When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:37
If the church has failed at anything it’s answering the “What shall we do?” question. Either we have no plan or strategy to take immature believers and help them grow into mature believers or we make it so darn complicated by creating endless classes to attend or a checklist ti fulfill.
Peter kept the initial step pretty basic. Be baptized and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The Church has complicate this over the years. We make people sign cards, attend classes, and we wind up with more knowledgeable but powerless believers.
There is nothing wrong with classes but the real classroom is the real world where stuff happens. Stuff we cannot control. Stuff that has no pat answers. Classrooms are where we learn platitudes and “how it’s done”. What happens when a new believer discovers that platitudes and bumper sticker theology doesn’t work in the real classroom of life?
I don’t disciple teens for the church world but for the real world.
I disciple students for real world encounters. I don’t baby them. I don’t pretend that life does not occasionally suck. I teach them that God is real even when life does suck.
My plan is simple:
1. Build relationships through community
2. Lead kids to Jesus
3. Ask them to make their faith public (baptism and lifestyle)
4. Be accountable for their commitment.
5. Start using your gifts and talents immediately.
6. Without the Bible, your faith is unsustainable. Study it.
7. Take steps of faith (giving, missions, and evangelism)
8. Let the Holy Spirt guide you, empower you, and bless you.
Yes, each point has sub-points and nuances, but they’re all done though relationships, not through an information dump. Classes don’t disciple people, people disciple people.
What is your answer to a new believer who says, “What shall we do?”
Who are you discipling right now?
How simple or complicated are you making it?