GLEANINGS (September 27, 2016):
- CLIFTON BEACH, Queensland – Maximising follow-up effectiveness
- MORDIALLOC, Victoria – What are Christian leaders thinking?
- CHINA/PENNSYLVANIA – Chinese leaders and churches need urgent prayer
- GROVE, Oklahoma – Renewing our daily strength encouragement
Sound assistance in retaining new Christians in churches
Our new books, Christian Life Coach Training Manual and Discover! Discipleship by Discussions, are about maximising effective follow up of new Christians. We trace the key steps that led to a breakthrough after which we kept up to 65% of new converts.
Some time back we realised that follow up by one-on-one counsellors alone had kept no more than 25% of decisions. Indeed surveys showed that three out of every four people walked away from Christ, many never to return to a church. How tragically inadequate were our concepts and systems! There had to be something better!
Inspiration – but with a humbling condition
While preparing an Adelaide church of 150 for a 10-day evangelistic event, we cried out to God for answers. God gave our pastors this prophecy: ‘When you are ready to care for them, as I want them cared for, I will send them in!’ How inspiring!
But then the Holy Spirit added a humbling condition: ‘To care as I care!’ God was calling us to love as God loves new Christians. We cried out that Romans 5:5 prayer: ‘God, pour your love into our hearts for every new Christian, so we love truly as You love, as fully, as passionately as you do!’ and also, ‘Show us how to keep all who turn to you.’ God gladly poured His love for others into our hearts.
That change of heart led us to run a special ‘Follow up Gathering’ on the 11th night following the evangelism event. Our faithful counsellors brought along every one of the 56 people who had made a decision. The place was filled with the Holy Spirit of love connecting every new Christian, heart-to-heart with our people!
New Christians need to feel they are welcome in their new family!
Listening, sharing, tears, prayers and hugs made the new people feel welcomed into the family of God. Three months later 38 of those new people remained, all eager to be trained as Christian life coaches, ready to follow up the next wave of people God would send in.
God indeed sent in people who wanted to follow Christ, as he had promised! And he continues to do so.
That follow-up gathering was the pilot for our Discover! Course, an interactive11-week Bible study designed especially for new Christians, modelled on Jesus’ discipleship-by-discussion group.
That Adelaide church grew to 1200 in the next decade with retention of new Christians mostly around 65%. Those we loved into God’s family became the next generation of loving Christian life coaches.
We kept the name ‘counsellor’ but in our hearts we had become something more, as the apostle Paul describes himself as a ‘spiritual mother’ – ‘We were gentle among you, like a mother caring for her little children. We loved you so much, that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God, but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us!’ (1 Thessalonians 2:7, 8).
We continued to use these successful methods where God called us to a small church in Canberra, and later into the communist-dominated nation of Estonia. On return to Australia we travelled around for a decade helping churches here and overseas to maximise their care of new Christians.
And we’ve share from our years of experience as pastors, missionaries in post-Communist Estonia, Bible college principal, authoring and, as mentioned above, church planting in Canberra. For decades our lives have been devoted to making more ‘decisions’ into disciples of Jesus Christ. Now thousands of trained life coaches populating God’s kingdom.
We are convinced God has in his heart to give every church much success – just as he promised.
Christian Life Coach is a complete training course for life coaches as one-on-one carers for new Christians, containing practical guidelines on the first steps in making disciples for Christ. A comprehensive follow-up system that can retain up to 65% of new believers, it’s also a reference manual with an extensive resources catalogue.
Discover is a training manual reminder that secular personal trainers are paid to coach people striving to reach their goals in sport, fitness and other disciplines. And that every new Christian also needs a Christian personal life coach to launch them into a committed Christian life.
A Christian Life coach assists a new Christian to fulfil the goals of Jesus, thereby becoming more like Jesus. This training manual equips such coaches to train, support, and care for new Christians.
Other available books include DISCOVER! Discipleship-by-discussion Course (Leader and Students books), Praying for New Christians, Pentecostal Ministerial Ethics, Home Fellowship Handbook.
Links: Encouragement Enterprises Inc, PO Box 67 Clifton Beach, Queensland 4879 / Harry Leesment: +61 402 050 131 / firstname.lastname@example.org
New Trinity Leadership Products Facebook innovation
Called What’s on the Minds of Christian Leaders Today? this weekly forum’s topic is shared by many different ministries and leaders in strategic positions.
These posts are in the areas of professional interest, academic research, book reviews and social concerns and the challenging forum’s objectives are to empower, encourage and provide…
- Empower – help build and support the community of Christian leaders
- Encourage – discussion of topics that are on the minds of Christian leaders
- Provide – opportunity for networking for leaders of similar interests.
ConnectingwithYou Life Focus Ministries had an article, Listening – and Acting! posted last week –
Links: https://www.facebook.com/TrinityLeadershipProducts/ / Mob: +61 (0) 419 787 513 / email@example.com / www.trinitylead.com / PO Box 5314, Mordialloc, Vic, 3195
PENNSYLVANIA / CHINA
Crosses in China forcibly removed
I just received word that over the next few days Chinese house churches are calling for nationwide prayer for religious freedom in their country.
Persecution inside China has increased ‘where church leaders are going to prison, are being sent to mental institutions, are being beaten and tortured and ‘where crosses have been forcibly removed from now over 1,800 churches since 2014.’ (Writer Jesse Carey of Relevant Magazine reporting).
I am convinced that what we see in these pictures visibly represents what Satan would like to do in the heart of every Christian in the world, break our faith in Jesus Christ and the power of his name, his cross, his blood.
Would you join in fasting and prayer for the cross to be lifted high in this world and Satan’s plans broken?
Jesus, Son of God, Saviour of the world, said, ‘Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him. For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.’ (John 3:14-16). He also said, ‘If I am lifted up, I will draw all men unto me’ (John 12:32).
I want to help our brothers and sisters to lift Jesus’ cross in China. Would you like to join me?
Hope Flinchbaugh has a heart for the kingdom and China. She is an author, freelance writer, ghostwriter and editor. Link: firstname.lastname@example.org / http://liftjesuscross.com / www.HopeEditors.com / Hope4nk@gmail.com
Like young women everywhere, Mei Lin longs for an education, a career– even love. But the system she lives in doesn’t tolerate religious belief, and Mei Lin’s faith is as profound as it is simple. Must she abandon her beliefs to have the life she’s dreamed of? This Catherine Marshall Christy Award of Excellence 2003 novel will linger in the mind long after the last page has been read.
If you slow down, you go down!
‘But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint’ declares Isaiah 40:31 (ESV).
In the past, I led an active lifestyle, running and exercising to stay fit. Next month, I’m facing knee replacement surgery.
I can’t experience the thrill of a runner’s high anymore. When my running days were over, I was forced to race walk. Now, I walk with a sturdy stick to help me navigate through my neighbourhood. Osteoarthritis has set in because of the breakdown of joint cartilage, limiting my movements and causing pain.
When you’re used to being physically active and can no longer enjoy those things you have in the past, you have to adapt. There are days when I climb stiffly out of bed. I find the aging of my temporal body hard to accept.
One recent morning recently, I felt sorry for myself, silently lamenting my limitations. Then, I opened the shades covering the back door to my deck where I spied four squirrels chasing each other on the railing. Watching their playful antics, I was filled with joy. After a good laugh, I realised how blessed I am.
Other than bad knees, I’m in good health. Although I can’t run anymore, God renews my strength each day. In 2 Corinthians 4:16, Paul reminds us not to lose heart: ‘Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.’
George Sweeting once said, ‘Experts in aging make a distinction between passive aging and purposeful aging. Successful, purposeful aging calls for continued involvement, relationships, discipline, and an attitude of faith.’
Making the most of life
On a website dedicated to Pastor Sweeting’s memory, his son wrote, ‘Dad modelled retirement for all of us. His idea of retirement was not golfing in Florida or Arizona. In fact, I don’t think he believes in retirement. Many people these days don’t believe in heaven. So the retirement dream for them becomes a kind of secular heaven. But dad believes you don’t really retire. You keep serving the Lord and mentoring the next generation as long as you can.’
The dedication goes on: ‘Not only is this a great investment, and not only does this kind of serving prolong your life, but I sense dad really believes it will be rewarded by heaven’s rest. So for him, a big fat retirement down here is not an option. And slowing down is not a happy prospect. He sometimes says, “Life is like water skiing, when you slow down, you go down!”’
Although an aging body does require us to modify our activities, one thing will never change. God’s promises through his word can renew our spiritual and even physical strength, day after day, regardless of age or physical condition. After all, age is just a number.
Writing to spread the good news, encouraging others on their journey and mentoring younger women gives me a sense of purpose since ‘retirement’ from education.
Are you making the most of the life and the strength that is yours for today?
Mount up with wings of eagles and make the most of life!
Carol Round follows her passion of using her writing and speaking abilities to inspire others. Recommended: Journaling with Jesus: How to Draw Closer to God and Nana’s 3 Jars: Giving Generously (first of three children’s books to teach children about giving, saving and spending). Link: http://www.amazon.ca/Nanas-3-Jars-Giving-Generously/dp/0692280197. Other links – Carol’s A Matter of Faith weekly column: email@example.com / www.carolaround.com / www.assistnews.net
Disclaimer: Articles, as well as the sources linked to, do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ConnectingwithYou! Our thanks mainly to Dan Wooding, ASSIST and other news sources for timely gleanings. Readers can receive a complimentary subscription to ANS by going to the above website and signing up at www.assistnews.net