The Barna Research Group conducted a study and found that many make the decision to become Christians, but most of those new Christians will walk out the back door of the church within 8 – 12 weeks. Why? Notice that Barna didn’t say that some new converts will walk out the back door—not even half—but most. The sobering reality of that research hits home as I think about those that I led or helped lead to Christ, only to let them fend for themselves in their new-found faith. The truth is…I didn’t know any better.
How about you? If you were given a new believer to disciple, would you know exactly what to do to maximize the chances that they would reach maturity in Christ? Do you know how to care for new believers in such a way that helps them grow in their faith and relationship with the Lord?
I’m happy—and a bit relieved—to be able to respond to those questions with a resounding and confident yes. Not because I thought of it on my own, but because someone introduced me to a discipleship process call First Steps. First Steps utilizes one-on-one relationships and an easy-to-use workbook to guide the discipleship process, taking one hour a week for 10 – 12 weeks, I can equip a new believer with the tools and spiritual disciplines they’ll use for the rest of their lives. It lays a foundation that deepens their faith, draws them into a vibrant relationship with Jesus and engages them in the life of their church right away.
There are a treasure trove of discipleship materials and programs, and it helps to understand what works best for whom. What distinguishes First Steps is that it’s designed for new believers and those who have never engaged their faith (casual Christians), and anyone can do it because it’s one-on-one, meaning that you don’t need special skills or training. Perhaps the most unique component of First Steps, though, is that once someone has been discipled, they can then disciple someone else, meaning that it perpetuates on-the-ground ministry for any and everyone in your church.