Small book is a vital resource for nurturing newborn believers
A new Christian grows through observable, developmental stages as he matures in Christ. These stages are as significant as a baby’s experiences growing into adulthood.
God has given churches the responsibility to help new Christians grow and mature. What plans does your church have to help spiritual newborns during this critical time in their new Christian walk? What are some positive things we can do to help those who need the “sincere milk of the word,” as we read in 1 Peter 2:2, in order to grow up in Christ?
Philip Slate, longtime missionary among Churches of Christ in the U.S. and Europe, has written a small book, “RISEN: The First 40 Days of Your Christian Life,” to assist new believers in this critical journey. Slate encourages baby Christians to develop a new spiritual identity within the fellowship of the family of God. He speaks simply, yet eloquently, to new Christians about the first steps on the journey ahead.
Slate presents a single thought for each day, reinforced by relevant Scriptures. On each day readers are challenged by wise counsel to grow up into the image of Christ and to become incorporated into the body of Christ where they live.
“Christians are not meant for the monastery but for the marketplace,” he writes on Day 29, “Being in the World but Not of the World.”
People of faith are “not to be hermits but to be hunters for people whom they can serve in the name of Christ,” he writes. “Be on your guard against the potential evil influences found in various magazines, movies, various kinds of music and television. They may not be all bad, but therein lies part of the problem. Learn to discern.”
Each of our three children was born at a hospital that had an excellent critical care unit staffed to ensure the wellbeing of mothers and babies. What foresight have we given to making our churches places that help nurture our spiritual newborns?
Books such as Slate’s — combined with classes, discussion groups, Bible reading guides and spiritual mentors — may go a long way toward reducing our high mortality rate among spiritual newborns.
Dale Hartman has served with the Eastside Church of Christ in Midwest City, Okla., for 39 years. He is a minister and elder of the church. He and his wife, Sheila, served for 12 years as missionaries in Sydney, Australia.
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