Meaningful things take time. This includes turning converts into disciples. Remember Saul’s lame grandson, Mephibosheth, who David provided for? How Mephibosheth became lame is a parable on disciple-making.
(Mephiobosheth) . . . was five years old when the tidings came of Saul . . . and his nurse . . . fled . . . as she made haste to flee, that he fell, and became lame. And his name was Mephibosheth (2 Samuel 4:4).
Mephibosheth’s experience gives four principles related to developing healthy disciples.
- A caregiver’s haste left Mephibosheth lame.
- Unfounded fear was the basis for the nurse’s hurry.
- The youngster suffered, not the hasty nurse.
- Mephibosheth’s childhood fall limited him for life.
Perhaps, the nurse had nothing to fear. Mephibosheth’s father, Jonathan, was David’s closest friend. The nurse’s decision was a reaction. Her haste had no good reason. What she did forever harmed the child in her care.
Apply those four principles to caring for spiritual infants. Unfortunately, not all converts come out as well as Mephibosheth. Some die due to the haste of a caregiver.
Hurrying comes in many forms. Rush newcomers along with unrealistic expectations, and you will harm them. Yes, there are different sets of expectations. People saved 30 years should be at a different level than someone saved 30 days.
Let’s be clear. The messy life of a spiritual baby does not communicate anyone’s position on right living. Is a baby’s dirty diaper a statement on whether the mother keeps a clean house? Stop fearing what others think.
There is a better way to care for spiritual babies. Your church needs a well-reasoned strategy for caring for newcomers. If you carry out such a plan, more spiritual babies will grow to healthy maturity. Few will die or be lame.
The deliberate, focused and intentional teaching of God’s Word works. Target a class for new converts. Teach at their level of understanding.
More insight on disciple-making is available. Watch my Don’t Drop the Baby webinar at Carlton L. Coon Sr. on Facebook, or on YouTube or at Carltoncoonsr.com. I welcome questions and your own insight into disciple-making.
Carlton L. Coon Sr. pastors SpringfieldCalvary.church (Springfield, Mo.). He is a past director of North American Missions for the UPCI and author of 22 books. For a seminar or consultation on disciple-making e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Blog posts and resources are available at carltoncoonsr.com.