Acts 15:36, “And after some days Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us return and visit the brothers in every city where we proclaimed the word of the Lord, and see how they are.”
Last fall something quite amazing happened. William kept coming up to me and begging me to take his training wheels off his bike. I would consistently respond, “You are too young William. Maybe when you get a little older.”
William never liked my response, but finally one day he wore me down. “Daddy, can you take my training wheels off please? I want to ride without them.” For some reason I was feeling up to it, and immediately after I removed the training wheels, William grabbed his bike with a huge smile and got on.
With all my other children, I let them peddle while I held the bike seat until they gained enough confidence for me to let go. William got on his bike and took off like he had been riding forever! I couldn’t believe it. He had just turned 4 in August, and here he was zooming down the street.
I would be lying if I said that he never had an accident on his bike. He zoomed around for a few minutes until he had to figure out how to turn at various speeds. He would crash occasionally, but I was always there to encourage him. With the encouragement, William kept getting back on and has now become an excellent biker.
In life, there is always a constant need for encouragement. With the impact of a world that is under the curse of sin, there are always new curves, terrains and hills in our faith that can make us want to quit and walk away from it all— especially if we are new to the faith.
Even those of us who are seasoned believers understand the relentless struggles of life, and we all appreciate people checking in on us. If you are a new believer, you might appreciate it even more when people who care about you check in to see how you are doing.
The spiritual like can be like riding a bike the first time. Some of us take longer to ride with confidence, while others might get on and start riding like a champ. Some feel like they fit in at church right away while others feel reluctant. Some jump into spiritual disciplines right away— like prayer and bible study, while others need more time.
But it doesn’t matter where we are at in the journey. We all need to be followed up by others. One of the Apostle Paul’s methods in ministry was follow-up. Scripture records 3 different missionary journeys of Paul. He made it a point to visit, revisit, and write new believers to follow up on their faith and encourage them.
One of the most important parts of discipleship is following up with others through every step of the faith, whether they are new to faith or are leaders in the faith. We need to follow up with each other and ask, “How are you doing?” We need to spend time with each other to see that the way one answers that question is consistent with their life and to learn from each other and teach each other God’s Word.
We need to follow up with each other and ask, “How are you doing?”
The spiritual life is like being on a bike. You can’t just say a prayer of faith and then zoom away into the sunset. There is a need for consistent follow-up. Check out these encouraging verses about following up with each other:
- Colossians 3:16, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”
- Hebrews 10:25, “Not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”
- Ephesians 5:19, “Addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart…”
- Romans 12:10, “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor…”
The Christian life isn’t intended to be lived out in isolation. Sometimes we might hear of a brother or sister in Christ stumbling in sin or falling away from faith, and we wonder, “What happened?” We can become critical or judgmental. But before we might think like that, we might reflect on what we have done to check in with that person.
It has been exciting to have newcomers attend FBC and participate in worship. One of the greatest ways that we can help serve these newcomers is to get to know them. Work to connect with visitors (We should do this with regular attenders and members as well).
We have many ways to follow up with others:
- Utilize the “meet and greet” at church to invite someone to lunch.
- Get a phone number or email and reach out.
- Utilize social media appropriately to connect in real life.
- Send a text during the week, or call on the phone and let someone know you care about them.
- Invite others to church and bible studies.
- Visit each other– and especially visit the elderly and widows. As people age they need even more encouragement than ever as they face new challenges that come with age.
Let’s work hard to be there for one another, and for every person who comes through our doors at FBC. Let’s ride with each other until one day we “ride off into the sunset,” to meet our Savior face to face so that we all will be able to hear, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”
God bless you all,