Quick, name everything you learned in the first couple of months after accepting Jesus as Lord! For me, it was all about the information, the facts; Bible knowledge. For others, it’s learning how to “behave” and drop bad habits. Still others just want to have a better moral compass. Where’s the personal relationship?
My wife and I joined a struggling church with the intention of making disciple-makers, using orality methods if possible. After two months, the pastor asked if I had identified an area to help them. (This church was rapidly declining.) We had prayed and said that we’d like to take every new church member and new believer within the past six months and train them. We were somewhat surprised when two Sunday School teachers walked in that first session! They said they taught the curriculum, but had never been discipled as a follower of Jesus. And, yes, there is a difference!
Bible Storying and orality methods bring serious advantages for the new believer–and those who train them. By using an inductive method — asking questions and listening — the trainer is able to listen for questions, non-biblical assumptions, and spiritual progress.
Since October 2014, I’ve been led of the Lord to review about 30 resources for new believers. Few talked about spiritual transformation and aligning with a biblical worldview. Some stunned me that they never addressed baptism (and these were mainly Baptist publications) or even the need to obey Jesus. Hey, that’s a basic in the Great Commission, right?! (Matthew 28:18-20)
So, here it is January 2015 and working through the Missouri Baptist Convention, I’ve put together a simple guide that can be used for one-on-one coaching or for a small group. If you’d like to review it, please write firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll let you use it for free, just promise to give me feedback!
The main five areas that are addressed included abiding in Jesus, obedience, God’s Word, the Great Commandment, and the Great Commission. Those engaged in Storying are already used to asking smart questions, so they’ll get it right away.
Last weekend, I led a training course for Decision Counselors and Follow-up. It was exhilarating. So many said, “Why are we not discipling new believers?”