Fishing regulations vary from state to state-even from one lake or river to another. Some fishing spots allow a limit of how many fish can be taken, while others enforce a regulation known as "catch and release." This means that whatever fish one catches must be released back into the water; none can be taken and eaten. I'm concerned that this practice of catch and release has carried over into the church world. New converts-new followers of Christ-are too often tossed back into the world, without much, if any, followup. Little or no followup leaves churches and other well-intended ministries with, often, many converts but few disciples.
Jesus never commanded us believers to make converts; He commissioned us to make disciples. There's a difference.
Why isn't more emphasis placed upon biblical, grace-based, discipleship? Perhaps because it's time consuming. Along with having a plan, it requires people and patience.
Over the last 45 years millions have been converted to Christ. I was one of them. Some were celebrities-at least in public. Actors, singers, well-known public figures-at least to some; these were reported to have made professions of Christ. Thank God for all who come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.
Unfortunately, those in the public eye who come to Christ are all-to-often released back into the environment from which they sought refuge. Rather than given a foundation of God's Word, many celebrity converts were paraded as trophies for Christ, as part of a particular church or other ministry.
Classic "catch and release" Christianity.
Sadly, many of those caught and released converts have grown cold towards God and Christianity. On the other hand those who received a biblical foundation are, for the most part, serving Christ today. Chuck Colson, aide to former President Nixon and well-known Watergate figure, is one example of converts becoming disciples.
We can do more to turn converts into disciples for our Lord Jesus Christ. One way this ministry is addressing this need is by offering brief presentations of foundational truth, called LifeChange. These free episodes are available on our website, at hubertgardner.org. I invite you to check them out for yourself, then share them with someone else needing the basics.
What are some things you are doing to strengthen new believers, turning them from converts to disciples?