One leader astutely observed,
“Spiritual infants don’t know what they don’t know.
How are they gonna know if you don’t tell them?”
Some spiritual infants may have had church exposure; others may have no idea. When a spiritually dead person receives Christ, he or she becomes an infant. Infancy can be a demanding stage of life! Helping a spiritual infant get established requires patience and effort. Yet from the beginning we want to nudge infants toward a personal walk with Christ, one that is independent of our constant care. As a Spiritual Parent helping them grow to be a disciple of Jesus, we need to nurture them as they grow and develop into spiritual children. Though it takes physical babies a long time to learn to feed themselves, spiritual infants can immediately begin to develop some new habits that will start them out on their journey. Here are 4 key habits (or disciplines) that they can begin right away.
The Habit of Bible Reading:
As spiritual infants grow in their understanding of the Bible,
they will find it less confusing to read it on their own.
Here are some tips to help them get started with their Bibles.
- Help them choose a version of the Bible that is easy to understand.
- Hold them accountable to a regular time of Bible reading, starting with a goal of 3 times a week.
- Have them choose a specific location where they will do their Bible reading
- Help them develop a Bible-reading plan. Start slowly. We often recommend that people start with the book of Mark, as it focuses on Jesus and is not too long
Share this habit by making your personal Bible reading a regular part of your discussions.
Don’t assume the spiritual infant knows what to do.
The Habit of Sharing the Gospel
Most spiritual infants have no problem finding someone to share the gospel with because many of their friends are not believers. Infants can share by simply telling others how they came to Christ, or they can present the gospel using a few verses highlighted in their Bible. The best way to share this habit with a spiritual infant is to model it. If you don’t share the gospel with others, telling a baby Christian to do so will not work.
- Listen as your disciple becomes fluent in sharing his or her testimony.
- Help your disciple select a few key verses to highlight in his or her Bible.
- Also, encourage your disciple to identify a list of people to pray for who need to know Jesus.
- Pray together that these people might come to know Christ and for opportunities to share Christ.
- Celebrate what God does, and rejoice with your disciple when he or she gets to be part of seeing someone come to faith!
The Habit of Praying:
Spiritual infants need to learn to pray. Teaching about prayer is not as important as practicing prayer. In other words, infants can learn a lot simply by praying with you. Pushing through the roadblock of being self-conscious will eliminate a fear that can cripple the spiritual growth of a disciple. Forming this habit while the cement of spiritual growth is wet will pay dividends for the disciple throughout life.
The Habit of Church Attendance:
New Christians must develop the habit of regular attendance in church and small group. Sunday morning may have been a time to sleep in, play golf, or do yard work. Citing a verse from the Bible may not be enough to convince some. They need to know why this habit is important. Hebrews 10:24-25 indicates that regular church attendance gives believers the opportunity to know each other in order to promote (spur) love and good deeds. It also serves as a refueling station where we can be encouraged. Additionally, when spiritual infants attend church, they are bound to have other questions. Each question presents an opportunity for discipleship.
As a Disciple-maker, helping spiritual infants develop these habits can help them develop a firm foundation for the future.