What's Next?


Since you have no background with the Bible or Christianity:

Start reading the Bible.  Visit a Bible bookstore or your local library, and examine several different versions.  Each has its problems, but make sure you get one that has doctrinal integrity.  You can do web research and compare, or simply ask a few people you trust.  Read every day.

It's a good idea to keep a journal.  When you come up against some crisis or hardship that becomes a prayer request, write down the details and how you feel about it.  When God answers and the problem is resolved (one way or another), write that down also.  Over time, you will develop a record in your own handwriting of how God has been faithful, how He has helped you grow, and perhaps how He has chastened you when necessary.

Your journal should also contain the insights the Holy Spirit gives you as you study.  When you come upon a passage that you don't understand, write down why you don't understand, being as specific as possible about the confusion or obscurity.  Then claim the promise in John 16:13.  You have a promise from Jesus that His Spirit would guide you into ALL truth.  When illumination comes and you finally "get it" you should record your answer.  This is more evidence of God's faithfulness to you personally ... and in your own handwriting.

Look for others who are "on fire" for Jesus.  Often you will find them in para-church organizations.  They may be volunteers at crisis pregnancy centers, homeless outreaches and the like.  Sometimes, asking people (even casual acquaintances) "who do you know that is really excited about Christianity?" may generate a few leads.  Almost anyone you find who is in love with Jesus can probably help you grow.  When you meet people who seem to be working to "earn favor" with God, or if they are more committed to their denomination than they are to Jesus, you should probably keep looking.

Be baptized.  Jesus was clear on discipleship in Matthew chapter 28.  The formula He gave was 1)"...baptize them in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit..." and then 2) "...teach them to observe everything I have commanded you."  There's still lots of squabbling about who should baptize, who should be baptized, and how baptism should be performed.  Do your own study, asking the Holy Spirit to guide you, come to your own settled conclusion, and then proceed accordingly.

In the course of your activities, you may be invited to church.  Feel free to attend, of course, but bear in mind that here in the west, many churches are actually incorporated Christian community centers.  Many - perhaps most - of the people you meet who claim to be Christians are not Christians in the Biblical sense, though they would take offense were this pointed out.  Similarly, the leaders may be very nice people but are not necessarily Christians either.  Some churches feel strongly that membership in a local church (preferably theirs) is important and even necessary for Christian growth.  You have learned how to consider evidence and reach a conclusion, so I would strongly suggest you pray a LOT before making any commitments.  Once you see how Jesus established His ekklesia and how the early disciples implemented His plan, you can compare it to the American version and the rest will be easy.

Finally, go and do likewise.  The command to disciples is to make disciples.  You have authority from Jesus Himself to go anywhere in the world.  You have my blessing to share the link to this site with everyone you meet.  (http://tinyurl.com/triptotruth)

Exit below will take you to New Christian? So What's Next? by Dr. David Stone.