Many of us have come to rely on GPS technology for finding our way to life’s destinations. Some of us, who don’t have this tool built into our dashboard or suction-cupped to our windshield, use the feature on our phones (while keeping both hands on the wheel, of course!). Others print driving directions from MapQuest. Does anyone still use those impossible-to-fold, accordion-style road maps?
Recently, in our new members class, which occurs every four months, we attempted to provide people with practical, turn-by-turn directions for moving forward in their spiritual growth. There are three main stops along this journey—loving God, growing together, and serving others. We want them to know more than just where to go. We want them to know how to get there!
First, consider the matter of loving God. Jesus said, “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment” (Mark 12:30). How might a new member demonstrate his or her love for God? We suggested the following ways:
PARTICIPATE IN THE SERVICES AND RESPOND TO GOD’S WORD
We discussed the importance of “not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together.” Our motto is, three to thrive—Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night. If new Christians will grow and be fruitful, they must attend church faithfully and then respond in obedience to God’s Word
(1 Thessalonians 2:13).
HONOR THE LORD WITH OUR TITHES AND OFFERINGS
The loyalty of our hearts follows the investment of our resources. Basic Christianity presumes expressing our love for God through giving to His work (2 Corinthians 8–9). The first-century churches practiced regular, weekly giving (1 Corinthians 16:1–2). As people learn to give, their faith deepens, and the Lord blesses their obedience.
ALLOW GOD TO CONFORM OUR LIVES TO JESUS CHRIST
As this world proceeds in its all-out attempt to press people into its mold (Romans 12:2), Christians are called to be molded into the likeness of their Saviour (Romans 8:29). We help people anticipate this lifelong process of sanctification. A transformed life is inherent with being a “new creature” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
We try to point the light down the road ahead for each new member, and loving God is where it all begins! We’ll discuss the remaining two purposes in following articles.