Last week I personally witnessed over 1,800 people publicly respond to the gospel. That is not normal for me. For 26 years I've been preaching the gospel and calling people to repent and trust Christ, but seldom have I seen such a harvest as what I witnessed last week at Liberty University and NewSpring. God be praised! It is only by His grace.
The question that we normally ask after people repent of their sin and take their first step in their relationship with Jesus is, "What's next?" It's the greatest of miracles when a person makes a decision to receive God's grace, but the decision must bring them to discipleship. Here's a list of the next steps for a new Christian (and this is what we teach and do atCrossroads, Liberty and NewSpring).
1. Trust the Holy Spirit - Ultimately, the same Spirit that drew them to salvation will keep them in that salvation. The Holy Spirit doesn't save them and then leave them, like dropping off kids at school and returning to pick them up at the end of their life. We trust that authentic conversion is an irreversible activity that is intitiated and sustained by the Holy Spirit. Phillipians 1:6 says it simply. "Being confident of this one thing, that He who began a good work in you will carry it out to completion."
2. The Bible - No one can have a growing, vibrant relationship with Jesus apart from God's word. The personality of God, the person of Jesus, and the work of The Spirit are all revealed to us in scripture. A new believer needs a Bible, they need to read it daily, and they should start in John, Mark, Proverbs, or 1 John.
3. The Church - When a person gives their life to Christ, they also give their life to the church. It is a living body that Jesus calls His own "bride." It is in this community that a new Christian learns how to give, love, serve, forgive, and grow. Relationships are formed that shape the new Christian. He or she is taught and instructed on being a witness to the world for Christ.
4. Baptism - This is a public profession of their faith in Jesus. He Himself was baptized as our example, and the New Testament teaches us that this act of obedience identifies us as followers of Jesus. Like Jesus was buried in the tomb for 3 days then raised to life, being lowered into the water and raised back up reflects what Jesus did for the new believer.
5. Prayer - It is essential that a new Christian take their first steps in their faith through prayer. It may be hard at first, but the goal is to make prayer our second language, an ongoing coversation with God where we talk to Him and we listen to Him. Like any new relationship, trust is built through time together and conversation.
6. Service - The new Christian needs to get to work serving Jesus and His church. This forms the spiritual DNA of the new convert. It fights off apathy and it shapes their mindset to be wired toward service and Kingdom work. Jesus Himself said that He did not come to be served, but to serve. We must reflect this by volunteering, getting involved, and rolling up our sleeves to be a part of the work of the church.
I could list another 25 steps, but these 6 are the most crucial and essential for a new believer, especially in the first days and weeks of their relationship with Jesus.