In 2004 I started attending a new church (which I attended until 2010 when I found CCF, now known as Hope Church), and it was in that church where I became a true follower of Christ, as opposed to someone who occupied a pew each week as I had done for the decades before that. In that church, I met a wonderful older couple – old enough to be my parents – who came alongside me as I started my journey of faith. One half of this couple passed away recently. As we filled the packed church and cried for ourselves but rejoiced that our dear friend was in heaven, pain free and enjoying the company of Jesus, I thought about the impact she made on my life… and how I – and each of us – could pass these lessons on.
(1) Come alongside new Christians:
As a brand new Christian, I knew nothing of the Bible or following Jesus. My new friend and her husband invited me to a conference held in Boston which included two days of sessions focused on the Christian life. They invited me to Sunday school classes. They got to know my family and encouraged my husband and children. Although they were under no compulsion to do so, they cared about my spiritual growth. If you know of a new Christian, encourage them and help them to grow deep roots, as my new friends did with me.
(2) Be generous:
In 2007, I spent over a month just laying on my couch, pretty sick from Lyme Disease. Much of the time I was unable to move my neck more than an inch without extreme pain. My friend came to visit, and, seeing my Bible sitting next to me, asked which book I was reading. I explained that I could not hold my head up for more than a couple of minutes at a time, and hadn’t been able to read it lately. Without skipping a beat, she picked it up and started reading to me, so generously giving her time to me. Having someone gently read the word of God to me when I could not brought tears to my eyes.
At the aforementioned conference, I first declined when was asked to go. I had three young kids and daycare costs were expensive. I just didn’t have the money for a hotel room in Boston. They insisted that I go and that they would pay for my room. Although I felt very awkward, their gift blessed me generously and taught me to try to be a blessing to others.
(3) Reach out:
My friend would send cards and text messages for no reason. As I sit here and read through old text messages, I have tears in my eyes and joy in my heart and realize the importance of just reaching out and letting people know they matter.
Come alongside new Christians. Be generous. Reach out.
Those are words to live by.