If you’re not sure what you’re signing up for by following Jesus, I recommend watching this brief video about what it means to follow Jesus. It’s from James Chong’s book, True Story: A Christianity Worth Believing In.
So now that you’ve got a better idea of what you’ve signed up for, what do you do next? The next step is to begin practicing following Jesus. Practicing following Jesus is just like practicing anything else, except that you’ve got God’s presence, the Holy Spirit, as your coach helping you along the way! Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to practice following Jesus.
Have you been baptized? If not, then drop me an email and let’s talk further. At SCC, we host a nine-session small group called Christianity 101 that prepares you to be baptized at our annual Baptism at the Beach in late June.
Build your community of faith, your spiritual friends. There are two things you can’t do alone in life: get married and be a Christian. First, attend worship regularly. Every week. If you can’t make it on Sunday, come on Monday or Tuesday. If you’re out of town, find a church where you’re at. Worship is what cultivates the soil of your heart so that the seeds of God’s grace can take root and grow. Second, get into a small group. We have three semesters each year: February – April, June – August, and October to December. You can sign up for small groups in January, May, and September. For more information on small groups, email Mark Aupperlee (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Start praying. What is prayer? It’s simple. Prayer is talking and listening to God. Of course, there are just about as many ways to pray as there are ways to talk and listen. Try what works for you.
Start reading your Bible. Pick up a free Bible at the info table on Sunday morning, or drop me an email, and I’ll make sure you get one. But the Bible is a big huge book. Where do you start? What kind of Bible do you read? The answers to those questions are simple: starting anywhere is better than not starting and reading any Bible is better than reading no Bible.
Start tithing. Tithing? Is that some kind of ribbon you tie around a present? No. Tithing literally means 10% and it’s a reference to God’s command that we give him back 10% of the “first-fruits” of what we make. God owns it all and asks only for 10% back. We get to keep 90%! That’s a pretty good deal. But maybe your money situation is pretty messed up. Maybe you’re loaded down with debt. Then give something regularly while you work really hard to get out of your financial mess.
Build some positive spiritual H.A.B.I.T.S. Not all habits are bad, some are good. How are your spiritual habits? Here are some: Hang Time with God, Accountability, Bible, Involvement with the Church, Tithing, Serving.
Find a place to serve in the church, community, and world. What talents do you have? What is your passion? What needs do you see around you? You’ll have the greatest impact when your talents and passions converge with the needs around you. For more, see our Missions page.
These steps are the basics, but it will take you a lifetime of practicing to do them with beauty and grace. Want to go deeper still?
Would you drop me an email and let me know how it’s going and if I can be of further help. If we haven’t met, please introduce yourself before or after worship some day. I’d love to meet you. In the mean time, may God’s Holy Spirit guide you and coach you as you begin to practice following Jesus!