New Believer Follow Up
Christian bookstores and blogs are full tips, hints and strategies for meaningful growth. Some of them are outstanding. Others, well, not so much. They all center on two basic ideas. One, how do we get new people through the door? Two, how do we insure we get new believers involved into the life of the church?
We can learn much from the early church in their first week of existence. They had what may be the best "New Believer Follow Up" program ever. It is simple. It is effective. And it breaks down into four things.
- 1. Teaching
- 2. Togetherness
- 3. Supper
- 4. Supplication
Authors and experts have spilled oceans of ink over the years on these verses. One thought before we move forward. We need to read Scripture and determine if each passage is either prescriptive or descriptive. In other words, does these verses command God's people to do something (prescriptive)? Or do they simply tell us what was going on (descriptive)? I believe these verses do a little of both. And some of the confusion and debate over Acts 2:42 centers on that issue. And at times, it appears that God's Word may not be mandating certain activities, but giving us a good blueprint to follow.
Luke describes their basic flow and methodology in v42. He gives us four activities to which the members of the infant church devoted themselves. The Greek verb here is proskaptereo, found here as a present active participle. It has a couple of shades of meaning. First, it indicates a persistence, devotion and perseverance to something. Second, it means to closely attach oneself and be continually ready for something or someone.
These 3120+ members of the first church were devoted. They were persistent. They didn't let a little bad weather or little league ball games get in the way of their new found faith. They reorganized their priorities and lives around what it meant to be followers of Jesus. They closely associated themselves with this amazing new movement. And they were continually ready. Ready to show the love of Jesus to their new brothers and sisters. Ready to see what God was going to do next.
Are you devoted? Or do you simply "go to church?" Is your devotion to Christ and His church a day to day focus? Or are you just a "weekend warrior?"
The first point of devotion was to the apostles' teaching. This is NOT to say that these 12 men were simply making stuff up. In the first century, to be an apostles was a very serious duty. An apostle is an official representative of someone who has granted them his full rights and responsibilities. When you interacted with one's apostle, it was as if you were interacting with the one who sent them. So these 12 men were teaching what the One who sent them had instructed. They were fulfilling Jesus' command at the Great Commission (Mt 28:18-20). In other words, this wasn't some made up message. All they had was what we call the Old Testament and whatever Jesus taught about it. They taught what Jesus taught.
Are we teaching people God's Word?
The second point of their devotion was to fellowship. Again, let's make sure we say what this is not. This is not fried chicken and Jello salad on Wednesday nights. This is a daily devotion to their newfound brothers and sisters. They sought each other out. They spent time together. They got to know each other. Fellowship (koinonia) is essential because relationships are essential. God designed life to be lived in community. The Trinity is a model of perfect self-giving community. Even before the Fall in the midst of His perfect creation, God announced, "It is not good for man to be alone" (Gen 2:18). We need each other.
Are you a Lone Ranger Christian or in encouraging relationships with other believers?
Third, the baby church was devoted "to the breaking of bread." Some believe this is daily observance of the Lord's Supper. Honestly, I think this is getting together for meals. Nothing deepens a friendship like eating together. You really get to know someone when you share a meal. Look at the life of Jesus. So much of the meaningful moments of His ministry revolved around meal time. Did these times include celebrating the Lord's Supper? Undoubtedly. But it was not limited to that.
Do you regularly hang out over a plate of food with other Christ followers?
The fourth and final point of devotion was to "the prayers." Once you hear God's Word taught, once you really get to know other believers, once you open your home and eat meals together, you will naturally pray for one another.
Are you praying with and for other Christ followers?
So, does this verse describe or prescribe? I'll let you make that call yourself. At the very least, it's certainly a wonderful model to follow. And it certainly seems to work. "The Lord added to their number day by day those being saved" (v47). That's what I call New Believer Follow Up!
Are you devoted?
Created over 2 years ago