T. W. Massengale
Church growth necessitates new converts, as well as the retention (discipleship) of those converts. New convert care is one of the pivotal keys to church growth.
The Bible describes converts as “newborn babes” who “desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby” (1 Pet. 2:2). So if you wish to know how to care for your new converts, look at a human infant. Not only must they be fed (they are unable to feed themselves), they also must be cared for, protected, loved, and trained. They need a mother to raise them. Without a mother, they will die.
Each person that is baptized or receives the Holy Ghost should be assigned a care partner (i.e. a spiritual parent). Someone must watch for them, pray for them, teach them, and encourage them. I would strongly urge you to develop this as an ongoing program in your church. The best person to raise this spiritual child is the person that won them to God. Few are walk-ins. Most are there because someone witnessed to them, invited them, and feel a sense of responsibility. Ninety-five percent of new converts come in as family, friends, neighbors, coworkers, or acquaintances of church members. Reach out to that individual and ask them to disciple this convert.
Ask them to pray for their spiritual child daily. Watch for them at church and contact them when they miss. Sit with them in church. Help them make friends in church by involving them with your circle of friends. Teach them a home Bible study if possible. Go with them to the New Life Class taught at the church. Involve them in whatever ministries you are involved with (with pastoral permission). Make sure they attend all special church activities. Finally, alert the pastor if they are struggling in any way. New converts need three things: instruction, fellowship, and involvement.
Growing churches will have at least a 50% retention rate of new converts. Many have 60-70%. You need to know your retention rate. Simply go through your baptism and Holy Ghost records once a year and divide the total converts by how many are still attending.
Without a spiritual parent, this new child of God will likely die. Someone did this for you. Now it’s your turn. If you would like a more detailed description of a New Convert Care Ministry, call (317) 781-7712. $5.00.