Q: After someone comes to faith, what does your time with them look like?
A: Ultimately any follow up and establishing just takes a bible. You don’t want them to have a crutch. Everything I do with a new believer I have one question I am asking: Is this transferable? I want them to be able to take what I’m teaching them and pass it to someone else. The simpler and less other stuff I use the more effective I can be at taking someone from a new-believer to a disciplemaker.
Typically I just have a verse in mind and a bible. Discipleship is all about an intentional person relationally bringing the word of God.
My discipleship looks a lot different now than when I was working on staff [with StuMo]. Mine focuses around meals now because that is when guys that I am discipling are free. Breakfast and lunch are the two hot times.
Things that I think through now with a man are a man and his work, a man and his family, a man and his hobby, and a man in his spiritual life. I bring up those conversations and naturally that will lead to deep spiritual conversations that go somewhere. I want them to see that they aren’t a project but that I care about every aspect of their life.
To be effective at establishing new believers you have to a king at the art of casual conversation and taking that somewhere. Be good at transitioning from something not spiritual to something spiritual.
I try to make all of our time informal and intentional. That are the two words I try to live by in my discipleship.
Anytime I bring some type of content that isn’t just the bible, I try and make sure that I bring extra sheets for them to have and to take and have in their toolbelt.
Q: What types of resources do you use (topics, content)?
A: When I was on campus, I used the assurance of salvation, scope and significances and the other followups I’m sure you are familiar with. Now I tend to use books of the bible. Some of my favorites are John, the sermon on the mount, and the book of Ephesians. Going through what those mean, how different things are true of them now that they are a believer. In follow up I want them in the word and processing and making sure they know what a decision to follow Christ entails. I tried Romans with a couple of guys but I think it can be a little much for a new believer.
Another huge thing is making sure I’m doing this in the context of life and a community of faith. I want them to see it doesn’t have to be this formal setting where discipleship happens and also that growing spiritually and making disciples is to be done with other people.
Some other good resources I use: Discipleship Essentials by Greg Ogden, the first twelve verses of TMS is a layup for initial follow up (have them memorize and also discuss with them), anything Robert Coleman is a layup. The sooner you treat a new believer as if they’ve been one for a while they will see everything as normative. The more you do seasoned Christian stuff with them the more they see it as normative.
Clark Nolan: former long time StuMo staff at Old Miss and U of A;
currently pastor at Fellowship Bible, Fayetteville