How to Disciple a New Christian
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Do you know someone new to faith in Christ? Congratulations! You have been given an exciting, life-changing opportunity to disciple a new Christian. As a new believer in in Christ, they need people around them to teach, encourage, and pray for them as they begin their walk with God.
That’s where you come in! You can help new Christians learn how to follow Jesus in their everyday lives. Read below for some steps on how to disciple someone.
Disciple New Believers by Reminding Them That God Loves Them
Whenever you spend time with a new believer, remind them of the basics of the Gospel. God loves them! Jesus took their place on the cross, died, conquered death, and rose again so that we can be in relationship with God forever – in this life and eternally in heaven.
New Christians may be events in their past that bring them shame, guilt, pain, or brokenness. These experiences can lead new believers to wonder things like:
- Am I too broken for God?
- Can Jesus really forgive me for (insert sin here)?
- Am I really saved? Did I do enough to be saved?
These questions are normal. We can help new Christians be helping them be confident in their salvation. No one is too broken, too guilty, or too far away for God to heal, forgive, and bring into relationship with Him. Remind new believers of this truth often as they learn what it means to be saved by grace.
Related Post: How to Explain the Gospel Using Just One Verse
Disciple New Christians Through Prayer
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.-1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Prayer is a lifeline for all of us, and is a vital part of Christian life. Our God is all-powerful yet He makes Himself approachable. Isn’t that amazing?! Those who are new to faith will be blessed by an early understanding of the importance of prayer!
First, teach them how to pray. Prayer is simply talking to God and having closeness with Him. God wants to share in every part of our lives, so we can pray continuously throughout the day. Share If you have a system that works for you, feel free to teach that and other systems that you know about. What works for you may not work for them. Encourage them to use whatever process works for them.
Help new believers find a time in their daily life to commit to focused prayer time. For some, morning works best. For others, based on their work or family schedule, later in the day is best to spend a longer amount of time in prayer and Bible study. As they begin to develop a new prayer habit, the key is to find a time they feel is attainable to do consistently.
Finally, pray with them and for them. Lead by example and pray while you’re with them. If they’re not yet comfortable praying out loud, that’s okay. Pray as you would normally pray and include a prayer for them and their walk with God. Add them to your prayer list and pray for them throughout your week.
Related Post: 11 Bible Verses Christians Should Know About Prayer
Teach Brand-New Christians How to Study the Bible
The best way to learn about God, His promises, and His commands is by reading His Word. The Bible can look overwhelming to a new Christian, and many will start at the very beginning just like any other book. While this may work for some, others need to start in other books of the Bible to get in a good habit of Bible reading. Some great books of the Bible for new Christians to read first are any of the Gospels (for example, Matthew or John). Next, suggest some of Paul’s shorter letters like Galatians or Philippians. At any time, someone who is just starting to read the Bible can begin reading a Psalm and/or a Proverb each day.
Studying scripture means more than just reading it. Bible study includes meditating on the Word and letting it change you and how you live your daily life. One Bible study method you can teach new beginners is S.O.A.P, which stands for:
- Scripture (reading and writing scripture)
- Observation (What stands out to you in these verses? What is the context?)
- Application (What is God telling you in this Bible passage? How can you apply this Word in your life?)
- Prayer (Talk to God about what you’ve learned in these verses)
Encourage them to find a time daily to spend studying God’s Word, but also give them grace as they are developing a new habit and skill. It takes time, and even more mature Christians can struggle to have consistent quiet time with God.
Related Post: 10 Bible Verses Every New Christian Should Know
Help New Believers Find a Church Community
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.-Hebrews 10:24-25
It is vitally important for all of us, especially new Christians, to find a faith community where we can worship and grow. Help new believers find a church where they will be supported, ask questions, and can be authentic as they grow in their faith.
Encourage them to visit a church more than once before making a decision. Remember, the church where they are comfortable may be different than your own church. That’s okay! Maybe they have been hurt in a church before and need a community that doesn’t remind them of their past pain. Perhaps they are in a different season of life and need to consider children, teens, and work schedules. They may have a strong preference on worship or teaching style. Or, they may just believe the Holy Spirit isn’t calling them to a certain church that you had in mind.
We need to set our personal preferences aside and help them discern where the Spirit is leading them. The main goal is to help them find an authentic community that loves God, His Word, and His people.
Disciple New Christians Through Repentance, Forgiveness, and Healing
We all have brokenness in our lives. Everyone new to faith will have past hurt, regrets, and broken relationships.
Remind them that no one is too broken for God’s healing. Jesus wants to walk alongside them, comfort them, and guide their path toward wholeness. It may not be an overnight change! But each new believer needs to spend time with God and His Word to address their brokenness.
We can have brokenness because of something we’ve done. Sin, mistakes, guilt, regrets. This is why the Gospel is so powerful! Remind new Christians that Jesus took our sin. He carried our guilt to the cross in our place. We don’t have to carry our regrets any more! Jesus paid for all of it. Help them spend time in prayer to repent of their sin and praise God for redeeming their lives and giving them a fresh start.
We can also have brokenness because of something done to us. Maybe someone has hurt us, or perhaps we’ve had traumatic circumstances happen outside of anyone’s control. The painful emotions of grief, rejection, and sadness are real. Yet through prayer, God’s Word, and a supportive faith community, God can bring us out of pain and into hope. Be available to those who are hurting, and help them get the support and resources they need to heal.
Another way new believers can need healing is in broken relationships. With compassion, show them the importance of forgiveness. This can be a difficult process, but forgiveness is about trusting God and His command to forgive those who have wronged us. Forgiving others frees us.
Offer Resources to Help New Believers Grow Their Faith
Spiritual growth for new Christians is vital. When someone is new to faith, they are often very eager to learn as much as possible. Use their excitement as an opportunity to share resources with them!
Give them devotionals for new Christians, Bible studies, prayer journals, or books that have helped you on your faith journey. The most important thing, however, is to offer resources that point them back to God’s Word.
The most important resource for new Christians is the Bible! Keep encouraging them to make the Bible their foundation, and other resources as secondary.
Be Authentic With People New to Faith
As new believers navigate their new life in Christ, they will inevitably make mistakes. They may experience doubts. And, like with all of us, hard times will still happen.
Surprise! Life isn’t suddenly perfect once you become a Christian!
When these things happen — reverting back to old habits, difficult circumstances, questioning faith — be a person they can be open with. Listen to them, and then be authentic to share when you’ve had these same experiences. You’re not perfect, just like them. You’re on a journey of spiritual growth, just like them. You sin, doubt, and have to endure hard times just like them.
As a new believer, this is reassuring to hear! They are not rejected by God. Their salvation isn’t suddenly invalid. They aren’t alone in their struggles.
As you share your struggles, point to Jesus. In those difficult times, Jesus changed your story! He’s given you hope, grace, wisdom, and He has walked alongside you through all of it. You are never alone.
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