Raise The Sails: Train believers
When a person accepts Christ, our work is only just beginning. The first few years — and even the first 24 hours — are vital in establishing a new believer’s walk with the Lord. The process of helping a new believer grow in his faith is training or “follow-up.” During this time, new believers can begin to grow in maturity and learn to become multiplying disciples — Christians who help others come to Christ and grow in their new faith.
Something To Talk About:
- You need to be trained: We believe that transformed individuals transform the world. Living things grow. If there are no signs of growth, we don’t consider them alive. All believers are defined by a common desire—a desire to grow in the understanding of Christ and His Word. This is why we invest in resources that will equip believers and the local Church in hostile nations. We believe the most effective way to reach the nation with the gospel is to empower local bodies of believers to be the hands and feet of God in their communities. Understanding their own culture and people better than anyone else, these believers are able to communicate the gospel in a way that is relevant and practical within their community. But before they can share the Word of God with those around them, they must know it themselves. 1 Timothy 4:7 says, “Do not waste time arguing over godless ideas and old wives’ tales. Instead, train yourself to be godly. “Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.” This desire for a deeper, growing knowledge of Christ is so basic that Peter compares it to an infant’s natural desire to be nourished by his mother’s milk (1 Peter 2:2–3). First, we need to be trained.
- Train trustworthy people: It make sense that we train people that are trustworthy. Paul uses Timothy as an example of this: “You know the kind of person Timothy is. You know he has served with me in telling the Good News, as a son serves his father” (Philippians 2:22 NCV). Paul had seen Timothy in action, in all kinds of circumstances, and Paul considered him genuine, trustworthy, and reliable. Another translation of Philippians 2:22 says, “You know what kind of person Timothy proved to be” (GW). That is the type of person we should train. In order to be trusted to disciple the next generation of believers we need to be trustworthy. It doesn’t mean you’re perfect. It means what you see is what you get. You are the real deal, because your actions match your words and you keep your promises.
- The trained become the trainers: This is the shift from merely reaching people to training disciples who in turn are equipped to go and make more disciples. Training has to do with discipline in all kinds of education so that people can become model citizens. Much like well-rounded educational training, growing in godliness and obedience take persistence and practice. We are not instantly fully developed followers of Christ when we first believe in Him. Believers who train believers is to define discipleship in a biblical, simple yet challenging way. It’s moving from educating to modeling: to walk alongside others by teaching them about Jesus and by demonstrating, through the work of the church, what it means to serve Him. Training believers involves continued learning together, growing together, and increasingly understanding what God has done in sending Jesus to die for our sin and calling us to serve Him. All who follow Jesus share in this task.
- Everybody is enrolled in God’s training school: Agree or disagree and why?
- What is my role in God’s training program for myself and for others?
- God’s training program goes on for a lifetime: What does that mean for each one of us and other believers?
- God’s training program requires us to not only share information but also to create an environment for learning where God can transform us into the people God wants us to be: Agree or disagree and why?
- How has Jesus used community to help you grow and mature in your walk with Him?
- What are the advantages to walking through life with people who are different than you in personality, past experiences, interests, etc.?
- What do you believe that God is telling you to do as a result of what you heard and discussed in small groups this week?
- Determine one concrete step you can take this week.
Take one thing home with you:
Do disciples make disciples? Based on the Great Commission in Matthew 28:19, Jesus basically settles the debate. Yes, disciples make disciples. We seek to make disciples as part of God’s larger work of redemption. This should both encourage us, motivate us, and remind us that the work of making disciples is not the mission of a few committed “disciple-makers,” it is the calling for all those who call Jesus “Lord,” and thus something we should all strive to grow in.