We had just finished a Week of Reaping. George and Mary, who we had never met before the week started, had made their decision to accept Jesus as Savior and Lord, embrace all the truths of the Bible, be baptized and unite with the Adventist movement!
What could we do to grow these brand new baby Adventists? We did our best to prepare them well. How could we give them the best chance possible to start strong in the faith and lead others to Jesus and see them baptized as well?
Here are three steps we took to mentor our new members.
- Share publicly our four hopes for their next six months. On the Sabbath morning of the baptism we invited George and Mary to come to the front of the church. We confirmed that they wanted to unite with the Seventh-day Adventist movement, with membership in the local congregation. Then I told them “We have four hopes for you for your first six months as a new member of the church family. In a few minutes you will get to choose two New Member Coaches each to help you succeed. We hope you…
- Connect. “Make at least seven good friends in the church. Joining groups will help you make new friends.
- Study. “Develop a regular time, place and plan for personal Bible study and prayer each day. Your Sabbath School Group will help you with this. We have a “New Members and Visitors Class” that meets at church every Sabbath morning from 9:30–10:30 where you can come and bring your friends.” (Someone who has been an Adventist five years or less is often the best teacher, since they know and understand what new members are going through and are passionate about how Bible truth transforms lives. They encourage study at home and then class review of various Bible study guides such as Amazing Facts, Storacles, Discover, etc. They also have a short time for fellowship and world missions. We don’t lose as many new members when we assign them to a Sabbath School class for their first six months.)
- Serve. “Find a ministry you enjoy. There are many ways you can use your God-given talents to build up God’s work. Your New Member Coaches will help you try out different ministries until you find one that fits you, or they can help you start one with a friend. Some people like to help feed the homeless, work in our food bank, assist with our Pathfinder ministry, etc.
- Share. “Have the privilege of leading someone to Jesus, seeing them accept all the Bible truths and unite with this movement through baptism. You can start today by making a prayer list of seven family members and friends you would like to lead to Jesus and see baptized within the next 6 months.”
- Give them two New Member Coaches each. Next I said to them “Now it’s time to pick your New Member Coaches. Mary, who are two ladies you would like to have as your New Member Coaches for the next two months to help you get started? And George, who are two men you would like to have as your New Member Coaches?” When Mary pointed to two ladies the ladies started beaming. They had befriended Mary during the Week of Reaping and now Mary was asking them to help her start her new journey well. I asked if they were available and willing to serve. When they said yes I invited them to come stand by Mary. I followed the same process for George. Then I invited any others who wanted to stand in support of these new members to come to the front and stand with them. Then I asked Mary and George to each share how God had brought them to this place in their lives. Their testimonies touched each of our hearts. Then we voted them into membership subject to their baptism.
- Get them into two groups of caring, encouraging believers. The New Member Coaches help the new members become a part of the New Members and Visitors Sabbath School group and a Ministry Group. Sometimes the New Member Coaches will actually start a Bible Study group in the home of the new member so they can invite their relatives and friends to come to a neutral location to learn about the new things they have been learning.
Remember that each new member is called to be a disciple and a missionary wherever they live, work, study, shop and visit. We can help them fulfill their calling from God.
“There is danger of religion losing in depth that which it gains in breadth. This need not be, if, in the place of long sermons, there is wise education given to those newly come to the faith. Teach them by giving them something to do, in some line of spiritual work, that their first love will not die but increase in fervour. Let them feel that they are not to be carried and to lean for support on the church; but they are to have root in themselves. They can be in many lines, according to their several abilities, useful in helping the church to come nearer to God, and working in various ways to act upon the elements outside the church which will be a means of acting beneficially upon the church.” Evangelism 356.3
“Every true disciple is born into the kingdom of God as a missionary. He who drinks of the living water becomes a fountain of life. The receiver becomes a giver. The grace of Christ in the soul is like a spring in the desert, welling up to refresh all, and making those who are ready to perish eager to drink of the water of life.” The Desire of Ages 195.2
What if everyone uniting with the Adventist movement this year were mentored at least until they prepared someone else to join the movement? We would see explosive growth like what happened in the early church (Acts 2:41, 47, etc.). The gospel would soon go to the entire world and Jesus would come put an end to pain, suffering, sin and death (Matthew 24:14)!
Blessings to you,