The manner in which one follows up with a new convert depends heavily upon the context in which that person initially trusted in Christ for salvation. For instance, if a person trusted Christ due to a one-on-one evangelistic encounter with a believer, then the obvious follow-up manner would be via that one-on-one relationship. However, if a person trusted in Christ through organically developed relationships within a community of faith, then a natural community-oriented method of follow-up would necessarily occur. The latter context will be considered here in this Follow-Up Plan. After all, the New Testament seems replete with examples of gospel-centered communities on mission together, and so doing follow-up together.
- Continue to integrate the new convert into the life of a community of faith, particularly a City Group. A City Group is a local, urban missional community of people that gather weekly to share life and truth, love God and one another, and engage the social and spiritual needs of the city. It is geographically-based and inter-generational, a place where the church can be the church (throughout the week) to one another and to the city.
- Assurance – While I do believe assurance of salvation is immediately important and relevant for the new convert, I as a finite and fallible human being cannot (and, probably must not) offer assurance. A primary reason for this is that someone is not necessarily a genuine Spirit-filled, Christ-follower just because he or she offers a verbal agreement that Jesus died for him or her. The devil and his entourage believe in the infinitely important historical facts of the gospel. On the other hand, we are told that we will know those who are Christ’s by their evidenced fruit (Matt 7.17-20; Rom 8.9-11; Gal 5.16-26). So, an alternative approach for offering assurance is proposed: 1) Hold out the promises of the Gospel for the new convert, praying that the Spirit himself would grant assurance to the professing believer that he has been adopted by the Father through Christ (Rom 8.14-16; Gal 4.4-7). 2) In the context of the City Group, the internal testimony of the Holy Spirit will most likely happen, along with the Group’s observing of his manifested fruit. 3) Remind him that faith and repentance in the Gospel is not a one-time deal, but is an everyday affirmation that we are imperfect people clinging to a perfect Christ.
- Assurance – See above; will be same as in Immediate Follow-Up.
- Integrate him into a Fight Club, which goes through the booklet, Fight Clubs: Gospel-Centered Discipleship. A Fight Club is a simple group of 2-3 people of the same gender who meet regularly to help one another beat the flesh and believe in the promises of God. They are based on three rules: 1) Know your sin; 2) Fight your sin; 3) Trust your Savior. Fight Clubs are Christ-centered, not application centered, focusing on Jesus, not works.
- Integrate him through the City Group and through the Fight Club, into the Sunday gatherings of the local church. Emphasize the varied significance of each.
- Through these groups, he will inevitably find modeled help to cultivate his own consistent personal devotional life of: a) Prayer; b) Bible Study; c) Personal Worship, as he grows in the gospel and on mission together with the community.
- Through continual organic integration into the life of the church, he will naturally develop strong relationships with those who will help him understand some basics of the Christian life. A natural environment for this is, of course, a City Group.
This Gospel-centered community oriented follow-up method is long-term by design. As the new convert is brought into the community, he senses his acceptance by God as into a new family—for life.