FOLLOW-UP

Introduction

In the twenty-first century world, Christians have more means at their disposal to spread the Gospel than ever.  Yet, in spite of great accomplishments, the present church's record pales beside that of the first century church.  Why?  The dynamic evangelism of Paul and the Apostles is the prime reason.  Yet another but equally important aspect is often forgotten.  The church needs a strong follow-up program to establish the saints in Christ.

   Two Great Tasks -- Evangelism

    The Church, the Body of Christ has been given two great tasks.  First, the Lord had commanded evangelism of the unsaved.  Despite the opinion of some ultra-Calvinists that God plans to  save only a small elite (usually they include themselves prominently in that elect company), the Bible makes it clear that God desires everyone to be saved.  The Scripture says, "...God, our Savior ... would have all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth" (I Tim. 2:3,4 ASV).  God made this possible by His Son, the Lord Jesus, "...Who gave Himself a ransom for all" (I Tim. 2:6).  Note that God wants all to be saved, and that Christ died for all.  This does not mean that all men will automatically be saved.  Faith in the Lord's redemptive work brings salvation to the sinner and unbelief brings damnation.  But what follows salvation?  Is the believer to keep working to maintain his salvation?  No, for the Bible directly teaches that salvation involves only faith in God's grace, not our own works.  In Ephesians, the Apostle Paul says, "For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not of works, lest any man should boast" (Eph. 2:8,9).  Salvation is not the goal of a life of hard work.  Rather it is the starting line in a life of service in the Lord Jesus.  Paul continues in the next verse to say, "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus, unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them" (Eph. 2:10).  We do not save ourselves by our good works, but rather are saved by God to do good works.  Training a believer in righteous living is the task of follow-up, the second great work of the Church.

Follow-Up

    Evangelism is greatly neglected today, but follow-up even more so.  In most churches, even Fundamental churches, evangelism is looked on as a form of fanaticism, tolerable in Billy Graham, D. L. Moody, or R. A. Torrey, but nothing a respectable churchman would stoop to doing.  Strange sentiments for those who worship the Jesus Christ Who was "... sent not ... into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved" (John 3:17).  But even many of the evangelistic churches, which have great soul-winning programs, are very weak on follow-up.  Such churches preach and teach only soul winning in their services, prayer meetings, and Sunday School classes.  A church may grow large, but can never grow strong on a diet of John 3:16 baked, John 3:16 boiled, John 3:16 fried, or John 3:16 charcoal broiled.  The members of such churches are spiritually weak and shallow, not bringing forth fruits of the Spirit in their lives.  They boast that they are "content with the simple things" and leave "deep learning" to the theologians in the seminary.  Yet the Bible uses its most scathing language against believers who cling to "milk" or "the rudiments of Christ," who refuse to learn and should be able to teach others (Heb. 5:11-14).  Just as the goal of evangelism is "all men saved," the goal of follow-up is "every man perfect in Christ."  To the Colossians, Paul desired to make known "... Christ in you the hope of glory; Whom we preach, warning every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus" (Col. 1:27, 28).  Paul worked mightily toward this end (Col. 1:29), and the Lord will work in believers the same way even today.  Follow-up, then, must take its proper place again in the ministry of the Church.

Definition of Follow-Up

    What is follow-up?  It is spiritual pediatrics.  Pediatrics involves care of a child from birth to eighteen, or adulthood and maturity (D. Trotman, Follow-Up: Conserving the Fruits of Evangelism, 7).  So it is with follow-up, for it concerns the care of a believer from conversion to establishment in faith.  Without follow-up, the fruit of evangelism goes to waste.  Without follow-up, many young converts fall away from the faith, or if they come to church, grow to be lukewarm pew-sitters, immobilized by ignorance, believing the Lord's works and spiritual growth are for the pastor only.  Follow-up, if used, can create a strong dynamic church.

Need for Follow-Up

    Follow-Up is vital because the young convert is ignorant and unskilled in God's Word or dealing with the Devil's attacks (Heb. 5:14).  The new convert is vulnerable to the world, the flesh, and the devil.  This sinful world's values are in opposition to God (I Jn. 2:15, 16).  The world can tempt a man away from Christ with material pleasure (I Jn. 2:16) or bury him in worry (Matt. 13:22).  Also, the flesh can draw the believer away into lust, sin, and death (Jas. 1:13-15).  Unaware of the battle between the flesh and the Spirit and unable to deal with the problem, he is overcome, and his spiritual life is quenched (Gal. 5:16-18).  The devil, the adversary of Christians, will be ready to attack like a lion.  Satan does not always tempt a person into overt sin, but leads the believer astray in beautifully disguised lies and false doctrines (II Cor. 11:13-15).  Follow-Up protects a young believer, develops him to maturity and equips him to fight the battle of faith.

Importance of Follow-Up

    When a person first is saved, follow-up must begin at once.  As shown above, the young believer faces a maze of enemies and dangers he does not even suspect.  Thus, he needs an experienced Christian to guide and instruct him.  The best person to work with the new Christian is the one who led him to Christ.  However, if the person was saved in a church service or evangelistic crusade, a counselor should be appointed by the church as the young convert's spiritual guide.  This is important for several reasons.  First, the Bible says the soul winner is the young convert's spiritual father (I Cor. 4:15-17).  The spiritual father is given Scriptural authority to guide and teach the new believer.  Secondly, the young believer needs love.  Just as a new-born child needs the love of his physical father, so does a new Christian need his spiritual father's love.  There is a special, enduring bond between the two, a love that somehow cannot be transferred to another person.  The book of Acts and the pastoral epistles reveal the great love between Paul and Timothy.  Paul fondly called Timothy his son (I Tim. 1:12).  Paul often remembered Timothy in the epistles (Rom. 16:21; Phil 1:1; Col. 1:1,2; I Thes. 1:1; II Thes. 1:1; Philem. 1).  He and Timothy worked together in the cause of Christ.  Timothy accompanied Paul through Asia (Acts 20:1-4), and visited the Corinthians on Paul's behalf (I Cor. 4:17; II Cor 1:19) as well as the Philippians (Phil.2:19. 23), and Thessalonians (I Thes. 3:6).  From Paul's second missionary journey to his final letter before execution, the Apostle showed deep love for his spiritual son Timothy.  This should be an example to all believers.  We do not lead people to Christ merely to flatter ourselves, as a hunter stalks prey to obtain mounted heads.  Just as our Lord showed compassion on the lost individuals, like the rich young ruler (Mk. 10:21), so are we.  Even when in deep grief over the unjust execution of John the Baptist, Christ showed compassion on the lost multitudes (Mk. 6:34), Love edifies, and the new believers needs it above all to grow.

    Third, the new believer needs an example, one to spur him to maturity.  Some may argue that Christ is the great example, and so He is.  However, this is not the same.  The Lord Jesus is not so much an example as the image we are conformed to by Him (Rom. 8:29).  We look to Christ, not only as an example (I Jn. 2:5,6), but as the Author and Finisher of our faith (Heb. 12:2), as the One Who supplies us with love and grace (Heb. 4:15,16).  While Paul deplored the partisanism that grew up in Corinth over him (I Cor. 1:11,12), the Apostle also asked believers to follow him as he followed Christ (I Cor. 11:1).  Paul never tried to assume Christ's place in the believer's life (I Cor. 1:13-15), but gave himself as a example of God's workmanship.  Similarly, Paul and James give many Old Testament saints as examples of faith (Heb. 11; Jas. 5:10), though, of course, we are never to worship them or imitate their sins.  Besides, whether a Christian likes it or not, the young believer will look to him as an example.  The bad example of spiritual leaders can carry the people into sin and cause judgment on both, as Hosea observed in his day (Hos. 4:9).  The new Christian will not be encouraged to godly living merely by being told.  He must be shown.  He will follow the lives of older believers, especially his spiritual father, faster than mere teaching, no matter how true or sincere the words are.  Paul said, "Those things which ye have both learned and received, and heard and seen in me, do: and the God of peace will be with you (Phil. 4:9; Trotman, Follow-Up, 12).  Believers may plead imperfection as an excuse, but even so, the Bible exhorts us to have a witness that puts critics to shame (Tit. 2:9; I Pet. 2:15).  Besides edifying young believers, the spiritual father will be encouraged to deeper holiness and purer living, for not only the new convert, but the Lord watches him.

Benefits of Follow-Up

    As Christians read the Scripture, they ask why the early church had such unity.  The answer is love, personal concern for and involvement with other believers, wanting the best for others.  Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy were able to say, "So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel only but also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us" (I Thes. 2:8).  Paul and his fellow workers, who were called "apostles of Christ" (I Thes. 2:6), taught them doctrine.  The Word had great effect, because the Thessalonians accepted it, not as the word of men, but as is truly was, the Word of God, and it worked effectually in them (I Thes. 2:13).  But as well, the apostles gave themselves to the believers, gently encouraging and teaching them, as a father does with his children (I Thes. 2:7,11).  The end was that the believers walk worthy of God Who called them (I Thes. 2:12).  But the motive was love, because the believers were dear to the apostles (I Thes. 2:8).  Love, not programs, not men, not money, not equipment, not education, is missing in our churches.  Never had so sacred a thing been so widely spoken of and so little evident.  Love is cheapened today into a shallow feeling of fondness or animal lust.  Love takes hard work, labor (I Thes. 1:3).  Many believers have made Christian love over in a flower power image.  Our love for one another is a reflection of the Lord Jesus's love for us, the love that led Him to willingly lay down His life at Calvary.  We love because Christ loved us first and we but reflect His love (I Jn. 4:19).  The definition and description of Christian love as found in I Corinthians 13 has been hidden like the epistle in Edgar Allan Poe's "The Purloined Letter."  It has been prominently displayed, so obviously believers do not see it.  The spiritual father usually has great love for the new convert under his care.  However, as the young believer enters the church, his love must abound in all the believers he meets.  The church must cultivate this love.

Qualifications of Follow-Up Workers

    The Church should have well-trained personnel to handle the follow-up work, indeed to handle its entire teaching ministry.  Too often churches will take any sincere but untrained volunteers.  These volunteers are usually not warned of the seriousness of their duties and that, because they may lead others to stumble, they will receive a more exacting judgment of God (Jas. 3:1,2).  Also, the Church will fail to test the volunteers before they serve (I Tim. 3:10).  Many excuses, such as lack of man-power, are pleaded, but they cannot change God's clear commands on choosing and training teachers.  A strong follow-up program requires the same standards for all workers.  The weak outreach and edification of most churches show the results of disobedience to the Lord.  The Church must demand a higher standard for its teachers.  A follow-up teacher should be trained as thoroughly as a Pastor, for his work is just as important.  Training programs, such as college or seminary, are required of pastors before they are ordained, to test and eliminate inadequate men.  The Church should do the same with its staff, including follow-up workers.  Such training should be a pre-requisite to service, with no exceptions.

    The question always arises as to who should be allowed to be a follow-up worker.  Just as with pastors, deacons, and Sunday School teachers, the Church must be exacting.  True, not all men have the gift of teacher (Eph. 4:8-11; Jas. 3:1).  Yet every Christian should be able to teach reasonably well about his faith (Heb. 5:12; I Pet. 3:15).  That all early believers were teachers at least in the foundational doctrines is clear (Acts 8:4).  Hence, anyone who is able should be allowed to teach.  While definite qualifications for follow-up workers are not given in the Bible, those presented in I Timothy 3:1-13 for elders, deacons, and their wives are good standards.

    A controversial question arises over permitting women in follow-up.  While the scripture is clear that women are not to have authority over men in the Church (I Cor. 14:34; I Tim. 2:12), the Bible also is clear that women have the gift of teaching (Acts 2:18; 21:9).  And, whether or not she has the special gift, a capable woman, like a capable man, should be allowed to work in follow-up.  Christian women can often work closely with single women or women newly saved out of a life of promiscuous sin.  This way, a man in church need not work with a woman.  Thus, much gossip and temptation to sin, by a male follow-up worker and the woman he would meet will be avoided, and the Church's reputation would not be endangered (I Thes. 5:22).

    Spiritual maturity must be evident in the believer's life.  The physically young and old both are able to have spiritual maturity (I Jn. 2:12-14).  People in their teens and early twenties are enthusiastic but often do not endure long.  Follow-up can be rewarding work but is very hard and demanding.  The new convert has many problems and needs a strong Christian to rely upon (I Thes 5:14).  He needs someone who cares for him and is able to help him.  Unfortunately, many young Christians are unreliable, shallow, and unsympathetic.  They make great promises, but may skip meetings without informing the new convert or telling the follow-up leader to supply a substitute.  This hurts the new convert and reflects badly on the Church.  True, many adults are just as immature and age alone should never disqualify a person.  But a young person who desires to do follow-up must first prove himself.  Churches are engaged in a fad of "involving the young people," whether they are qualified or not.  Paul knew the dangers of putting a novice in such a position (I Tim. 3:6).  However, he also exhorted Timothy not to let men despise his youth,  Rather, the Apostle encouraged young Timothy to be an example to ole believers _I Tim. 4:12).

    The time and place to train follow-up workers will vary from church to church.  First, time is always a problem.  Some people are truly busy, but many use time as an excuse to dodge important work.  Follow-up and follow-up training are vital, and Christians must be shown that it takes priority over the church softball teams or the ladies' Tuesday night tea and crumpet society.  An hour or two a week is not too much to ask.  The training classes should be held near the time most Christians will be at church.  Classes can be held at the prayer meeting, in place of the usual Bible lesson.  Another possibility could be as a special Sunday School class.  As well, follow-up training could be held on Sunday night, just before the evening service.  But, of course, each church must decide the best time for itself.  Second, the place must be decided.  While most follow-up of new converts will be done in homes, follow-up workers should be trained at the church.  Most homes may not have proper facilities, such as seating, blackboards, overhead projectors, screens, or room for a class.  Also, gathering at church will be more convenient if the class is held at a time near a regular service or meeting.  Thus, time and place must be decided to the best advantage by each church.

    The first need for a follow-up training group is a teacher.  Since follow-up is a full-time ministry in itself, the pastor best not add it to his other responsibilities.  Instead, he ought to select and train a deacon or layman to handle the training program.

Follow-Up Training Program

    Having selected qualified follow-up workers, the Church must begin a training program for them.  This program must not be simply a Bible study.  It must be a spiritual discipleship program that helps build the believer's whole Christian life.  The program should teach personal holiness as well as mastery of class lessons and stress applications as well as knowledge.  While the training program for the follow-up workers and new converts will, of course, touch the same things, the training for the follow-up workers will be more intense.  For, like the pastor, like all church leaders, the follow-up workers must be an example in word and deed to young believers.

Scope of Follow-Up

    The follow-up training program should be organized to touch all areas of the believer's life.  The following outline will be general so each teacher can adapt it ti the needs of his church.  It should cover four major topics.  The first is the four elements of Christian life, that is, prayer, Bible study, evangelism, and fellowship.  The second topic covered will be Personal Holiness.  This will show the believer how to live a life pleasing to God.  The third topic will deal with Bible themes.  The fourth topic will be Gifts and Ministry, helping the believer find his place in the Body of Christ.  This training should be completed in six months.  Of course, it cannot be exhaustive, but will prepare a strong foundation in the believer's life that the Lord can build on.  For church worker or new convert, the best training is self-training.

Materials of Follow-Up

    The teacher of the follow-up program should supply the basic materials for his class.  Printed outlines will be very helpful to his disciples.  For example, the major points of the four major topic of Christian living and the sub-points will be listed.  The disciples will be able to follow their teacher's discussion more easily and be able to take notes on the printed sheets.  Such a procedure may sound too academic for most churches, but since Bill Gothard has been so successful with it, a wise leader should be able to adapt notebooks and handouts to his congregation.  The handout should include a short list of books on each area covered so the follow-up trainees can do further research on their own and build a personal theological library.  Just as a pastor needs a good library, so should his workers.  The disciples should be cautioned against trying to get all these books at once! Instead, like a pastor, he should have a book budget and build gradually. Audio-visual aids may help. but these are not absolute essentials, and some churches cannot afford them.  The materials, then, should be clear, concise, and applicable.

Training for Follow-Up

    At the first meeting of the class, the teacher should explain the procedure and goals of the follow-up training.  He must impress upon his disciples the seriousness of their work.  Then he should ask for brief testimonies from each person involved.  In many churches, the members often do not know each other well and a few moments of personal sharing can start deep friendships.  As Francis Schaeffer points out, love for the brethren is the mark of the Christian, a visible sign to the world that God the Father sent His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.  Christian service, be it training, teaching, evangelism, or follow-up, must never be degraded to mere professionalism (Schaeffer, The Mark of the Christian, 35). 

Topics of Follow-Up

    Then the teacher should start on the four major topics of Christian living.  They are prayer, Bible study, fellowship, and evangelism (Trotman, Follow-Up, 8,9).  Since much misunderstanding and superstition cloud all these areas, the teacher will have to give profound but clear explanations of the true nature of each.  The disciples must be exhorted to practice these in their own lives before they seek to teach others.

Prayer

    Prayer is speaking with God.  The Church greatly lacks prayer today.  Constant prayer, more than any of man's devices, will vitalize the church (E.M. Bounds, Power Through Prayer, 12).  Follow-up trainees should know and teach that prayer is not a magic incantation that will make God grant any request they make.  This error leads many young believers to frustration and lack of faith in God.  George Mueller says that we must prepare our hearts for ascertaining God's will by the Scripture and be ready to accept it.  He warns that dependence on feelings and prayer made in ignorance of Scripture lead to "great delusion" (George Mueller, Answers to Prayer, 6).  Sir Robert Anderson also warns that in prayer no unconditional demands should be made on God.  For example, godly Hezekiah prayed that his life be prolonged contrary to God's will.  God answered but as a disciplinary measure, for during Hezekiah's later years Manasseh was born, who led Israel into great sin (Sir Robert Anderson, The Silence of God, 207).  Christians must learn to pray in submission to God, leaving requests with Him and trusting God's wisdom above their own.  But the believer needs to know not only how to pray but what to pray.  D.L Moody, in Prevailing Prayer, sets forth many neglected elements of prayer, such as, adoration, confession of sin, restitution, thanksgiving, forgiveness, unity, faith, petition, and submission.  Several of these need special emphasis.  For example, worship and adoration of God are vital, else prayer becomes self- and not God-centered (D.L. Moody, Prevailing Prayer, 19).  Also, confession of sin honors God and opens his ears to us (Moody, 28).  Confession must be followed by restitution or undoing the wrong sin wrought (Moody, 44).  Thanking God for His blessings is part of all Biblical praying (Phil 4:6; Moody, 56).  Forgiving and asking forgiveness from the brethren removes much sin from the church and restores power to prayer (Moody, 59).  Recommended reading should include Power Through Prayer by E. M. Bounds, Prevailing Prayer by D.L. Moody, Answers to Prayer by George Mueller, and The Power of Prayer by R.A. Torrey.

Bible Study

    Next to prayer, Bible study is the most neglected area of Christian life.  Many Christians feel the Bible is a magic book, either that will grant every wish, like Aladdin's lamp, or that only a special elect of clergymen can ever understand.  The Bible is God's tool, first to lead us to salvation and second to edify us (II Tim. 3:15-17; Ramm, Prostestant Bible Interpretation, 96).  While Bible study requires effort, any believer is able to plumb its depths (Howard F. Vos, Effective Bible Study, 11).  Profitable and correct interpretation relies on the literal or Protestant view of Scripture.  In this view, the Bible is not a mystical code book, but a record of God's revelation written to be understood in its usual and natural implications and meanings (Ramm, Interpretation, 119).  Once the nature of the Bible is clear then systematic study can begin.  In  Methodical Bible Study, Robert Traina states that the first step in Bible study is observation or seeing a passage for what it clearly says (Robert A. Traina, Methodical Bible Study: A New Approach to Herneneutics, 31).  The second step, interpretation, involves determining the Scripture's meaning (Traina, Bible Study, 93).  Application involves putting this meaning into practice (Traina, Bible Study, 214).  Finally, correlation of other Scriptures with the specific verses studied is necessary to form a complete understanding of the Bible's teaching of the given subject (Traina, Bible Study, 223).  Then the class is ready to look at different methods of critical evaluation.  Two excellent books are Galatians by Merrill Tenney and Effective Bible Study by Howard Vos.  Both examine such approaches as the inductive method, the synthetic method,  the analytical method,  the critical method, the biographical method, and the devotional method.  Each of these methods should be clearly explained and brief assignments given on them in order that the disciples gain experience with these ways of study.  Finally, different Bible study tools should be presented and explained.  Since most people will not own these, the teacher should demonstrate their value to his class.  The first tool can be a reference Bible, either Schofield or Thompson's.  A demonstration of the chain reference system and other helps will be most practical.   Then, the instructor should present a concordance, Strong's or Young's, for consideration, showing how to locate forgotten passages and determine the lexical meaning of a word.  Similar to a concordance, yet with valuable features a concordance lacks, is a Nave's Topical Bible.  Nave groups passages not only by word identification but by subject as well.  Definitions of Biblical terms, short biographies, and historical summaries of great value can be found in Bible dictionaries.  Zondervan or Unger's Bible dictionaries are valuable aids.  A good Bible Atlas, such as Baker's or Zondervan's helps answer many geographical questions and add more interest to study.  Thus, the training class needs to impress on disciples the importance of God's Word as well as desire and knowledge to study it.

Evangelism

    Evangelism training comes next.  This requires not only training in methods but training in practice.  First, the teacher must pray for soul-winning passion, for himself and for his disciples.  Then he must exhort his class to see the unsaved on the road to Hell.  As Charles Peace, a notorious criminal, marched up to the gallows, a chaplain told Peace of Hell and Christ's salvation.  Peace replied, "Do you believe it?  If I believed that, I would willingly crawl across England on broken glass to tell men it was true."  By word, deed, and attitude, the teacher must cultivate a passion for the lost in his disciples.  Secondly, the teacher should give a survey of witnessing methods.  Some believe witnessing is strictly formal, either like a Graham crusade or at least a specially set aside night.  But witnessing is also informal.  We can speak to friends on the job, in the stores, and on the street, anywhere, anytime.  Paul E. Little, in How to Give Away Your Faith, demonstrates how believers often forget to take Christ into their whole lives (Little, How to Give Away Your Faith, , 20), and thus fail to really witness.  Also witnessing can be formal, such as in church laity outreach.  John Stott, in Our Guilty Silence, uncovers many reasons why believers are afraid to witness and gives ideas for church outreach (John R.W. Stott, Our Guilty Silence, 52-88).  A full discussion of methods is beyond the scope of this paper.  But a teacher should be aware of various methods.  Dr. Jarl Malwin, D.D.S., a lay preacher with a wide-spread youth ministry in Florida has five approaches he has found most successful.  First is the direct approach of asking a person if he is saved, or if he would like to be.  Second, an adaptation of the Roman Road, is an exposition of Romans 3, dealing with the great doctrines of Grace and Justice, Man and God, Christ and works, the Cross and Salvation.  Third is a presentation of the incomparable Christ, a presentation of Christ as God (John 1:1-3), Creator (Col. 1:15-17), Judge (John 5:22-24), Advocate (I John 2:1, 2), Lord (Phil. 2:9-11), Man Heb. 4:15, 16), and personal Savior (I John 4:9, 10).  Doc finds this means very effective, for while people may not listen about the meek and mild Jesus of sentimental hymns and paintings, they are impressed by the incomparable Christ of Scripture.  Fourth, he will begin with a discussion of Bible prophecy, a popular topic today, lead to the rapture and finally how to be saved and avoid the tribulation.  Fifth, is Doc's favorite and most effective method, a personal testimony of Christ.  A good selection on methods would be The Golden Path to Successful Personal Soul Winning by John R. Rice, The Divine Art of Soul Winning by J Oswald Sanders, How to Give Away Your Faith by Paul E. Little, Our Guilty Silence by John R.W. Stott, and True Evangelicalism by Lewis Sperry Chafer.  Third, is actual witness training.  Nothing can replace experience.  Christians should witness in pairs, usually an older believer with a younger one.  Actually witnessing is as necessary to follow-up training as classroom instruction.  D. James Kennedy in Evangelism Explosion (1-19), and John R.W.Stott in Our Guilty Silence, present methods that involve the whole church in evangelism, such as home meetings, witnessing at work, and house to house visitation (Stott, Silence, 52-88).  Evangelistic training involves deep knowledge, practical wisdom, personal experience, and a heart for the unsaved.

Fellowship

    Fellowship is an important but little developed subject.  In Assembling Together, Watchman Nee stresses that by its nature the Christian life had a corporate side as well as personal (Watchman Nee, Assembling Together, 2).  The first aspect of the Church is formal.  Nee explains the Biblical significance of worship on the Lord's Day, singing of hymns, the Lord's Supper, and other church observances.  The second aspect is interpersonal relationships to other believers.  Nee laments that many mature Christians do not know how to meet as a church or to edify others. (Nee, Assembling Together, 41).  Indeed, churches are often filled with bitterness and sin, which the Lord strongly warns against, for it defiles and troubles a church (Heb. 12:15).  This can be studied and used to lead into the Second major topic, personal holiness.

Personal Holiness

    Equipped with prayer, Bible study, evangelism, and fellowship, the tools to Christian living, the disciples are ready to learn about personal holiness.  Separation from sin is attacked by the secular world either as old fashioned or mentally dangerous.  Yet the Lord Jesus came and taught personal holiness in a world of unspeakable vice and cruelty.  Many drunks, adulterers, homosexuals, and thieves were saved and lived victorious lives (I Cor. 6:9-11).  Jay Adams has done much research to show that, contrary to modern psychology, sin is real.  He points out that the so-called mentally ill are really plagued by unconfessed sin in their lives (Jay E. Adams, Competent to Council, 28).  Holiness demands being of one mind with God, seeking to be like Christ, shunning sin, following after love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faith, meekness, self-control, and honesty (Gal. 5:22-24).  Holiness is important for several reasons.  First, God commands it (I Pet. 1:15, 16).  Second, Christ died to sanctify believers (Eph. 5:25-26).  Third, it is proof that Christ is our Lord (Bishop J.C, Ryle, Holiness, 40-42).  Christ pointedly asked, "And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?" (Lk. 6:46).   The means to reach personal holiness need to be taught.  Holiness is not for the gifted elite of saints but all believers.  First, a man must privately read Scripture, pray, and examine his spiritual growth.  Second, he needs to participate in the church and publicly worship, praise, and serve God.  Third, he will guide every detail of his public life in a Christ-like manner.  Fourth, he forms close friendships with spiritual brethren.  Finally, as a result of the above, a believer will cast himself to Christ (Ryle, Holiness, 91-96).  Recommended reading includes Competent to Counsel by Jay Adams, Release of the Spirit by Watchman Nee, Holiness by Bishop Ryle, and Men Made New by John R.W.Stott.

Basic Theology

    A third topic of study is Basic Theology.  Learning of God is the first lesson, of His attributes of Justice, Love, Omnipotence, and Eternity.  A.W. Tozer says that our ignoble concepts of God are the cause of most of the church's problems (A.W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy, 6).  In truth, Christians are like the Samaritans, worshipping we know not what.  Secondly, the Church's ignorance of God is equalled by it ignorance of the Lord Jesus Christ, our great God and Savior.  Christ's Deity is the cornerstone of the Bible, the Church and Salvation.  As Bishop Dunelon  says, "A Saviour not quite God is a bridge [spanning the gulf of sin and doom] broken at the farther end" (Sir Robert Anderson, The Lord From Heaven, 6).  Third, the Holy Spirit should be briefly studied here, but given a more complete treatment in "Gifts and Ministry."  Fourth, Satan must be looked at.  The "bogey man" of Christendom must be exposed as a mask and Satan's true working exposed.  Finally, standard theological terms like salvation, justification, righteousness, grace, faith, reconciliation, atonement, and redemption need to be defined.  Recommended reading will include: on God's attributes, Knowledge of the Holy by A.W. Tozer; on Christ, The Lord From Heaven by Sir Robert Anderson and The Incomparable Christ by J. Oswald Sanders; on the Spirit,  The Holy Spirit and His Gifts by J. Oswald Sanders and The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit by R.A. Torrey; on the Devil, Satan by Lewis Sperry Chafer and Biblical Demonology by Merrill Unger; and on theological terms, The Gospel and Its Ministry by Sir Robert Anderson and  Major Bible Themes by Lewis Sperry Chafer.

The Holy Spirit   

    The fourth topic concerns the Holy Spirit.  Since so much ignorance, and because of this ignorance, heresy, about the Holy Spirit abounds, a special section dealing with His Person and Gifts is necessary.  The Spirit is not spiritual electricity, or a force.  He is God, the same as Christ or the Father.  His gifts, given to certain believers by His sovereign choice, needs to be distinguished from His fruit, abounding holiness all believers can enjoy.  The nature of the gifts need to be explained. Finally, the teacher should encourage everyone to discover his gift, develop spiritual fruit, and find a ministry.

Conclusion of Training

    Thus, the training of a follow-up staff is complete.  Now, while the church trains a larger staff, those workers can begin to deal with new converts.  True, the workers have been taught only in the foundations.  Nevertheless, they are ready to edify both themselves and the believers under their care.

How To Follow-Up

    When a person accepts Christ, the witness must begin follow-up at once.  He needs to review the plan of salvation with the new Christian and give assurance of salvation.  Then, he gives a life verse for the new believer to hold to should doubts about salvation arise.  Two excellent verses are Ephesians 2:8-10 and Galatians 2:21.  Then, the witness obtains the new convert's name, address, and phone number, planning a visit the next day.

Contact With the New Disciple

    The new believer must be visited within twenty-four to forty-eight hours (Lorne Sanny, The Art of Personal Witnessing, 100).  Either the witness alone, if he is doing follow-up, or the witness and the follow-up worker, if another is chosen to follow-up, should go.  The new convert will know the witness and thus follow-up will not seem an invasion of his life.  Whoever is to follow-up needs to review the plan of salvation with him to make sure the new convert really accepted Christ.  Then the new convert needs to be given verses of assurance like Romans 8:28-39 or John 10:28-30.  Writing these verses on a slip of paper or underlining them in the new convert's Bible will help him remember them, also they can be printed up on cards.  Then, a friendly invitation to services plus a promise of a ride to church are in order.  Finally, a worker should assign the new believer to read Scripture on salvation, like Romans or Galatians.  Departing with prayer and a word of encouragement helps seal the new convert.

    Between the first visit and meeting at church, two things are required of the follow-up worker.  He needs to pray for his disciple every day, as Paul did (Phil. 1:9-11; Col. 1:9-11; I Thes. 3:10; Sanny, Witnessing, 99-100).  Also, phone calls or short visits can encourage the new convert.  If he has difficulties, the follow-up worker is already in contact with him.

Fellowship With the New Convert

    Taking the new convert to and involving him in church is the next step.  God ordained the church as a means of corporate growth (Eph. 4:14-16), not some man-made organization like Campus Crusade or Basic Youth Conflicts seminars.  While helpful, these are not the Body of Christ.  The Bible warns not to forsake the assembling of believers (Heb. 10:24-25).  The first thing for the follow-up worker to do is to pick up the new convert for church.  Thus, he can be sure the new convert will come.  Then, the follow-up worker should introduce his disciple individually to the church members.  An evangelistic church must radiate warmth and Christian love if it expects people to visit and join it.  A new convert's first impression of a church will determine if he wishes to stay.  Also, during the worship, the follow-up worker should sit with and gently guide his disciple through the service, for some new Christians may never have been in church before.  After church is a good time for the follow-up worker to set up a home follow-up class with his disciple.

Relationship With the New Disciple

    A warning is in order here.  Avoid keeping relationships with a disciple only church-oriented.  Show the disciple that Christian love is interested in him as a person, not a statistic.  A good way is to become his friend.  Occasionally, the follow-up worker and disciple should have lunch together, go to a sports event, hunt, fish, or have an evening together with friends.  Age, social backgrounds, income, and personal taste will influence choice of activities.  Nevertheless, there are many wholesome activities Christians can engage in.  As well, the aim is to involve a new believer with others in the church, not keeping him dependent on one person.  Invitations to church picnics, bowling night, men's or women's meetings, and visitation do the job nicely.  This is why a home meeting is important.  The new convert will not be dislocated, will not attach Christ just to church, but be shared by a new friend in a familiar setting.  If the disciple's home, for some reason, is unsuitable, the follow-up worker can make his home available.  The time of the meetings should be mutually agreed upon.  They should meet once a week for a time of prayer, and hour of solid study, then informal fellowship.  The follow-up worker must never make a nuisance of himself.

Materials for Follow-Up

    The selection of training materials for the new convert is essential.  The follow-up worker may use his outline from training class.  However, since he is a mature Christian dealing with a new believer, perhaps a "milk" diet is better (Heb. 5:12-14).  The Navigators have an excellent series of workbooks suited for new Christians called "Studies in Christian Living."  The first six books are devoted to doctrine.  They present a question and give a Scripture reference so the reader can find and formulate the doctrine.  Teacher and disciple can alternate answering questions and commenting on the other's answers.  Here the follow-up worker can use his deeper knowledge.  But let him use it wisely.  The purpose of the lesson is to train the new convert, not overwhelm him with superior knowledge.  The best way is to let the disciple answer first, then, if need be, the follow-up worker can supplement.  Otherwise, the new convert may become discouraged that he is not already at his teacher's level.  But the teacher will need his greater knowledge, for the new convert will ask many questions and the follow-up worker should be able to give an answer.  For example, a Jehovah's Witness may have given the new believer a book attacking Christ's Deity, and the follow-up worker must be prepared to meet this challenge.  The lessons get gradually more demanding, requiring more study, hence more growth.  Also, the books will introduce a topic simply at first and expand it.  For example, Christ is introduced as Man and Deity in Book One, lesson one, but His Lordship is not developed until Book Two, lesson two.  Once the reader reflects on Christ's person, he is ready to see Christ's leadership.  Also, the Bible is introduced in Book Two, lesson three and developed in Book Three, lesson two.  Unlike many Bible studies, Navigators teaches the new convert how to mine the Scriptures themselves.  Books Seven, Eight, and Nine are verse by verse studies of some short books of the Bible and Book Ten starts independent Bible study.  The books include, in a simple format, all that the follow-up worker learned in class.  Navigator workbooks are complete and well-organized.

Example of Follow-Up

    Training includes application as well as learning.  Here again, the follow-up worker is the leader, in teaching and example.    He should meet with his disciple every day, at a time of mutual agreement, for a half hour of prayer and devotional Bible study.  He cannot merely tell, he must show his disciple the reasons and values of spiritual exercise.  Also, the follow-up worker should take his disciple to church, encourage him to make friends with other Christians.  He ought to take his disciples out on evangelism and visitation, showing first hand how to lead others to Christ.  In personal counselling with his disciple, the follow-up worker can demonstrate his personal holiness by patience, firmness, tack, and love.  He should be able to give personal examples of the Lord's dealings to encourage his disciples.  The follow-up worker's whole life should be an example of God's working.

Attitude of Follow-Up

    The follow-up worker's attitude should be Christ-like.  In training His disciples, Christ had to deal with many petty feuds and personality conflicts.  Though firm and gentle, He never lost His temper or ignored sin.  Follow-up work is not easy.  If not viewed from Christ's perspective and strengthened by His grace, it can be frustrating.  Good attitudes are basic for the follow-up worker.  He needs to remember he is not to preach but to guide and teach.  He should relax and keep his sense of humor.  The follow-up worker must be enthusiastic in a way to encourage his disciple.  He needs to allow his disciple freedom of expression and not ridicule him for being excited over discovering an obvious truth (Ada Lum, How to Begin an Evangelistic Bible Study, 25,26).  He has to be dependable.  He must show that the Bible is the final authority.  But most of all, to do his work the best, the disciple must do it as unto the Lord, not men (Col. 3:17).

Goal of Follow-Up

    The goal of this program is to present every believer perfect in Christ (Col. 1:28).  The believer should be strong in the foundations of the faith, with the desire and knowledge to grow.  He will be an active part of the church, now able to lead and teach others of Christ.  But, even more important, he will grow more like Christ and be closer to his Lord.  Yet, without prayer and work, this goal, nor any goal, cannot be reached.  Follow-up is not an easy, glamorous job.  It is slow, painful, hard work.  Yet, when the follow-up worker sees another become established in the faith, the joy makes the effort worth it.

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