Church Leadership
Five Simple Steps to Mentor New Believers (Without Overworking the Pastor)
Small churches can use our personal touch to help new believers grow in the way that suits them best.
  • What was their family like, growing up?
  • How did they like school?
  • Do they like to read?
  • Are they a hands-on learner?
  • Are they relationship-oriented?
  • What do they do in their spare time?
  • What was their best learning experience in the past?
  • Their worst?
  • Who was their favorite teacher and why?

Simply put, I get nosy until I feel like I have a handle on things.

Then I suggest an idea or two and ask if that sounds like something that might work for them. I also give them a guilt-free out. If the selected style of learning doesn’t work for them, they can come to me at any time and we’ll find another way to get it done.

3. Connect Them With a Mature Believer and the Right Resources

Right now there are a handful of new believers in our church who meet regularly with mature believers to learn, grow and be discipled. Each one of them does it differently, depending on their circumstance.

One of those discipleship/mentoring relationships is between two people who enjoy book clubs. So I recommend a good Christian book for them to read, then they meet once a week to talk about it. Every few weeks I take a moment after the Sunday service to hear how they’re doing. When they finish reading one book, I recommend the next one. They’re both growing in their relationships with Jesus and each other.

4. Help Them Plug Into An Active Ministry That Utilizes Their Gifts

We fill people’s heads with Bible knowledge, but we wait too long to activate that knowledge within real-world ministry.

This is the most-neglected step of most new believer programs. We fill people’s heads with Bible knowledge, but we wait too long to activate that knowledge within real-world ministry. That is dangerous. For the believer and the church.

The longer I pastor, the more convinced I am that one of the main reasons for pastoral stress is church members with a lot of Bible knowledge and/or pew time who are doing little, if any, practical, hands-on, outside-the-church-walls ministry.

The Apostle Paul taught us that, “knowledge puffs up, but love builds up” (1 Cor 8:1). That’s what happens when we cram bible knowledge into people’s heads without helping them activate it with their hands and feet.

It’s never the new believers that burn out the pastor. It’s the pew-warmers who think they know how to run the church, but never lift a finger to help. Then they leave because they’re “not being fed”.

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August 28, 2015 at 6:11 AM

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