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As we enter a new year, some group leaders may be considering the idea of opening up their small groups and welcoming new members. Should you choose to open your group up, you may likely be introduced to a person who is a brand new believer in Christ. This season of a new believer’s life is crucial, and the Lord has chosen you to guide this particular person through their very first small group experience. As a new believer attends your small group, there are three key components that they will begin to experience:
Truth Through Community
In the information era that we live in today, we are not lacking in our access to information. Instead, where we are lacking is the level of relational connectivity through which truthful information is communicated. Truth is best conveyed through relationships and a small group becomes an excellent way to incorporate relationship-driven truth into a new believer’s life. In some cultures, a new believer may be ignored, shunned, or ostracized from their friends and family after they give their life to Christ. When the world mocks them or tries to shame them into remembering who they used to be in their old life, the new believer’s small group becomes a home base for them to receive more truth, a rock upon which they can anchor their new life to.
Sanctification Through Accountability
For the new believer, accepting the larger truth of Jesus as their Lord and savior is merely the beginning of the journey of being a Christ-follower. Indeed, helping a new believer to understand their faith, giving them guidance along their walk, and providing encouragement to them are all extremely important components to the overall process of sanctification. This ongoing process is the journey through which we become more Christ-like for the remainder of our time here on Earth, and small groups are a stellar way to assist the new believer in this realm. Through the vehicle of relational truth, small group members are able to minister to one another and create a system of accountability that challenges each other to grow in a specific area of their lives. Within the context of a small group, the new believer doesn’t have to drink from the proverbial “fire hydrant of holiness,” desperately trying to soak it all in and get it all right by tomorrow. Instead, they can come back the next week and continue to work at their faith (at the speed of which the Holy Spirit is moving within their lives).
Knowledge Through Learning
With there being an abundance of information that is accessible to us, we are tasked today with the responsibility of discerning that which is accurate and that which is not. For new believers that may be coming from a different faith or an atheistic worldview, the knowledge that they have may be misinformed or uninformed. Since small groups encourage dialogue to take place, a new believer’s pursuit of knowledge can be catered to their personal situation. From week to week, conversation has the ability to be based upon the circumstances that they are currently experiencing or the questions that they ask. As a result, the information about Christianity that they receive in the small group can serve as a backdrop for which their ongoing accountability can be placed against. In other words, the new believer will not only discover what to do today as a Christian, but also why they are called to do so and how they can get there.
We are all called to equip God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up (Ephesians 4:12). By encouraging a new believer to join a small group as soon as possible, the church can help foster consistent spiritual growth and prepare the individual to eventually utilize their own spiritual gifts for ministry. When a new believer begins to achieve these three key components through their small group, they will then experience supernatural change in their life and the lives of others around them in a powerful way that reflects the incredible love of Jesus Christ.