Andrews University (Avondale)
Date of Award
Master of Arts (Theology) MA(Theol)
Arts & Theology
Ministry and Theology
Alwyn P. Salom
Problem: One of the serious problems confronting the church today is the number of newly baptised members who are not trained effectively to make disciples. There appears to be a widespread lethargy in this area. This has been evidenced in the noticeable lack of co-ordinated motivation among the newly baptised to disciple for Christ. The importance of post-baptismal instruction and training programmes have not been taken seriously in many localities. It was the purpose of this project to provide new converts with an understanding of their responsibility for discipling, and to motivate them to use their 'social network' for evangelistic purposes.
Method; A study was undertaken of the Biblical passages relating to disciple making within the circle of the new converts' relatives, friends and acquaintances. This was supplemented by the writings of Ellen G. White. Current volumes on human behaviour and communication written by modern social scientists and church growth specialists were also used. A simple yet comprehensive programme was drawn up which would help new converts to understand both their responsibility to discipling and their need to interact continually with relatives, friends and acquaintances. A pilot programme consisting of three three-hour sessions was conducted and was attended by thirteen participants. The seminar series involved an understanding of the newly baptised Christian's responsibility to discipling within his own 'circles of influence'.
Results: As a result of the time spent together, the thirteen participants increased their awareness of their responsibility to make disciples from within their own 'social network'. A survey was conducted at the commencement of the series with both this working group and a control group. A post-seminar survey of the working group provided information for comparison and assessment. Comments and discussion also provided ideas and information which cannot be assessed in a survey. The sessions stimulated the working group toward a better understanding of the Gospel Commission, both objectively and subjectively. This will lead to a training and disciple making process that will result in effective and measurable church growth.
Conclusion: Considerable encouragement is derived from this project which suggests that the newly baptised will witness spontaneously if rightly trained and equipped. The long term results will ultimately testify to the success of the programme. It is important that the Church play a vigorous role in the nurturing and training of new converts, especially in the post-baptismal stage.
Porter, G. C. (1984). Social interaction of new converts for evangelistic outreach to the community (Master's project). Andrews University, Avondale Campus, Australia.