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Follow-up Studies : Grounding New Disciples in the Word.

We understand the imperative, methods, and urgency of evangelism. We teach it, preach it, and know what it means to be a "minister of reconciliation." And yet we have a chronic weakness. Too often we see baptism as the end of the process of evangelization, rather than as the middle. What, the middle? Yes, the middle! Our work is certainly not even half finished when we have when we have influenced someone to obey the gospel. Obedience to the gospel is an ongoing process. Spiritual maturity (Ephesians 4:16) cannot be achieved in just a few Bible study sessions. In fact, to lead someone to the point of baptism without ongoing study and discipleship is terribly careless (2 Peter 2:20-22)! The result of this weakness: a poor retention rate. Certainly we will want to do all that we can to keep faithful those who have confessed Jesus as Lord.

These studies have been designed to do something about that. There are a number of studies to be used after baptism. The order in which you make use of them will vary from person to person. Certainly many of them will prove useful for most people. Perhaps you will want to come up with your own studies. In the meantime, take these as a suggestion, as a model. To aid you in bringing the principles to life, several practical suggestions have been added to most of the studies.

I. THE BASIS : Relationship With God
1  Prayer: Speaking to God
2  Bible Study: Listening to God
3  Faith, Works and Grace: The Balance
II. THE CHURCH : The Body Of Christ
4  Relationships in the body
5  The New Testament Church
6  Being Discipled: God's Plan
III. THE WORK : Becoming Like Christ
7  Hindrance: The Heart
8  Laziness, Idlenss, Discipline
9  Evangelism, Boldness and Tact
10  Service with a smile
IV. OTHER NEEDS : Following God's Way
11  Academics: Obstacle or Oppurtunity
12  Christian Marriage: Cord of three strands
13  The Christian Family: Parents and Children

Follow-up Studies: Closing Considerations

We recommend that the follow-up studies be covered at the rate of about one to two per week for a span of two to three months. Depending on the needs, they may be used in any order. In addition to the studies presented in this chapter, it may be helpful to use some of the Basic, Intermediate, or Advanced studies not covered in your personal study with the young Christian.

In the case of a three-way study, where the younger Christian in on the study will assume responsibility for the discipleship of the new convert, it is advisable that the older Christian, the one who was leading the studies, lead at least a few of the follow-up studies. And, by all means, do not consider that your work with a young Christian ends after the follow-up studies have been completed! No, for you are still only in the middle.