You face one of the most important opportunities of any ministry – touching the lives of people. You have the extremely gratifying privilege of helping to establish a new Christian’s faith in Jesus Christ. You will have the joy of helping this person begin growing toward maturity and fruitfulness in Christ. This was Paul’s great burden:
"…we teach everyone we can all that we know about Him, so that, if possible, we bring every man up to his full maturity in Christ. This is what I am working at all the time with all the strength that God gives me…" (Colossians 1:28, 29 Phillips).
What a comfort to remember that the same Holy Spirit who draws men and women to Christ is the only One who is truly capable of enabling anyone to grow to maturity in Christ. In both cases, He generally uses human instruments. You must be confident of His powerful workings in and through lives as you do your best in follow-up. Take the initiative in the power of the
Holy Spirit and always leave the results up to God.
The Goals of Follow-up
Effective follow-up means having a clear set of goals, a plan for accomplishing those goals, a warm relationship with the new Christian, and the assurance that God is in control of producing the growth. These materials are designed to be used in five separate sessions. They will help you communicate clearly and effectively the basic steps for beginning an exciting new life in Christ. The goals of these sessions are:
How to Set Up a Follow-up Appointment
These lessons can be used with anyone who wants to grow closer to God. The person may have just trusted Christ after you shared the Would You Like To Know God Personally? booklet, or the person may be a Christian interested in growth. To set up an appointment, begin by sharing a little of your own experience of receiving Christ. Tell how someone helped you, or how God enabled you to begin to grow in your relationship with Christ. Offer the person the same opportunity by meeting with you to learn more about Christ: “Could we meet again in a few days to go over some things that will help you grow in your new relationship with Christ?”
If the answer is yes, set up a convenient time and place. (You may prefer to arrange all five appointments now, or simply set them up one at a time depending on the person’s interest.)
If the answer is no, explain the Train Diagram from the Would You Like To Know God Personally? booklet.
After showing the “facts” part, ask if you can share a few more facts on which to base faith in Jesus Christ. Then briefly present the first follow-up sheet.
In any case, invite the person to an activity where Christians will be involved.
How to Establish and Maintain a Good Relationship With a New Christian
To develop good rapport with this person, follow these suggestions:
How to Conduct the Follow-up Sessions
Follow the simple plan below for each follow-up appointment. Use the follow-up sheet as a simple guide through the session. Additional information is provided for each lesson in the Session Plans on the next few pages.
FOCUS OF THE SESSION: You can be confident in your relationship with God because of Christ’s death on the cross and your trust in Him; God has made many promises to you based on this relationship.
PREPARATION: Bring a Bible and a Would You Like To Know God Personally? booklet as well as Follow-up Sheet
#1. Become familiar with Ephesians 2:8, 9; John 1:12; Revelation 3:20; Hebrews 13:5; Colossians 1:13, 14; 2 Corinthians 5:17; 1 John 5:11-13, and the Train Diagram. If you used a Four Spiritual Laws booklet to share with the person use that in this lesson instead.
ESTABLISH RAPPORT: Ask, “How are things going for you?” Talk for a few minutes about events in each other’s week.
TRANSITION TO TOPIC: Ask, “What have you been thinking about some of the things we talked about in our last meeting?” Answer any questions the person may raise. Lead a brief prayer, asking God’s help in making this time meaningful.
USING THE FOLLOW-UP SHEET: Introduce the sheet, “This sheet is a helpful tool to keep us both thinking about the same thing at the same time. We’ll work through it together.”
After reading through the introductory material and reviewing the Would You Like To Know God Personally? booklet, call attention to the key question. Accept the response to this question without attempting to evaluate their answer at this point. Then refer to the transition statement at the bottom of the page and go on to Point 1.
Read through the statements and the verses, focusing attention on the questions. Again, ask the person to respond to the key question and the question at the bottom of the page.
Read the information about the Train.
Read through the three review statements and the five truths to reflect on during the coming week. Explain what a daily time of Bible reading and prayer has meant to you.
Suggest that the new Christian begin a daily time of Bible reading and prayer. Rereading the references on the follow-up sheet or beginning to read the Gospel of John are good starting points. You may want to give the person a Follow-up Sheet #2 in preparation for your next meeting.
You may also want to:
FOCUS OF THE SESSION: You are forgiven through Christ’s death on the cross by placing your trust in Him (relationship). You can experience this love and forgiveness moment by moment (fellowship) as you deal with your sin.
PREPARATION: Read Romans 3:23; 1 John 1:6-8; 1 Peter 3:18; Colossians 2:13, 14; 1 John 1:9; Psalms 32:5; 103:12; and Isaiah 43:25. Be sure you are familiar with the distinction made in this session between relationship and fellowship, and that you are familiar with the material on confession.
ESTABLISH RAPPORT: Ask about something the person told you in a previous meeting: “How did your meeting with your advisor come out?” A personalized question such as this shows that you cared enough to listen and remember.
TRANSITION TO TOPIC: Recall the biblical truth the person selected at the last meeting. Ask, “What have you thought about that truth since the last time we got together?” Allow the person time to ask questions about last week’s discussion. Lead in prayer, thanking God for His many benefits.
USING THE FOLLOW-UP SHEET: Read the introductory material aloud, asking the two questions. After a brief look at the Relationship/Fellowship chart, ask if there are any questions. If so, look up the verses that are in parentheses. Use the question to make a transition into Point 1.
Focus on what sin is and how it affects both believers and unbelievers.
The person should be able to correctly answer the four questions:
The answer to the question, “How can you restore your fellowship with God?” is found in 1 John 1:9.
Reemphasize the “sin/forgiveness list” activity, pointing out that this is not something to do often, but simply a way to focus attention on how completely we are forgiven. Emphasize the importance of doing the list and promise to talk about how it went the next time you meet. Help the new Christian locate the three suggested passages and suggest using them during the daily time for Bible reading and prayer. Confirm the time and place of your next appointment.
FOCUS OF THE SESSION: The Holy Spirit is the source of power to live the Christian life and every believer can appropriate this power by faith.
PREPARATION: Read John 7:37-39; 2 Corinthians 3:17, 18; Romans 8:14-16; Galatians 5:22, 23; Acts 1:8, and the various references listed in parentheses on the sheet. Be familiar with the three kinds of people and reflect on your own walk in the Spirit.
ESTABLISH RAPPORT: By now you should know enough about each other to talk warmly about the events of the past week. Ask about the person’s experience making the sin/forgiveness list.
TRANSITION TO TOPIC: Share your own experience this week in confessing sin and turning your focus back to God. Lead in thanking God for His love and forgiveness.
USING THE FOLLOW-UP SHEET:
Read the introductory material on the front of the sheet.
In discussing the fruit of the Spirit, you may want to contrast God’s process of developing His qualities within people as opposed to the usual way people go about trying to self-improve.
If the person chooses either the natural or carnal circle, ask for a reason. Avoid trying to argue the person into changing, since Christ can only be placed in control of a life by that person’s own sincere desire. Share how walking with Christ has been meaningful to you.
Focus on the Heart Preparation section:
Be sure you recall the three factors involved in confession from last week’s session:
FOCUS OF THE SESSION: Growing in your relationship with God involves obedience in four areas of communication.
PREPARATION: Read Philippians 3:7-10; Psalm 139:17, 18; Matthew 22:36-38; 2 Timothy 3:16, 17; Philippians 4:6, 7; Hebrews 10:24, 25; 1 Peter 3:15; 2 Peter 1:5-9; and 1 Corinthians 3:6, 7. Be sure you know of an introductory Bible Study (e.g. Discovery Group) or other Christian group you can help this person become involved with.
ESTABLISH RAPPORT: Again, ask about things the person has already indicated are of interest and concern.
TRANSITION TO TOPIC: Ask if there was an opportunity to apply “spiritual breathing.” Ask if they have questions about being filled with the Spirit.
USING THE FOLLOW-UP SHEET: This session is crucial, for it is the springboard for the new Christian to become involved in four significant things:
It is important to proceed with sensitivity on these issues, avoid giving the feeling of a sudden avalanche of activities and responsibilities. If you sense four things are too much, too soon, focus on just one or two. A small group Bible study will provide continued growth and involvement with your ministry, which will lead to the other involvements if the person is not yet ready for them. If the person resists the Bible study, continue to develop your friendship and invite the person to various activities where relationships with Christians can be built. Going to church or a weekly meeting can provide fellowship and an atmosphere that encourages growth.
The person’s answers to the two questions will give the solid clues to the level of interest in pursuing growth opportunities.
In addition to asking the question, you might share some of your own experiences in the Word and in prayer.
Reflect an expectant attitude about what God will do in the person’s life. Emphasize that growth is usually a very gradual process.
Go through the three areas, observing the person’s response. If you sense hesitance, focus on involving the person in a Bible study. Invite him or her to accompany you in making a contact to go witnessing. Whatever the person’s level of commitment, conclude with a clear understanding of the importance of taking advantage of growth opportunities. Confirm the time and place of your next meeting.
(Note this series is designed to end either here on the fourth lesson or after the next session dealing with sexual purity. If you are using lesson five, set up the date, time, and place for that lesson. If you are ending after four lessons, make sure the person has a clear understanding of when and where you’ll meet next.)
FOCUS OF THE SESSION: God’s will is that you wait for marriage to experience physical intimacy. If you have not waited, there is forgiveness and a new start available in Christ. His commands are given with your best interest in mind.
PREPARATION: Read 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8; Hebrews 13:4; Psalm 51; Colossians 3:5-10; Daniel 1; John 4; and the various references listed on this sheet. Since this topic is very personal and prevalent today, prayerfully ask God to make you very sensitive to this person’s need.
ESTABLISH RAPPORT: Ask about things of interest or concern from last week. Inquire about a point of application.
TRANSITION TO TOPIC: Recall some of the changes the person expected to occur as God produced growth in their life (Point 3 from Session 4 “Growing in Your New Life”). Then ask, “Have you given any thought to how your relationship with God affects the way you relate to the opposite sex? Did you expect any changes in this area?”
USING THE FOLLOW-UP SHEET:
Our society places a strong emphasis on sexuality. Most people feel they have to live up to these unrealistic standards or, in other cases, mistakenly turn to sex in their search for intimacy. Like Paul, you will be helping this person “excel still more” in their walk with God as you help them understand what He has to say about physical intimacy (1 Thessalonians 4:1).
In using this sheet, there is a need to be vulnerable and transparent. Relate anything in your own life which might be helpful, but with discretion. Specifically, be willing to identify with the struggle and temptation in the moral area while choosing to be Spirit-filled. Remember, the more honest you are, the more responsive the person will be.
Even if a person has not sinned sexually they will learn why they should wait, how to restore fellowship with God if they do sin, and that God has our best interests in mind when He gives commands.
Be sure the person’s responses to the questions are correct. Clarify the key points if needed and emphasize the summary paragraph.
In addition to asking the question, emphasize God’s purpose for sex as highlighted under “provide.”
God created sex to deepen the level of trust and acceptance in a marriage relationship. This can provide lasting enjoyment and total fulfillment if it is used in the right context. That’s why the abuse of sex produces such enormous disappointments.
When we don’t follow God’s instruction, unwanted pregnancies, abortion, STDs, emotional guilt, loss of self respect, etc., are the eventual and inevitable results.
Even though a person may not have sinned sexually, emphasize that this point shows how to restore fellowship with God.
In order to share God’s perspective on sex with someone else, you need to be comfortable with your own sexuality. This means practicing God’s standards in your own life and experiencing His total forgiveness for yourself if you have ever struggled or fallen in the sexual area.
Two recommended resources:
— Tape by Josh McDowell “Clean Heart for a New Start”
— Book by Dick Purnell Free to Love Again
Go through the Scripture passages and questions on Daniel. Explain the cultural significance of Daniel not eating the meat offered to the pagan idols. Then relate it to the cultural significance today of choosing to wait to have sex.
If the person has had sex, emphasize that they can startwaiting today. God will bless their decision just as He blessed Daniel’s. Go through the four areas of application, highlighting the Scriptures mentioned.
Ask them if they want you to hold them accountable and set scheduled times and questions.
By the way, who is holding you accountable?
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