My parents and I were flying home from a quick getaway up North when we noticed something peculiar about the flight we were boarding home. There were tinsel decorations strung on the ceiling of the plane, and country songs were playing over the loudspeaker. I heard from one of the crew that the reason for all the decorations was because this was the pilot’s final flight before his retirement from the airline. Later on, I noticed pictures of this pilot from over the course of his career decorating the overhead compartment doors, and commemorative napkins that the pilot’s wife had printed specially for this flight. Once we landed, the flight attendants said kind words about the pilot, two fire trucks sprayed water on the plane in his honor as a celebratory gesture, and we as passengers celebrated the pilot with noisemakers.

After that flight, I realized that there was a similar – greater – rejoicing in Heaven every time a new Christian believes that Jesus is the Son of God and puts Him on in baptism, as it’s documented in Luke 15:10. Can you imagine…a celebration greater than anything on this earth in your honor?

It’s a joyous occasion indeed when someone becomes a Christian, and when they become a brother or sister of ours in Christ. We have the joy of knowing that we will share eternity with them. But how can we encourage them further beyond their conversion? Let’s talk about that.

Pray for them to have strength as they begin their walk with God.

The encouragement and support should not stop after the day they get baptized. The best thing you can do for a new Christian, no matter their age or life experience, is pray for them. Jesus Himself even prayed that God take care of His own in John 17:9. If they know you’re praying for them, the zeal and fire they acquired for God once they became a Christian won’t fade away or diminish. Their knowing that you are praying for them will be an encouragement for them to move forward and grow in their relationship with God.

Include them in fellowship activities within and outside your church building.

Fellowship in any capacity is crucial to helping a new Christian feel included, and you can start as small as sitting with them in Bible class, and then by inviting them to various events your church may have. Also, once you build a relationship with them, you can even invite them into your own home for fellowship there. Fellowship is crucial among believers (Acts 2:42). The most important thing is that they feel welcome amongst the body of Christ, as we are all united in the same body and mind with Him (1 Corinthians 1:10).

Offer a listening ear and serve them in their times of need.

The path that we as Christians walk is not always easy. When times get rough, the newest members of our congregation should be able to come to any of their fellow Christians with their struggles without fear of judgment. In times like these, it’s important to have a listening ear available to them so they can pour out their hearts in confession and get back on the right track as they walk with God. New Christians should also welcome advice and wisdom from their fellow believers; truly, we’re all gaining wisdom when we strive to learn more about God and His will (Proverbs 1:5).

Also, if they’re stressed or struggling, offering to serve new Christians when they need help can be impactful on their lives. Luke wrote in Acts that “it is more blessed to give than to receive,” and this adage can apply to the gift of service (Acts 20:35b). For example, you can offer to bring food if they’re sick or grieving. Or, if they have small children and you know the family very well, you can offer to babysit while they have a night out with their spouse. Little things like this can add up to be huge ways to help a new Christian if they’re having a harder time.

Finally, make yourself available for any questions they may have.

While it’s important to study the Bible with a new believer before they are baptized, they will most likely have more questions as time passes after they become members of the Lord’s church. Since they are members of your church family, New Christians should feel that they can ask any of their brothers or sisters in Christ various questions about the Bible or any other aspect of their faith without hesitation, so we need to be available for them to do so. As such, we need to keep His Word hidden in our hearts (Psalm 119:11) so that we’ll be prepared to give a quick answer, as well as be able to locate certain passages during a deeper study. No matter what, the willingness to share His Word in order to help a new Christian is the most important.

At the end of the day, becoming a new Christian brings both its joys and its challenges. As such, we need to be there to pray with, fellowship with, and above all, love our newest brothers and sisters in Christ, so we can build the relationship that lasts into eternity, helping them along the way Heavenward.

By Savannah Cottrell