Connecting New Members

Tim Christoson

As church leaders, it is our responsibility to help give spiritual direction to new members. As explained in our last issue, we take time during our triannual new members class to provide people with clear directions for life’s journey. We draw their attention to our purpose statement—loving God, growing together, and serving others.

First, we suggest several biblical strategies for cultivating the believer’s love for God (Mark 12:30). Then, we explain how we intend to grow together. We’re after the kind of spiritual growth that took place among the first-century church, when “they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers” (Acts 2:42). Verse forty-four says this growth occurred as they were “together,” which points to our need for sharpening relationships. Here is how you can encourage the new members in your church to “grow together.”

PARTICIPATE IN AN ADULT BIBLE CLASS ON SUNDAYS
In our LifeStages classes, adults connect with others, learn God’s Word, and meet one another’s needs. If a new member plugs into an adult class, they will likely stick around long-term. If they don’t, they won’t. These classes, broken down by age group and marital status, make up the network within the church where a great deal of the church life occurs.

PARTNER WITH A MATURE CHRISTIAN FOR ONE-ON-ONE DISCIPLESHIP
We have structured our discipleship ministry to provide a sort of “big brother, big sister” approach to spiritual growth. New Christians need someone to show them the ropes of the Christian life—answering Bible questions, overcoming the old nature, and finding their way around the church. Paul’s desire for the converts in Colossæ was that they would be “…rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving” (Colossians 2:7).

SPEND DAILY TIME IN BIBLE STUDY AND PRAYER
Few matters are more critical to our long-term spiritual health than establishing the daily habit of time alone with God. We want to teach new members to study God’s Word on their own (2 Timothy 2:15) and to spend time in prayer  (Mark 1:35).

Spiritual growth may not be easy, but it’s not complicated! Three simple tasks—getting connected in a class, becoming grounded in the Word, and learning to spend time with God—will dramatically increase the odds of each new Christian going the distance!