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December-January 2014

Roots: Growing
Deeper in Faith


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one to one: Lessons about life, ministry, and grandkids

by Keith Burden, Executive Secretary, National Association of Free Will Baptists


Under the Influence of Discipleship


They came forward during the invitation and committed their lives to Christ. Like any dutiful pastor, I wrote down their names and address and went to visit them the next day. After getting better acquainted, I offered to meet with them weekly to go through a series of 13 new convert lessons. They were interested, so I gave them a Bible, study materials, and scheduled our first lesson for the following Monday.

Hank and Connie had virtually no church background. He was a former member of the Hell’s Angels. Her first marriage had ended in an ugly divorce. They were classic examples of “newborn babes in Christ.”

The first lesson was appropriately titled “Assurance of Salvation.” It was obvious Hank and Connie had given much time and thought to their answers. Although they were biblically illiterate, their answers were refreshingly honest and transparent.

At the conclusion of the lesson I asked, “Is there anything in your life that is in disobedience to the teaching of Scripture?”

After a thoughtful pause Hank asked, “Does a bench warrant for my arrest qualify?”

I said, “Yes, I think a warrant for your arrest qualifies.”

A few months prior to his conversion, Hank had been arrested for driving under the influence. In addition to jail time, he received a hefty fine. Since he had lost his job, he had no money, and he never paid the fine. As a result, a warrant had been issued for his arrest.

I told him he needed to turn himself in. It was obvious he was reluctant. However, after I explained I would go with him, he consented. I picked him up the next morning and drove him to city hall. Before getting out of the car, we prayed and asked the Lord for courage and a good outcome.

Once inside, we located the appropriate office and asked to speak to the judge. We were told he was unavailable. We spoke to the office manager instead. I explained that Hank had recently committed his life to Christ and was attempting to do the right thing. Without a word the office manager stepped away and walked into the judge’s office. In a matter of minutes he returned and said, “Sir, can you pay this fine within the next 90 days?” Dumbfounded, Hank nodded and said, “Yes!” The office manager tore the bench warrant in two and said, “You’re free to go.”

In the parking lot, Hank grabbed me, gave me a big bear hug and asked, “Does God always answer your prayers like that, Preacher?”

I said, “No…but God does always honor His children when they do the right thing.”

Over the next 12 weeks I watched them grow spiritually. We discussed subjects like growing as a Christian, the gospel ordinances, tithing, and sharing their faith. I had the privilege of baptizing Hank and Connie and seeing them become members of our church.

Discipleship! The process can be very demanding and time consuming. There are no shortcuts or quick-and-easy approaches to do it successfully. However, nothing is more gratifying or rewarding than helping new converts mature in their faith.

“And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also” (2 Timothy 2:2).


About the Column

One to One is a regular feature of ONE Magazine. Written by Keith Burden, executive secretary of the National Association of Free Will Baptists, the column explores life, ministry...and the joys of grandchildren.


©2012 ONE Magazine, National Association of Free Will Baptists