Download STEP EIGHT here –> DOWNLOAD
God did not only intend for us to share our faith with others, but also to shepherd those new followers of Jesus. The sad thing is that many people hear the gospel, respond to the message but are then left alone to sort out their own Christian life. This leads to spiritual immature people that are not good examples of what a follower of Jesus should be.
Spiritual infants are characterized by ignorance, confusion and dependence. Most Christians are stuck in this stage because they were converted but left in the nursery.
The beliefs, values, attitudes, and behaviors of spiritual infants include the following:
- Ignorance about what they need spiritually and what the Bible says about life and the purpose of a Christian.
- Ignorance about or frustration toward Christianity and the church.
- Belief that Christians make no mistakes; unrealistic expectations of themselves and others.
- A belief that they are defined as the culture would define them.
- A worldly perspective about life with some spiritual truth mixed in.
- Mixing some of Christianity with some of other religions but not knowing it.
Some of the representative things they may say:
- “I believe in Jesus, but my church is when I’m in the woods.”
- “I don’t have to go to church to be a Christian.”
- “I gave my life to Jesus and I go to church, but I don’t need to be close to other people.”
- “I don’t have time to be in relationship with another Christian.”
- “My spouse is my accountability partner; I don’t need anyone else.”
- “I pray and read my Bible; that is good enough for me.”
- “My ministry is my secular work; I don’t have time for the church.”
- “I didn’t know the Bible said that.”
- “We were born as spirit children in heaven before we were.”
This why shepherding is so important. A spiritual infant need a spiritual parent to help take care of them, to teach new truths and model new habits.
Share your life
Someone said, “Spiritual infants don’t know what they don’t know.” Some spiritual infants may or may not have been to church, but this stage of their life is a very demanding stage! It requires patience and effort. From the beginning of this stage we want to gently push them towards a place where they are not dependant on constant care. We want to help them grow to a spiritual child.
Sharing your life with them means sharing time with them. For a spiritual infant to grow and become a healthy child, they will need someone who takes the time to care of them. Once a week in a group meeting will not be effective. We need to share our lives with those we are discipling. It includes eating meals together, having fun together, hanging out together.
As a disciple-maker you need to be available to answer questions and respond to teachable moments. Even though Jesus had thousands of people wanting His time, He consistently withdrew from the crowds to spend focused time with the Twelve. As disciple-makers, we must do the same.
Read the following accounts and see how Jesus opened His life to His disciples. Luke 5:27-32; Luke 7:36-50; Luke 11:38-42. What happened? Who was there? What did Jesus do with them?
The following exercise contains possible questions and situations that you might encounter when discipling a spiritual infant.
An infant disciple comes to you with the following questions. Rate them on a scale of urgency:
1 = means very urgent and must be answered ASAP.
2 = means that we should get back to the individual if we have time.
3 = means it can wait until our next regular meeting.
____ A. “What kind of Bible should I buy?”
____ B. “My husband and I just had an argument over my church involvement. How should I have responded?”
____ C. “A guy at work said that Jesus will return next September. Is that true?”
____ D. “My old pal just called and asked me to come to a party tonight. There will be drugs and alcohol there, but I
think God is calling me to go be a witness. What should I do?”
____ E. “I just read where Jesus said disciples must hate their families. Is that true?”
____ F. “My business partner gave me reasons why he is going to leave his wife. How should I help him?”
____ G. “How should I dress for church this Sunday?”
Answers may vary, but we think the most urgent questions are B, D, and F. How well would you be able to answer the above questions? It’s perfectly fine if you don’t have all the answers. What is important is that your faith is secure and your walk with Christ solid. If you don’t know how to respond, just say you will find the answer and get back to your disciple.
- Where do you want to improve in your walk with Christ?
⃝ Bible study
⃝ Relationships with other believers
⃝ Sharing Christ with others
⃝ Fruit of the Spirit
⃝ Battling temptation
⃝ Other _____________