“Hey Bob, did you know the church of Christ believes they are the only ones going to heaven?” If the new convert has not been asked this question prior to conversion, it will be asked shortly thereafter. It is doubtful the new convert will raise his hand in an adult class for an answer. It will probably be asked in a new converts’ class or when mentors are working with these new members. We want these babes in Christ to ask questions. They deserve biblical answers. If questions like this go unanswered for too long, be sure, doubts will begin to rise, and their fragile faith will falter. Soon our new sons and daughters in the gospel will walk out the back door as quickly as they walked in the front.

Peter said, “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby unto salvation” (1 Peter 2:2). You do not feed a baby a steak. No matter the cut or quality of that steak, an infant just cannot digest it. A new converts’ class gives new members access to information they need more quickly than having to wait for an adult class to get around to it. And a new member will feel more comfortable asking questions in a small group atmosphere. Adult classes tend to be large and have less personal interaction.

The following suggestions are given to help the new convert grow to maturity with strong roots and staying power:
  • Have a congregational Bible presentation for all new converts. This is a big moment for everyone to rejoice as the kingdom’s roster grows.
  • Every congregation should have a new converts’ class meeting Sunday morning at a minimum.
  • The class should be structured and organized to address fundamentals. Some lessons that should be covered include Bible authority, the church of Christ, Salvation, Judgement Day, Heaven, Hell, Christian living (moral issues), and prominent religious errors.
  • If the new convert is a teen, keep him or her in class with peers but ask the teacher to teach a quarter on fundamentals. All teens will benefit from such a class.
  • The class should be taught by an elder or mature Christian man. It is important for the new convert to have a strong relationship with his/her shepherds.
  • We encourage the use of Growing in Christ by Bobby Bates to help the new Christian grow. Using the same type of teaching in Back to the Bible makes the transition smooth.
  • Train and appoint mentors in the congregation to work with new converts on a weekly basis. They should call them often to check on them and engage with them socially.
  • The mentor should schedule a weekly devotional with them using the book, The Beginning of our Confidence by David Pharr.
  • Invite new converts out to dinner or into your home; sit with them during services and make them feel like family.
When members walk in the front door, lock the back door! Why spend hours and hours investing resource after resource to teach and baptize, just to let them walk away? Develop a new convert strategy. Sadly, most congregations lose far too many new members. I am often asked how many converts we teach stay faithful. Honestly, a much higher percentage than those who grew up in the church. The reason is that we have a focused strategy to keep the saved, saved. We never disengage from new converts We simply move them along, helping them mature in their salvation.
Congregational Reports
East Ridge church of Christ, Chattanooga, Tennessee: Charles Cochran (preacher) reports, “We began sending compassion cards to a family which is the neighbor of one of our elders. We visited with them and took a welcome bucket. They were so impressed with the outreach of the congregation and promised to visit. They came the next Sunday after our visit. They told the elder that they had a positive visit at East Ridge. They said they would come again. I plan to visit them with the elder. Hopefully, we can arrange a Bible study.”

Jacksonville church of Christ, Alabama:  This is an update on Cameron and Lindsey. As reported two weeks ago, they visited the congregation, and their contact information was secured using our visitor bags. Keith Ritchey, our new preacher, took them out to dinner. This meal invitation led to three Bible studies using Back to the Bible. They had a Baptist background but when presented a simple and scriptural study, they were overwhelmed and obeyed the gospel. They have a one-year-old daughter and have made a decision that could impact not just their family, but an untold number of souls for generations to come.

North Jefferson church of Christ, Mt. Pleasant, Texas:  Kris Groda (preacher) reports, “Follow up Bible studies continue for the new converts. Work towards the restoration of members has begun. We are beginning the fifth week of our compassion card program. We have seen expressions of gratitude from many. There are four known Bible studies being conducted with prospects and one “hot” contact.  One of our contacts, Sha Gist, wrote on her Facebook page:  ‘My family visited this church, and they are such loving people! We got 30 cards mailed to us thanking us for visiting. That is the smallest act of kindness that has been shown to us by this church in a crazy world. It’s grace to feel some kind of peace and welcome.’”
Covington church of Christ, Tennessee: Wayne Dalrymple (elder) reports, “You can add two more to that. We had a young lady who is the wife of one of our young members to be baptized a couple of weeks ago. His mother was baptized at the same time. She had been dunked as a teenager but came to realize she had done it because her mom was pressuring her. Sherri Kidd is the mom, and Morgan Kidd is the wife.”

South Cobb church of Christ, Georgia: Thomas Tidwell reports, “Thank you for asking. At South Cobb we have experienced renewed interest in the subject of evangelism, and I have gone through the Back to the Bible Lessons with the church on Sunday morning. I have tried to stress that anyone can do this, and that we all should do this. Truly the Great Commission is not just for preachers, elders, and deacons, but for the whole church. In this next week we will follow up on a request from a Bible study from House to House, Heart to Heart, and we hope to begin sending out HTH to people in the neighborhood and begin following up that. Thank you for reminding me of our mission, and for the reminder that the leaders of the church MUST set the example in this and all matters.”

Cowetta church of Christ, Oklahoma: Keno Shrum (preacher) reports, “We have been plugging along this week. We got through Lesson 1 with three people. We also had a visitor for worship service this morning who was invited by one of our young adult members. He enjoyed the service and has agreed to go thru BTTB. I’m excited at the enthusiasm of the congregation, and members of all ages are jumping in to be a part of this evangelism. We have started gathering about 45 minutes early before Sunday evening service each week to work on our compassion cards ministry and have had great participation in that. It is our hope and prayer that we will continue forward with an open eye, taking advantage of the opportunities for evangelism that God places before us!”

Beloit church of Christ, Kansas:  Dustin Dougherty reports, “We had three baptisms tonight, all results from going over the Back to the Bible course during Sunday adult class. After learning more over the course the third booklet, they decided that they wanted to be baptized in the right order for the right reasons with a better understanding. Such great news. Brother Keith baptized his wife, Marianne (purple shirt). Keith is standing behind her. Brother Ron baptized his wife Yolanda (grey shirt) and his daughter-in-law Maddi (floral shirt). Brother Ron is standing between them.

North Tuscaloosa church of Christ, Alabama, Jamie Bighan (member) reports the congregation is sending out Compassion Cards to till the soil of local prospects. She found the following posted on one of the Facebook pages of a contact, “So this is where I always hang our Christmas Cards from friends around the kitchen door frame. Now its surrounded by all the prayer cards from your church! Such a sweet reminder that we have prayer warriors interceding in prayer for us. Please tell everyone thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Jesus has truly used you all to comfort and strengthen our family!”

Hillsboro church of Christ Tennessee:  Shelby Moorman (preacher) reports, “We have set up our evangelism table and passed out the HTHSOE contact bookmarks. We are preparing to train the congregation how to use Back to the Bible.”