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FOLLOW UP: DEVELOPING DISCIPLES OF CHRIST Print E-mail
Written by Kevin L. Howard   

(This is a modified newsletter sent to our church body.  Perhaps you will find it useful.)

 

Rescuing someone from drowning is better than leaving him to sink, even if you don't know CPR.  The same is true when it comes to telling people about Jesus.  Better to lead someone to Christ than to say nothing because you don't know how to help him grow if he believes in Jesus. 

 

Many Baptists readily embrace evangelism but fewer seem to grasp the importance of the follow-up process.  (By "follow up," I mean helping people grow in their new relationship with Christ...commonly called "discipleship")  Southern Baptists have typically evangelized better than they've discipled.  Although there are folks at our church who care deeply about follow-up (discipleship), we can make it more of a priority. 

 

If one of your friends comes to Christ, you will serve as the most effective tool in helping him grow in his faith.  You are a major part of God's plan to help new believers grow spiritually.  In fact, follow up will be a failure if you, the members, don't carry the load.  As a church family, we want to pull drowning people from the water, but we also want to help them start breathing again. 

 

In the coming days, I'll be occasionally passing on contact information to small groups, especially after big outreach events.  We need people to follow up with those who trust Christ or rededicate their lives.  The more you can involve other people in your small group, the better. 

 

The people who participate in follow up will first want to pray for those they're going to contact.  Then, they should call as many people, who made a decision, as they can.  Contacting people soon after they come closer to Christ is important, so once you receive a contact card from me, please make calling them a top priority. 

 

Here are a few things to consider in your phone call:

 

  • Try to establish rapport with them and give them a chance to talk about themselves after you've identified yourself.

 

  • Avoid giving people a false sense of assurance just because they prayed a prayer.  We want to develop true disciples, not give people fire insurance.  But do encourage them in their faith if you sense they're a believer. 

 

  • Ask if they know about any of the events in your small group or department.  Then give times and locations.

 

  • Consider inviting them to eat a meal with your family some time soon.

 

Again, contacting a person as soon as possible after he makes a decision for Christ can't be over emphasized.  The first contact should take place within 24 hours of a person's decision.  If we wait several days before calling them, we've already decreased our chances of reaching them long term. 

 

Evangelism is great, but if the follow up isn't there, God will hold us responsible for not fulfilling the great commission "...teaching them to obey all the commands" (Matthew 28:20). Since Satan is going about as a roaring lion seeking whom he can devour (1 Peter 5:8), you and I should be just as vigilant to help people become true followers of Christ.

 
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