My job is not to preach alone! I love to preach and am probably better at being a preacher than about anything else. It has occurred to me that to be somewhat eloquent or thrilled by own sermonizing is not a good determination of my effectiveness. Some uncomfortable questions:
How many were born again in our church last year? Three years ago? Five years ago?
How many of those are serving God today?
Were those spiritual babies given the same care a baby in the natural received? Does a baby bird have a better chance of survival than one of my spiritual new-born?
There may be a nursery for the saint’s kids; is there a spiritual nursery outfitted for the born again?
Is it possible for a baby to starve in the presence of good healthy food? Would you feed a two-week-old a steak? Do we feed a two-week-old spiritual baby a ninety-minute Bible study on the silver sockets in the tabernacle in the wilderness? Would the new convert understand it and be built up? Did the newcomer get any more spiritual nutrition from last week’s Bible study or sermon than the two-week-old would get from the steak?
If no newborns survive can the flock of God ever grow? Birth is exciting but a species can become extinct if none of those born grow to maturity.
What can you do about what you just diagnosed? Think of three practical steps you could take to care and build up the newest members of your church. Consider specific roles needed in the church to best care for newcomers.
Are you willing to invest as much effort into discipleship as you put into converting them? Hospitals are expensive and the pain of delivery intense, but the greater cost of time, money, and (in most instances) parental effort, comes after birth rather than before. This is the normal. Conversion is five percent; following up the decision to repent, be baptized, and receive the Holy Ghost is ninety-five percent. Disciple-making does not just happen!
Making disciples is everyone’s job and takes the entire church. The pastor is certainly in charge of the hospital, but it takes a full staff in the delivery room and a caring family at home to raise a child. Every pastor needs help to make sure a new convert isn’t stranded after a “delivery room” conversion experience.
Jack Cunningham’s missionary friend had it right: “You can’t grow Jesus kingdom or the local church if you do not close the back door!”
It is time to think and to apply. The busy pastor’s way of making more disciples is part of the tools provided at my “Not an Ostrich Packet.”I guarantee the resource’s benefit or your money back . . . and you keep the resources! Now . . . here is the deal – if you don’t follow my plan to make disciples find some system and use it. Create your own . . . but don’t let Jesus spiritual babies die.