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preaching article 2 Simple Tips for New Believer Follow-Up

2 Simple Tips for New Believer Follow-Up

based on 9 ratings
Oct 13, 2011

I get asked all the time how we do discipleship at Elevation. Related to this question, I also get asked how we follow up with new believers.

Do we relentlessly call people until they’re in a small group?

Do we offer 57 Bible studies for people to grow in their faith?

Do we provide a yearlong systematic theology course for new believers?

We do have specific and practical things that we do. But when it comes down to it, our philosophy is pretty straightforward and simple:

1) We point the way and 2) we clear the path.

1) We point the way.
There’s ultimately nothing we can do to force people to grow in Christ. Nothing. So whether we offer a 26-option discipleship program or a 4-option one really doesn’t matter. If someone really doesn’t want to grow, they’re either going to say no 4 times or 26.

For that reason, we keep it pretty simple.

We give new believers material to help them grow in the initial stages of their faith, and we call and encourage them to get plugged in. We constantly stress the importance of small groups. We faithfully proclaim the Word and encourage people to read it for themselves. In short, we point the way to what it looks like to have a relationship with Jesus for themselves.

If they decide not to walk that way, that’s their decision. And we’ve made the decision that we’re not going to chase all of them down if they do.

Some people might say to this: Is that what Jesus would do?

I don’t have to wrestle with that question because it’s exactly what Jesus did. Jesus didn’t hook His finger in people’s noses to make sure they were following Him. When you read through the gospels, Jesus always cast His net extremely wide. Everyone was invited to follow. But He didn’t chase people down if they weren’t committed (as in the case of the rich young ruler).

The call was to follow Him. Not be dragged kicking and screaming behind Him.

All He did was point the way. To Himself.

2) We clear the path.
This is where our greatest responsibility comes into play. If we’ve pointed the way clearly and people are responding, it’s our job to make sure the path is clear for them when they decide to walk on it. There’s no room to drop the ball when it comes to people’s spiritual development. If they’re taking a step toward Christ, we’ve got to make sure that step lands unobstructed.

In other words, we’ve got to make sure our systems and processes are running at full speed. And running efficiently. If someone wants to get in a small group, we’ve got to follow up with them quickly. If someone needs counseling, we need to get them into it right away and into the best counseling available.

Whatever approach your church uses to pull the maximum God-given potential out of people, it really doesn’t matter. Whether you take people through a five-year development plan or you just put them into small groups and let the growth happen more organically, your responsibility is ultimately the same either way:

1) Point the way to Jesus clearly.
2) Clear the path to Him effectively.

Let’s commit to doing both with excellence so we can see our people become all that God has dreamed for them.

Pastor Steven Furtick is the lead pastor of Elevation Church. He and his wife, Holly, founded Elevation in 2006 with seven other families. The church has been listed by Outreach Magazine as one of the fastest growing and largest churches in America. 

Pastor Steven holds a Master of Divinity degree from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is also the New York Times Best Selling author of Crash the ChatterboxGreater, and Sun Stand Still.

Pastor Steven and Holly live in the Charlotte area with their two sons, Elijah and Graham, and daughter, Abbey.

Talk about it...

Keith  B avatar
Keith B
0 days ago
Furtick has publicly stated that his church is not for Christians...but only for non-Christians. If you get saved on a Sunday morning (not sure how since he doesn't actually preach the Gospel)...you're supposed to find a new church. That's what Furtick has said.
Fernando Villegas avatar
Fernando Villegas
0 days ago
k b, link please. Let's not go through that whole silly detour we always take.
Trevor Payton avatar
Trevor Payton
0 days ago
Yes, Jesus did cast a wide net. But he also made very clear the high cost and commitment required to be his disciple (Luke 14:25-35). I think these are 2 good suggestions in this article (point the way and clear the path)...but if someone doesn't want to grow as a disciple of Jesus, then is he/she actually a Christian?
Fernando Villegas avatar
Fernando Villegas
0 days ago
Trevor, excellent question. Unfortunately, it's not an easy yes or no question. If you look at the disciples after spending three and a half years in constant contact with Jesus, you don't see a lot of growth there. They needed to experience the bitter disappointment of the cross, the joy of the resurrection, and the baptism of the Spirit at Pentecost in order to begin to bear fruit. So, while it is true that someone who doesn't want to grow as a disciple is not in a real sense an actual Christian, it would be wise not to assume that because a person doesn't grow, that they don't WANT to grow. There's a lot of stuff that's going on beneath the surface that we don't see, but which will bear much fruit given the right conditions. I think Mr. Furtick's main point is right on: we can't make anyone do anything they don't want to do (a lesson I've learned after 12 years as a pastor!). But we can help people BECOME the kind of person that DOES want to grow by constantly pointing people to Jesus; and then when they develop that desire to grow, we can help them by clearing the way for them. This is slow work, but the reality is that there is no fast way to make disciples.
Keith  B avatar
Keith B
0 days ago
Fernando, if you'd like video evidence, hit youtube. It's up there. Here's an article quoting him directly: http://www.extremetheology.com/2007/08/pitting-evangel.html
Keith  B avatar
Keith B
0 days ago
Fernando, if you'd like video evidence, hit youtube. It's up there. Here's an article quoting him directly: http://www.extremetheology.com/2007/08/pitting-evangel.html
Sterling Franklin avatar
Sterling Franklin
0 days ago
v I think he's grown quite a bit since then (4 years ago). I just pray for his ministry and for him to keep promoting Jesus above all else.
Fernando Villegas avatar
Fernando Villegas
0 days ago
k b, the video on the link you provided has been removed. You should try posting another link, preferably to something where the entire sermon is presented for context. It's too easy to isolate quotes and take them out of context.

So, what did you think?


Thank you.