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  • Writer's pictureDarrell Stetler II

Discipleship Habits Your New Believers MUST Develop

Ah, the joy of seeing a new believer saved! They're starting an adventure full of growth, questions, and, let's be honest, a few stumbles along the way. As pastors, we've got a front-row seat to this transformation, and it's our privilege to guide these precious fresh faces on their path.

But let's face the music: juggling the demands of ministry often leaves us feeling like we're spread thinner than the last bit of jam on toast. But in the midst of this pastoral hustle, we're constantly seeking ways to be more effective in discipling our flock without adding hours to our already packed schedules.

Drawing from over two decades of pastoral experience and the countless cups of coffee shared with new believers eager to grow, I've seen firsthand the transformative power of simple, consistent habits. So, let's talk about the discipleship habits that are essential for your new believers to develop, ensuring that your ministry can make disciples without wasting time and energy on things that just don't work.

Discipleship Habits Your New Believers MUST Develop title graphic

Discipleship Habit #1: Bible Reading

Starting with the basics, Bible reading is the bedrock of discipleship. But it's not just about ticking off chapters; it's about encountering God. Encourage new believers to dive into Scripture daily, not as a chore, but as an exciting opportunity to hear from the Creator of the universe. And here's a tip from someone who's been in the trenches: guide them to start with the Gospels. Seeing Jesus in action lays a solid foundation for everything that follows.

Discipleship Habit #2: Bible Engagement: Meditation, Obedience, Asking Questions

Now, reading is one thing, but engaging with Scripture? That's where the gold is found. Meditation, obedience, and asking questions are the tools that turn reading into transformation. Teach your new believers to chew on Scripture, pondering its meaning and applying it to their lives. Encourage them to ask questions, no matter how simple or complex.

Something we use at my church to make this possible is the NewStart Discipleship Journal. It is more than a Bible reading plan. It's about engagement... teaching, meditation, writing down questions, and more.

In fact, you can download a free copy right here:

Discipleship Habit #3: Prayer: Talking Back to God

Prayer is our direct line to God, a two-way conversation that builds our relationship with Him. It's about responding to what we've read in the Bible, bringing our concerns, joys, and everything in between to God. I often say, "Prayer is talking back to God about what He just said to us through His Word, plus whatever is weighing on our hearts." It's a habit that keeps the dialogue with God open and vibrant.

That's why each day of whatever discipleship tool you use for new Christians should include prayer resources to help make it real for them. Personally, every day of that NewStart Journal I was talking about includes a quiet, meditative "Praying the Psalms" moment, using a video like this one each day:

For more info, you can download the Journal above!

Discipleship Habit #4: Obedience: Taking Action

Knowledge without application is like a car without gas—it's not going anywhere. Obedience is the natural next step after hearing from God. It's about putting into practice what we've learned, making changes in our lives that align with God's will. This step of faith is where real growth happens!

The truth? You don't obey, you don't grow spiritually, you die spiritually!

The goal of discipleship is holiness --Christlikeness! So let's make sure whatever discipleship plan we use, we're focusing our new Christians on obedience!

Discipleship Habit #5: Gratitude: The Anchor in Storms

Gratitude is a powerful habit, especially in the whirlwind of brand new faith. For a moment, put yourself in the shoes of a new believer... it's hard. Relationships are changing, and sometimes ending. Support systems are being flipped upside down, in many cases. This makes gratitude all the more important! It's the act of pausing to thank God for what we have—our salvation, our blessings, even in the midst of trials... that roots us in God's goodness, reminding us of His faithfulness through every season.

This is why the NewStart Discipleship Journal includes a gratitude moment on every single page: "Here's what I'm thankful for today!"

Discipleship Habit #6: Community

No one is meant to walk this journey alone. Connecting with a mentor and fellow believers provides support, wisdom, and encouragement. It's in these relationships that faith is strengthened, questions are answered, and we're reminded that we're part of something much bigger than ourselves. Plus, there's nothing quite like the joy of sharing life's ups and downs with your spiritual family.

This is why the NewStart Discipleship Journal includes a reminder to reach out to a mentor every single day. Why? Because it's about a spiritual family, not a Lone Ranger Christian!

Quick reminder, you can download this habit-forming Journal here, for free:

Discipleship Habit #7: Worship Attendance

Finally, gathering with other Christians for worship is not just a nice-to-have; it's biblical. It's in these moments, as we lift our voices together in praise and prayer, that we're reminded of the grand Gospel story we're a part of.

It might feel awkward to insist that people attend worship. Don't let it. It's vital!

Busyness must not stop us from developing these habits

From the State of Discipleship Report from the Barna Group, it's evident that Christian leaders and laypeople alike identify "becoming more Christ-like" as the core of spiritual growth. But the general "busyness" of life and a lack of commitment to discipleship pushes back against that goal. This research is clear -- our commitment to cultivating habits that foster spiritual growth among new believers is absolutely crucial!

There you have it, friends.

Now, remember, you're not in this alone. As a pastor, and as the founder of NewStart Discipleship, I've found that focusing on these habits not only transforms the lives of new believers but also brings a fresh vitality to our congregations. And isn't that what we all want? To see our churches alive with disciples growing in their faith, ready to take on the world with the love of Jesus?

So let's roll up our sleeves and get to work, not by adding more to our plates, but by guiding our new believers in developing these life-changing habits. Together, we'll see the kingdom of God flourish, one transformed life at a time.

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