Newborn babies, besides being incredibly cute, are also incredibly vulnerable and needy. They need to be cared for, including being fed and having their diaper changed multiple times every day. They cannot survive without loving and personal care.
New believers are also incredibly vulnerable. They need to be fed the milk of God’s Word. They will struggle to thrive in their new life without loving spiritual care. That is why your ministry should have a clear strategy to ensure every new believer goes through some type of follow-up. So, what is your plan for follow-up? I want to ask you to consider setting up a 3-part strategy.
- Commit to Follow-up Every New Believer
The last command Jesus gave to his disciples was to go and make disciples. This would mean that first you are committed to share the gospel with people, and then He lays out the plan in more detail, “teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you”, Matthew 28:18-20. It may seem obvious to say we must “commit to follow-up every new believer,” but in my experience, this rarely happens. This first step is the most vital, and therefore we must tell ourselves, “WE WILL FOLLOW-UP EVERY BELIEVER!!” Would you make this a conviction of yours?
- Engage Your Follow-up Army
You are busy and the last thing you need as the leader is another meeting. Therefore, once that commitment is made, it comes down to WHO will do it. Adult leaders should be involved in the follow-up process, but have you considered the “army” of students who could be engaged? Consider a follow-up plan that gets your Christian students involved. Doesn’t it make sense to involve students who are leaders, especially if they led their friend to Christ? Who better to teach a student than a student? Mobilize them, equip them, and get them into the game. We are not suggesting that you just give your student a follow-up book to go through with a friend and turn them loose. Instead, you should equip them. Follow this 4-step process with each student and you will effectively train them.
- I teach, you watch. They see you go through follow-up with a student.
- I teach, you help. Next, they assist you as you go through follow-up with a student. Let them watch you for a couple weeks and then you have them help you for the next few weeks.
- You teach, I help. Then, they are the one teaching for a couple weeks as you help them and give input.
- You teach, I watch. Lastly, they teach, and you watch them. Follow up with some positive feedback.
Having students equipped to carry out follow-up gives you the maximum flexibility to get it done. Students do life together which means they can do it before or after practice, during lunch, on weekends, over the phone, in a video chat or before and after youth group. Involving students in this process will help you develop disciple-makers.
- Have a Follow-up Plan
Follow-up is not just teaching content. It is the process of helping the new believer become a doer of the Word (James 1:22). They need to understand that eternal life lasts forever, how to share Jesus with their friends, and how to develop a meaningful relationship with the Lord. In next week’s article we will go into detail on some key topics that every believer needs to be grounded in.
John is the Director of Word of Life Youth Ministries. He and his wife Pam have served with Word of Life for over 33 years in several regions including Southern California and North East Pennsylvania. They currently live in upstate NY where John has been serving in his current role since November, 2014.