In yesterday’s blog, Steve mentioned some key leadership hindrances. Another hindrance is thinking that only very mature people can make disciples who make disciples. We must remember that one of the most effective evangelists of the New Testament was the woman of Samaria—a new convert of a few hours. Immediately after her encounter with God we read that the woman of Samaria went into action:
“[She] . . . went back to the town and said to the people, Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Christ?’ They came out of the town and made their way toward him. . . Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, ‘He told me everything I ever did.’ So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days. And because of his words many more became believers. They said to the woman, ‘We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.’ (Jn. 4: 28-30, 40-42). In Leadership Explosion I wrote the following three paragraphs:
How long did it take the Samaritan woman to get into ministry? Long enough to go into the village and come back! Don’t miss the opportunity of using newer Christians in cell leadership. Jesus didn’t; nor did Paul.
Fatima, a newly baptized Christian, planted the first daughter cell from my own small group in Quito, Ecuador. Plagued with a debilitating bone disease, she felt compelled to share the gospel while there was still time. With the zeal that characterized the Samaritan woman, Fatima gathered her non-Christian family and friends for the first meeting. Her house was packed—some arriving two hours early. They listened to the gospel message with rapt attention and in the months that followed, several of them decided to follow Jesus Christ. Fatima’s zeal and effectiveness clarified to me the importance of using newer Christians in small group ministry.
Peter Wagner reminds us that the potential for evangelism is much higher in new Christians than mature ones. This is primarily due to the fact that new Christians still have contacts with non-Christians. New Christians are enthusiastic. When they are not allowed to evangelize or serve right away, they become stagnant and lose their enthusiasm. Our problem so often is not seeing far enough down the road. We fail to connect the person who walks down the aisle to receive Jesus with future leadership in cell ministry. For lack of proper guidance, many potential cell leaders slide out the back door.