Assimilating New Converts into the Local Church -- By: R. Larry Moyer

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 151:603 (Jul 1994)
Article: Assimilating New Converts into the Local Church
Author: R. Larry Moyer

Assimilating New Converts into the Local Church

R. Larry Moyer

[R. Larry Moyer is Executive Director, EvanTell, Dallas, Texas, and an Adjunct Teacher in Pastoral Ministries, Dallas Theological Seminary, Dallas, Texas.]

Why is it that so often those who enter the front door of a church exit through the back door? Individuals come to Christ, and one has every reason to believe that they have become part of God’s family—but why do they not seem thrilled or even interested in becoming part of the family in the local church? How can new converts be assimilated into the life and activity of a local church?

The answer to that question pertains to follow-up, or more accurately, follow-through. But before discussing that subject, one word of caution must be given. Sometimes the reason individuals have not become involved in a local church or gone on for the Lord in other ways is that they are not saved. Because the gospel has not been made clear, they have not been justified before God and experienced His work of regeneration. Through raising a hand, walking an aisle, signing a card, or reacting to whatever invitation was given, they have responded to a message but not necessarily the message of the gospel. Proper response to the message of the gospel means that the person comes to God as a sinner, recognizes that Jesus Christ died for his sins and arose (1 Cor 15:3–4), and believes—which means to trust, rely, or depend—on Him alone for salvation. Many, not having had that message presented to them clearly, are depending on their good works, reformed lives, taking of the sacraments, keeping of the Commandments, or even their baptism, to save them. It is no wonder then that these people never seem to “get with it.” It is impossible to live for Christ when one has not met Him and experienced His life-giving power.

What about those who do sincerely come to the Savior? How can new believers be assimilated into the life and activities of the local church?

Asking these questions, however, starts at the wrong place and asks a question the New Testament never raises. Nowhere in the Scriptures is there one verse or paragraph that asks or answers the question, How can the church assimilate new believers into the life of the church? It is far more important to ask how the church can enter the lives of new believers and help them than it is to ask how they can help the church and its program. “Even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve” (Mark 10:45). With that biblical perspective, how can new believers be assisted in such a way that assimilat...

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