5 Ways to Grow Disciples
We have focused a lot on the importance of sharing one’s faith and the responsibility of Christians to obey the Great Commission. But what happens after someone we’ve shared the Gospel with comes to Christ? What then?
How do we encourage new believers to grow in Christ?
Scripture gives us quite a bit of instruction on the topic, but I would like for us to focus on five things we can do to help new disciples grow in their faith:
Pray for their growth. The Apostle Paul and his coworkers in the Lord spent a great deal of time praying for the young congregations under their care. In 2 Corinthians, Paul wrote to the church in Corinth, speaking of many different topics. But in chapter 13, verse 9, he made this statement: “For we are glad when we are weak and you are strong. And this also we pray, that you may be made complete.” God’s heart is for followers of Christ to be made complete. Thus, just as it was Paul’s prayer for the churches, so should it be our prayer for new believers. After all, it is ultimately God who has worked in their hearts to prepare them for salvation, and He has promised to bring that work to completion.
Connect them with a local body of believers who can encourage them, too. Hebrews 10:24-25 admonished believers to “not forsake the assembly” and the reason given was that Christians should be exhorting one another “to love and good works”. This is best done in a community, where a person is surrounded by people who are like-minded and who love them. Help them find a church where they will be encouraged and built up in the faith.
Model what it means to live a life of obedience to and love for God. In other words, lead by example. We are called to imitate the character of God (Ephesians 5:1). And by doing so, we provide an example that other believers can see and be encouraged by. This is one of the most impactful ways to teach someone about what it means to follow Christ.
Teach new believers about the character of God and the way a follower of Christ should live. Teach them what it means to “let the word of Christ dwell in them richly.” Meet regularly for Bible study or connect them with someone who can meet with them. Ensure that they are taught solid doctrine, being prepared for the temptations and lies they may face. Help them establish good habits of prayer and Bible reading.
Correct when failures come. Hebrews 3:13 says, “Exhort one another day by day, so long as it is called “today”, lest any one of you be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.” Admonish new believers when they need to work on the sin in their lives. At the same time, give them room to fail, all the while encouraging them to run the race well.
Of course, these are just a few of the things we can do to encourage new believers in their faith. Ultimately, discipleship begins and continues through the work of God in the individual’s heart. It is our responsibility to share the Gospel and to encourage them in their new faith. But it is the Holy Spirit who works to transform their hearts, minds, and souls to be conformed to the image of Christ. It is He who we must trust to carry out the work of redemption to its fullness.
How are you encouraging believers in their faith? What are some other ways you can exhort new believers to grow in their relationship with God?