When I became a believer as a preteen, I didn’t have someone to walk me through the basic steps of discipleship, nor really even challenge me to spend time alone with God through prayer and scripture study. There were many years I stayed a baby Christian, not knowing I was supposed to develop as a disciple.
Often leaders will ask, what do you have as a resource for new believers? I do think basic studies are helpful for seekers and new believers, but I also believe that it’s more about intention than anything else. Are we happy to “get a woman saved” but forget she needs care like a new baby does? Or are we reaching women for Christ and helping them on their journey one step at a time as they grow in Christ?
Today I want to direct you over to Dr. Thom Rainer’s blog to read this post by Dr. Chuck Lawless. Then come back and let’s talk women’s ministry! We will look specifically at a couple of points from Dr. Lawless’ post and adapt them for women.
1. Review your women’s ministry primary approach to evangelism. Do you have a plan in place to reach lost women? Have you trained your women in how to share their faith? (helpful resources are listed below). Have you prayed and ask God to soften your hearts as women and connect you with the lost in your church and community?
2. Review involvement of women who are new believers. If you have been reaching women with the gospel, take a look at where they are now. Is anyone walking them through next steps? Are in they in a small group of other believers, possibly even a women’s group where the leader knows she is young in her faith? How do you even know what’s been happening with those women who have come to know the Lord?
3. Evaluate the your current strategy for keeping new believers. Dr. Lawless shared four components of effective assimilation, best illustrated in an “assimilation rectangle”. Let’s discuss how those apply to women in your ministry:
- Stated expectations help the new believer understand up front what God and the church expect. Have you even shown these women biblical reasons for growing, praying, serving, fellowship with believers? Have you offered to show her how to walk in these things?
- Ministry involvement—even in an “entry” position—gives the new believer purpose in the church. Involvement begins with a strategy to help believers understand their giftedness and callings. What are you doing to help women discover their gifts and passions? Once they discover those, how are you effectively moving them into places using those strengths? Have you thought of pairing her up with a more mature servant as they serve together?
- Healthy relationships help form the “glue” that draws new believers back to church. Are you encouraging her to be involved in places where she is growing as a believer through her relationships with other women? Are you training her how to reach out and help another new believer take these steps of growth?
- Convictional teaching and preaching meet the needs of new believers who long for Christian growth; these same believers then mature and grow under that preaching. What opportunities do you offer for women to do Bible study together? Are you showing her the importance of worship attendance under her pastor and other teaching opportunities available to her?
4. Talk with new believers who no longer attend your ministry. Be open and honest with them and allow them to be honest with you about why they are not involved. Ask them if they would attend just once with you (a Bible study, event, small group). Ask her what it would take for her to make being involved with other women as a way to grow as a disciple a priority.
5. Interview new believers who have remained in your ministry. This will help you to discover what is valuable in your ministry and effective in helping your women grow from a new believer into a fully functioning growing disciple. Perhaps you will need to shift your focus and time from something that is not working to develop further those aspects that truly are making a difference.
Evangelism and New Believer Resources:
Connected – Small Group Study