How can I help new believers?
Question: "How can I help new believers?"
Answer: Nothing is more exciting than seeing someone come to faith in Christ. Seeing God open closed hearts and illuminate dark minds is a rewarding part of belonging to His spiritual family. But just as important as new believers coming to faith in Christ is the growth that must follow that new birth (John 3:3; 2 Peter 3:18). Newborn babies are not left alone and expected to thrive. They are welcomed by families who feed them, train them, and help them grow. So it is in God’s family. When new believers join us, it is our responsibility to feed them, train them, and help them grow.
The Bible places a premium on spiritual growth: “Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation” (1 Peter 2:2). If babies do not get pure milk in the first year of life, they will not develop into healthy adults. Likewise, new believers need the basics before they can advance in their understanding of deeper spiritual truths. Churches should offer new believer classes, life groups, and other opportunities for Christian fellowship. In this age of increasing biblical illiteracy, it is likely that a new believer is unfamiliar with many concepts more mature Christians take for granted.
Reading or listening to the book of Genesis is helpful for new believers. Without that foundation, there is little to build on. Christian friends can read Genesis together and meet for coffee once a week to discuss what they read. Many of the events and truths that occur later in the Bible have their roots in Genesis, so learning about the beginning of the world (Genesis 1—2), the first sin (Genesis 3), and God’s selection of Abraham as the father of the Jewish nation (Genesis 12) are critically important in understanding the ways that God later worked in human history.
Skipping to the New Testament, a new believer can read the book of Luke and then Acts. This combination gives new believers an overview of the life of Jesus and the beginnings of the church. Luke wrote both books, so there is a wonderful continuity between them. As a baby must have milk to grow, so new believers must have the Word of God. It is harmful to feed infants carbonated soft drinks instead of milk, and it is just as harmful to feed baby Christians inspirational tweets and self-help books instead of God’s Word. There is no substitute for the Word of God if new believers are to develop into strong, healthy Christians.
As supplements to the reading of God’s Word, other books, videos, and podcasts can be a helpful way for new believers to partake of biblical teaching throughout the week. The first Christians “devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer” (Acts 2:42). The early church grew rapidly because every new member was committed to growing and learning. They immersed themselves in teaching and preaching, fellowship with other believers, and prayer. It has never been easier for Christians to immerse ourselves in truth with the proliferation of good Bible teachers online.
Another way to help new believers is to guide them toward trustworthy Bible teachers and away from false teachers and charlatans who would fleece the flock. Religious frauds often “masquerade as servants of righteousness” (2 Corinthians 11:15), and it can be difficult for a new believer to distinguish truth from error. Help out new believers by warning them of deceivers and teaching them how to spot the deception. Also, actively promote books, websites, and ministries that are clearly committed to the Word of God.
Sites such as this one can be helpful in answering the many questions new believers have. Depending on the age of the new believers, our sister sites may be equally valuable:
A godly couple, Priscilla and her husband Aquila, helped Apollos get his doctrine straight (Acts 18:25–26). Apollos was full of talent and zeal but short on accuracy, having only a partial message. Seeing his potential as a powerhouse for the gospel, this wise couple took him aside and explained things more thoroughly without squelching his enthusiasm. Baby Christians are often ready to go out and conquer the world for Christ but may lack the tools necessary to endure. Mature Christians can help them pace themselves as they learn faithfulness in little things (Luke 16:10). New Christians must learn obedience before responsibility, integrity before position, and a servant’s heart before leadership. Probably the best way to help new believers grow is to model growth ourselves (1 Corinthians 11:1).
Recommended Resource: The New Christian’s Handbook: Everything Believers Need to Know by Max Anders
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