly begin to focus on living by “Biblical principles.”

Probably more than 90% of typical daily external behavior is not addressed specifically in the Bible. The typical Christian will not “transition” from focusing on external behavior to focusing on Biblical principles, unless another Christian is willing to put the time and energy into helping them to understand God’s purposes and His process for producing spiritual growth.

Next we''l look at several examples of adopting “external behavior” patterns.

Last modified on Thursday, 27 August 2015 16:49

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