04 Jun '09
Assimilation and New Believers
Assimilation of new believers into the life of the church is a high priority for many church leaders. Think about that for a moment!
My observation in the American church is that we put far more energy into assimilating new believers into the subculture of our church than we do in seeking them to assimilate into the likeness of Christ - and the two goals are not synonymous.
We are gratified when our new believer comes to a Bible study or small group, learns that they should be involved in some sort of ministry in the church, serve on a committee or be present on family night. All well and good - maybe.
What would happen if instead we concentrated on helping them understand what it means to become like Jesus and follow him more closely and allow Him to transform their hearts? I know we assume that those things will happen once they become involved in the church. Often it does not because our focus is in the wrong place. Assimilation into our church subculture is nice but assimilation into the likeness of Christ is far more important.
Where is the emphasis in your church for new believers? Is your strategy for helping new believers grow spiritually as robust as your strategy to hook them into your congregation?
Ultimately the goal of the Christian life is not to become like the people around us but to become like Christ. And people who become like Christ are also committed to His family in a local church. Our focus on the right assimilation will make all the difference.