Discipling New Converts – I Thessalonians 2:1-11

by Pastor John Fredericksen

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It was this author’s privilege to be saved through the ministry of a vibrant and growing church. This church had what they called a “Timothy Program.” Whenever someone was led to Christ, a seasoned Christian was assigned to the new believer. They attempted to meet weekly with the new convert over a meal to establish a relationship, and then to guide this new Christian through an organized Bible Study program that covered all the fundamentals of the faith. These new believers were invited to sit with other believers in church services, attend mid-week Bible studies, and invited into the homes of mature believers. Not surprisingly, the results were phenomenal.

Quite often when Christians lead a lost soul to a saving knowledge of Christ, we simply cease ministering to them. But we must not forget to genuinely attempt to continue ministering to them in an effective way that will ground them in truth, establish them in the faith, and encourage them to grow in Christ. The ministry of the Apostle Paul with those at Thessalonica is a shining example of effective follow-up and discipleship. Paul told them he had been “gentle among you” (I Thessalonians 2:7). Just as one would be gentle with a newborn, we must be gentle with babes in Christ. It doesn’t work to try to force spiritual food down their throat or be demanding with requirements. Instead, Paul slayed his converts with love. He could tell those at Thessalonica he was “affectionately desirous of you” (vs. 8). Most people can tell when you genuinely love them, and they will usually respond well. Paul also was willingly sacrificial, or giving, to his converts. He told them “we were willing to have imparted unto you…also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us” (vs. 8). Caring enough to buy a meal or a Bible can have a great impact. Paul also provided a good example in his work ethic (vs. 9) and in godliness. He could tell them to remember his “laboring night and day…and…how holily and justly and unblameably we behaved ourselves among you that believe” (vss. 9-10). People will be turned off by a phony Christian, but everyone appreciates and respects a genuine Christ-like example that they can emulate. Finally, Paul encouraged his converts with exhortation, comfort, firm instruction, and pleas to truly walk worthy of the Savior who died for them (vss. 11-12).

Seize the opportunity to mentor a new believer whenever possible. Do so by practicing the principles for follow-up seen in Paul.

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Start each day with short, devotional articles taken from the book Daily Transformation by Pastor John Fredericksen. As Pastor Fredericksen writes in the introduction:

"We welcome you, as you journey with us..., to not only learn information, but to benefit from examples of faith and failure, and seek to apply God’s Word to every day life. Together, let’s transition from only studying theories of doctrine, to applying God’s truths in a practical way every day. May God use these studies to help you find daily transformation."