The New Converts Class (Growing in Christ) is the most comfortable room in the church building. It is a place where spiritual babes are nursed with the sincere milk of the Word to a point where they can eat meat. These classes are vital for retention and growth. It is here where relationships between Shepherds and new members are formed. These relationships are treasured between these new Christians and all who have a part in their growth. The trust and love allow for difficult issues to be resolved and potential obstacles to their growing faith to be solved.
Recently I received a phone call from an elder. He said, “We have a great group of new converts, and the class keeps growing. We have a problem and do not know how to solve it. We were wondering if you have you ever run into new converts who do not want to leave?” This was a problem I had never encountered, but as I thought about past and current new convert classes it was apparent that his question was not isolated. After a brief pause, I responded, “Graduate them.”
Graduation is a celebration, a promotion, a family event, and a positive experience. Approaching a new convert and asking them to leave the class and sit in the adult class is awkward and has the tendency to be a negative experience. Here are some suggestions on how to have a new converts graduation:
- Once the material is completed, let them know there will be a special congregational graduation ceremony.
- The ceremony is not worship, so conduct it after the closing prayer on a Sunday morning for maximum participation.
- Provide the graduates a gift (AP study Bible, Bible dictionary, or another Bible resource).
- Say a few words about their accomplishments.
- Make a congregational invitation for them to join the adult class the next Sunday morning.
Small details as described above may not appear important on their own, but in the larger HTHSOE evangelism model, it is another step towards church growth. Graduations are always special, but none are more important than watching a soul go from a babe in Christ to a mature Christian who can teach others also.
Church of Christ, Guam: Please welcome our first foreign congregation to HTHSOE. I would like to introduce you to Joey Treat. He and his wife Tammy are missionaries in Guam. Recently they made a visit to their supporting congregations back in the States. Joey and Tammy attended two HTHSOE seminars, and we spent additional time together as they desired to learn as much as they could about soul winning. They decided to take the HTHSOE model back to Guam. This is his first report!
Joey Treat (missionary) reports, “We had our first Bible study yesterday using one of the School of Evangelism’s approaches in Guam. A gentleman asked for help from the church for food, and we said, “Sure, we distribute those things on Sunday mornings after our Bible class and worship.” Then we had a Bible study with him during the Bible class hour. The study went very well, and after the worship we gave him food. He was engaged and interested in the study and says he will be back next Sunday. We are set to continue studies then. We are thankful for the lessons we learned during your seminar. This study was the first fruit we have seen from it, and we expect to see much more.”
Eisenhower church of Christ, Odessa, Texas: We welcome back the Eisenhower church of Christ to HTHSOE. They began training just over a year ago, but as with so many others, COVID took a toll on them. Recently they rebooted and have been doing an excellent job. On November 12-13, they took the HTHSOE advanced training courses, and we were able to have a leadership class with the elders, preacher, and deacons. There are no words to describe the smiles of the elders when they begin to see the big picture and understand how it all works together. There are big things coming from this congregation.
Westside church of Christ, Midland, Texas: We welcome the Westside church of Christ to HTHSOE. This congregation has a great reputation from their pulpit preacher Mike Vestal to their elders who stand for truth. During our visit, we met Adam Orr and his wife Julie. Adam serves as the local outreach minister, and they are going to be a huge asset to this congregation as the evangelism strategy is implemented. We cannot wait to see what God can do through these wonderful servants of the cross.
Adam Orr (outreach minister) records, “I preached two sermons with evangelistic thrust, and I can certainly feel a different energy and excitement. We passed out the bookmarks today and asked people to write the names with much thought and prayer. I am excited to get to work on the evangelism table. Thanksgiving buys some time to get a little more organized, but I will not waste this excitement. Appreciate your help!”
Northern Oaks church of Christ, San Antonio, Texas: Mel Hutzler (preacher/elder) reports, “Since our Personal Evangelism Seminar on November 7-10, we have been following the plan given by the School of Evangelism. So far, we have set up our personal evangelism table, had members fill out bookmarks, and contact cards, and held our first evangelism card writing meeting. We also made gift bags for visitors and started to record their names. We have a few members who have already started Bible studies. A few meals have gone out to prospect those in our community as well. We will continue to be evangelistic in all that we do.”
Ironaton church of Christ, Alabama: Dale Harris (deacon) reports, “We are in the process of getting it off the ground, and the elders and members have all been positive in getting things going. Our Phase 1 was educating everyone on the BTTB series, assembling visitor bags, and assigning everyone to a Compassion Card Group. Today was week 3 of groups, and we had 19 people writing cards all at once. This was so encouraging! Visitor bags have been made and we have begun passing them out. They have been well received.”
Warner Robins church of Christ, Georgia: Dave Domingue (elder) reports, “A lot is happening this week at WRCOC. We had two baptisms. The first is Carol M. who has been visiting for a few weeks. The second is Ruth E. Ruth responded to our H2H door-knocking campaign and after a Back to the Biblestudy with some of our ladies, she decided to put on Christ in baptism Sunday. Some of our recent baptisms were presented with an Apologetics Press NKJV Study Bible and a personal invitation to the Growing in Christ class starting next week. Much being done—compassion cards going out, visits being made—more to do. To God be the glory.”
University church of Christ, Montgomery, Alabama: Austin Faris (elder) reports “We continue to fill the various Evangelist Ministries with leadership. Listed below are the areas that have proper leadership.”
1. The Compassion Card Ministry
2. The Visitor Card Ministry
3. The New Moving Ministry (Welcome Buckets)
4. The New Moving Ministry. Making sure all new movers into our area are visited and have been given a welcome bucket.
5. Visitor Bag assembled
6. The Visitors Ministry. Those that visit our congregation
7. The Greeters of Visitors
8. Congregational Activities
9. Benevolence Ministry
10. House to House, Heart to Heart
We will be training these leaders in their specific areas of responsibility. Scott Latham, one of our elders, delivered an outstanding sermon on part two of Back to the Bible book two. We are planning a new Bible class, beginning in January, for New Converts, and those that wish to study Bible basics. The title will be,” Firm Foundations.” We are having visitors every Sunday from our area.
Oak Hill church of Christ, Covington, Georgia: Tate Sutton (preacher) reports, “We passed out the contact bookmarks for our members to fill out today and have begun teaching lesson 1 of Back to the Bible. Our members are encouraged and ready to have studies. We have established our card groups, and group A will begin writing cards this week. They will be writing to our visitors and those on our prayer list who are not members of the Lord’s body. We have made specific efforts to reach our visitors who come in who are not members.”
Beloit church of Christ, Kansas: Dustin Doughtery reports, “I have great news. This afternoon about 4:30, Peggy Miller was immersed into Christ for the remission of her sins. She did the Back to the Bible study over the last couple weeks with Carol Wise. They finished up book 3 this afternoon, and Peggy knew right away what she needed to do. She decided she needed to do what the Bible says, in the way the Bible says to do it, for the reasons the Bible says. It was my absolute pleasure to immerse her. Miss Peggy makes our 10th conversion of 2021. To God be all the glory!”
Lafollette church of Christ, Tennessee: Ben Shafter (preacher) reports, “On Sunday we reemphasized the evangelism model and the need to always be searching for contacts. We reminded each other that our emphasis behind the various works we are involved in needs to be viewed from an evangelistic mindset. Even something like Lads to Leaders can be used to reach parents outside of the church who are interested in the development of their children. The ladies will be getting together this week to make up some new movers baskets. We have a good number of our congregation who are ready to deliver them. The church is providing a Thanksgiving meal for a special family to show our love for them and hopefully to open a door for the truth as well.”
Coldwater church of Christ, Kentucky: Luke Puckett (preacher) reports, “This week we continued to train the congregation on using Back to the Bible using the provided PowerPoint. We started book 3 this week. One of our deacons continues a Bible study and is starting book 3 this week. The person who he is studying with has visited with us two weeks in a row. We are sending him cards of encouragement and thanks for visiting. I am continuing to build a relationship with a prospect we have been working on. He has cancer, and we have sent several cards to him as well as helping him financially. I have visited with him once and will go back this week with the hopes of starting a Bible study. We have developed a few more prospects from our thanksgiving giveaway. We started sending them cards with personal invitations to join us for worship. We are continuing to develop contacts and turn them into prospects.”
Chase Park church of Christ, Huntsville, Alabama: Pat Cowden (preacher) reports, “Had one study last week with Maria and Sarah. Had a good benevolent event Saturday with three people saying they would like to study and seven said they were looking for a church. Started following up today. Keep praying brother; we are at the end of three studies.”
Beattie Road church of Christ, New Albany, Georgia: Charles Harris (preacher) reports, “My last Sunday preaching will be December 12. I do not have anything to report study wise for this week. At this moment I do not have a study scheduled until next Wednesday. That study will be a fourth and we will cover Does It Matter. Hopefully in next week’s report you will read about his baptism.”
Peninsula church of Christ, Hampton, Virginia: Ben Phillips reports, “This last week has seen us continue in the card ministry, organize a coordinator for visitor bags and new mover baskets, and begin our Men’s Training for Service class. This last item is certainly important for the worship of the congregation, but we are also using it to encourage men to become more comfortable with teaching others and reaching the lost. We discussed this purpose in the class! We are trying to put into practice the idea that everything needs to be revolving around evangelism.
“One other thing happened this past Sunday evening that really highlights the way in which the congregation is engaging in the evangelism work. We announced that evening that a young couple had just placed membership with us. When it came time to do compassion cards, a sister grabbed this couple and introduced them to the work. The same night they placed membership they filled out their first card! It is little moments like this, the prayers being led, and conversations being had among the members, that highlight how much evangelism has become the center of our work. And this all started with our evangelism seminar!”
Deerfoot church of Christ, Birmingham, Alabama: Richard Harp (preacher) reports, “One of our members has been studying with a co-worker for the last three weeks. They have finished all three books. Please pray for the efforts here. The gentleman is very close to obeying the gospel. Richard has begun the third book with Kyle. He has moved and started a new job making it a slower study. Kyle is still very keen.”
Corinth church of Christ, Tennessee: James Parker (elder) reports, “I made a visit to the couple for which I had once performed a wedding ceremony. We will start our Bible study after Thanksgiving. We are now two weeks into sending cards out to several different families. Some have suffered the loss of a family member, some need to be restored, and some have visited our services. One family that recently visited has already placed membership because of our friendliness and the card ministry!”
Siwell Roach church of Christ, Mississippi: Derek Broome (associate preacher) reports, “This past weekend we distributed new movers baskets to several new families in our community. Several Siwell families picked up baskets to deliver, and others got together as a group to help distribute. We made some great contacts, and several wanted more information on the church. Looking forward to following back up with these new contacts.”
Jacksonville church of Christ, Alabama: RJ Tracy (college minister) reports, “Chloe Cooley is the young lady we have been studying with. We finished the second book in BTTB, and I believe she now knows there is only one church. We got to the point in the study where we talked about elders and church organization. She was confused at first. She said that she had never heard any of this before. After some time explaining the roles of elders, deacons, preachers, and members she said, ‘My church back home does not have any of that. That means they’re wrong, doesn’t it?’ She then asked about creeds (the creed is the guide for her church, and it mentions nothing about elders). Specifically, she asked if it was wrong for them to have a creed. I asked her to read 2 Timothy 3:16-17, and then I explained some of the meaning of the verse. She said she now realized it was sin to have a creed. She then looked up at me and said, ‘My church is in sin because they do not look like this (the church of the Bible).’”
Smithville church of Christ, Mississippi: Andrew Wynne (preacher) reports, “Pictured are the materials we are using for the new baskets. This has been very well received with the ones that have gotten baskets so far. Please pray for our efforts as we continue to try to grow.”
Mercedes Drive church of Christ, Alabama: Scott Cain (preacher) reports, “The efforts are still ongoing at Mercedes Drive. One of the elders started a new Bible study Friday night, and another new Bible study is scheduled to begin this week.”