We have three grandchildren now. Reid, who is the oldest, just turned 2 years old. Kasen is within days of being six months old and Kallie is just over one month old. They were with us on Friday night and Saturday. We had a great time with them. I re observed one thing---they are totally dependent on who is taking care of their needs. They are totally self-centered, but what do you expect out of children who are two years old or less?
New believers are pretty much just like my grandchildren. They are self-centered because the world has taught them that. Since childhood they have built one foundation on another until there are layers of "self" that will not dissipate overnight. Like the way we train a child, we must help the new believer put self to death daily and begin living for Christ.
I spent about four hours yesterday designing a time line for three fall projects. It is scary, but crucial in meeting the needs of the seeker to the youngest Christian to the most mature child of God.
I will be spending the next four months planning and executing the framework for our first Alpha Course in September. It will require a significant number of committed people and lots of "behind the scenes" preparation. I believe that this new endeavor will be monumental for the church's future and our attempt to live out The Great Commission. I expect it to reach people that we would ordinarily never reach and infuse our people with a resolve to win people to Christ.
We will also be introducing our second semester of Abundant Life University in September. We will offer the courses that we think out people need the most and that will have the biggest impact on their lives at the present. Some courses may be four weeks and some may be 12-13 weeks, with others in between. We will devote whatever time frame is needed to cover the material. Again, this will take a number of committed folks, lots of planning, and effective execution. The pay-off is giving people an opportunity to mature in their faith over a period of time.
The Track for New Christians will also be rolled out. It will include six months of small group discipleship, which will include mentoring by more seasoned believers. The new believer will move through five small group opportunities, all the while being mentored by their original mentor with less and less mentorship. As the mentor lets go, the small group leader will take on more of the guidance. This program will require some commitment and dedication by those who desire to be a mentor, but the pay-off is rewarding for everyone.
At the end of the first six-month period, the person being mentored will have the opportunity to become part of a Life Track Bible Study designed just for them. At the end of the first year, we hope to incorporate these folks into the mainstream and encourage participation in the Abundant Life University and other discipleship vehicles that we will be offering.
Maybe 3-5 years later we will have helped some believers in putting death to self and rising in Christ-likeness. Pray for us that we will have the leadership to bring this to reality.