WORKING WITH BELIEVERS

People who identify as a BELIEVER can range from cultural Christians with no personal relationship with Jesus to sincere followers of Christ who have never been discipled. It can be a tricky stage because we don’t always know what someone means by “I believe.”  Do they agree that the Gospel is true and it has already transformed them or have they not experienced that transformation yet?  Working with a BELIEVER for a while will reveal where they are.  For more tips for working with a BELIEVER, click here.

Here is what a BELIEVER might say…

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  1. THE BASICS OF THE FAITH
  2. PRAYING ON THEIR OWN
  3. READING THE BIBLE FOR THEMSELVES
  4. GATHERING WITH OTHER BELIEVERS
  5. SPOTTING AND TURNING AWAY FROM SIN

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THE GOSPEL

Make sure that everyone is on the same page as far as what the gospel is and how it works in our life.  Use the three circles explanation followed by a quick lesson from 2 Corinthians 5:17-21 to do this.

THE COMMANDS OF CHRIST

REPENT AND BELIEVE, BE BAPTIZED, PRAY, GO AND MAKE DISCIPLES, PERSEVERE, LOVE, LORD’S SUPPER, GIVE, GATHER.  This is a popular tool among missionaries with new people to the faith.  A believer with a church background might also consider this a review but if they are still dependent on others for their growth this will get them on the road to being a disciple and learning how to help themselves grow.  Use these handouts to teach the Commands of Christ.  You can also text these KeyVerses to them for daily readings.

THE GOSPEL OF MARK

The shortest of the gospels makes for quick introduction to the life of Christ.  Now that they know how to get into the Word using discovery questions, make sure they spend time in it!  Use this sheet as a guide to reading the book of Mark.

THE WALK

The Walk by Stephen Smallman would circle back and cover both many of the lessons in the Commands of Christ and a rereading of the Gospel of Mark.  It would also introduce the reader to Romans and a deeper understanding of the gospel.  Each chapter has its own assigned biblical reading and exercises.  Use this guide to help you with your time together.

 

CLICK HERE FOR THE ENTIRE BELIEVER’S SUGGESTED PATH PDF


 

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It can’t be stressed enough that spiritual growth is…well…spiritual and not a natural process we can tangibly observe, label and manipulate. But we see in scripture some principles of growth that help us peek behind the curtain of divine activity. Here’s one way to illustrate the disciple making growth process:

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We often discover or are given new growth areas that challenge us.  It’s helpful to create a benchmark of our understanding and obedience in those areas.  We then need to make some important connections that God uses to grow us.  God transforms us through this process which results in new rhythms in our life.  Finally we re-assess so we can celebrate what God done and move on to a new growth area.

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Every time we encounter a new growth area like a spiritual discipline we are trying to strengthen or an idol’s influence we are trying to weaken, we should start a process like the one pictured and described above. Here are examples of some possible growth areas with a linked in resource for that area.  Make sure to download this LEADER’S PREP GUIDE to help you think about how to lead someone through these growth areas.

THINGS TO KNOW

THINGS TO FEEL

THINGS TO DO

Choose a new growth area with the person you are discipling and begin the process described below.

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Take an early assessment of “knowledge of” and “attitude towards” each growth area before you start.  It may feel a bit tedious or formal but it will create a benchmark that will help you record progress and hopefully lead to celebrating growth.  Just like journaling helps us record where we are spiritually in different seasons, assessments and reassessments act as a relational journal between disciple makers and the people they’re working with.  You can ask these questions yourself when you get together but make sure to keep a record of their answers to use later.

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There are FOUR VITAL CONNECTIONS  to be made to help someone work through a new growth area:

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As the person you’re working with makes and deepens these life-giving connections, you should start to see some transformation in them. Authentic, Christ-driven transformation will show itself in new rhythms of life like new ways of thinking, feeling and acting. In a beautiful way, those new rhythms push us further into more transformation as a part of our growth.  As a disciple maker, not only will it thrill you internally to see this growth in the person you’re working with but you should affirm it and “fan it to flame.”

It helps if you know what kind of transformation to look for.  Answer these questions to help you find it:

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Don’t skip that last question!  You can accidentally train them that the gospel is only behavior modification when we know it is more identity change that leads to new behaviors.

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A re-assessment process after a set period of time will either allow us to see the growth in a particular area, celebrate it, and point us toward a new growth area or it will help us stay put till God is done working with us.

It’s important to keep someone’s initial assessment handy so that you can measure (and celebrate growth). Ask the same questions as before. Review the the answers they gave in their first assessment together. See what has changed.

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IF THERE HAS BEEN ANY GROWTH, TAKE TIME TO CELEBRATE!!!  Even the most smallest steps forward show that God is working and you’re enthusiasm in regards to it will be contagious.  Whether it is a special dinner, a personalized Certificate Of Achievement or a warm hug, take time to celebrate.

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After celebrating, go tackle a new growth area together.

 

STAGES is a disciple making pathway developed by Paul Johnson of the Canadian National Baptist Convention.

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