When our first child was six months old, my wife and I flew overseas … without him. It was difficult, even traumatic, to leave our little boy for almost two weeks. We even had a passport made for him, just in case. But leave him we did. That was the first of several times we left our children while we did mission trips overseas (as they grew we had the joy of taking them with us!).
The question is, “How could we do it?” How could we leave a little child, and travel thousands of miles away, with no easy way to communicate or return home in case of an emergency? The simple answer is that we left him in the care of someone we trusted completely.
Ann was like a grandmother to our boys. A godly servant of Christ Jesus, she raised three children of her own, and graciously ministered to our family. Our confidence in her was complete. We knew she loved our child. We knew she was capable of caring for him. We had no fear that he would miss meals or be left in a dirty diaper, or worse. Thus, we trusted her with our baby while we were away.
I thought of this story while discussing the care of baby Christians in our churches. The question that arose from a recent conversation was this, “Can God trust us with His little children?” To make this more helpful the question should be personalized, “Can God trust you and your church with a new believer?” When a person comes to faith in Christ can you, and your church, be counted on to help this spiritual babe begin their new life with Christ?
Let’s put some specifics to this question. If and when a person prays to receive Christ, what do they experience from your church? Do they receive encouragement from the pastor or church leader regarding their new life in Christ? Do they learn the meaning of baptism and are they encouraged to follow Jesus in water baptism?
Do new believers in your church receive new Christian training? Do they learn how to share their faith, and are they led to do it? Are they taught how to read God’s Word and pray?
When a new believer is baptized into the membership of your church, what opportunities do they have to serve others? Are they presented evangelism and mission opportunities? Will a small group class reach out to them, involve them, and deploy them in ministry to the community?
I believe these are deeply important questions because they strike at the heart of what God wants for His children. If we will only entrust our children to people who will love and provide for them, it makes sense that God will do the same. If we create opportunities for our kids to learn and grow, why wouldn’t God entrust His babes to a people who will do the same for them?
Another way to think about this is even more personal. When your child, or grandchild, comes to faith in Christ, would you want them to experience the love, teaching, fellowship and ministry opportunities that your church offers to new Christians? If your answer is, “Yes, our church disciples new believers and leads them to serve and minister to others,” then praise God! But if you are uncertain as to how your church helps new believers to grow and mature in their walk with Christ, then do something about it. One person can have a huge impact in the life of a new Christian. Most churches average 50 or less in Sunday school or small groups. Most of these churches, and many larger than these, have bi-vocational pastors who need the help of a dedicated lay person who is willing to step up and do a ministry like this. You might say, “But I don’t know what to do to help a new believer.” Fair enough. In my next article I will give you some practical things that you and your church can do in order to help a babe in Christ begin their walk with Jesus.
Jesus’ commission to the church is to “make disciples,” and a church that faithfully teaches new believers is a church to whom God will entrust new believers. If your church reaches few for Christ, could it be that our Father in heaven wants something better for His children that to put them in a church that won’t help them grow? If your child “walks the aisle” of your church, are you confident they will be taught to follow Jesus?