COLEMAN: Six things every Christian needs

By Rev. Landon Coleman

Pastor, Immanuel

I’ve been blessed to serve as the pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church for the last 10 years — nine years and nine months, to be exact. Over the course of the last decade, we’ve seen God do some amazing things in the life of our church and in the lives of individuals who are part of our church.

In particular, we’ve seen many come to faith in Jesus for the first time. Some of these new believers have attended church for years, and only recently did they come to a biblical understanding of the gospel. Others are brand new to church life, and it was only recently that they actually heard the gospel.

Admittedly, 10 years is a drop in the bucket compared to men like Clydell Chapman and Byron McWilliams, pastors of Northside Baptist and First Baptist, respectively. Still, 10 years is 10 years. When it comes to new believers, 10 years is long enough to see some stick with their faith and experience remarkable growth. And, sadly, 10 years is also long enough to see some drift away and experience spiritual collapse.

As I look back over the last 10 years and think about why some endured and others drifted away, why some grew and others remained stagnant, a discernible pattern emerges. That pattern suggests that every new Christian needs at least six things in their life.

First, every Christian needs a place to belong. By place I mean church. Every Christian needs a church family. Period. End of story. There simply is no New Testament category of the lone-ranger Christian. You need older and younger, richer and poorer, all together in Christ.

Second, every Christian needs a group to join. Group here refers to a sub-group of the church. Maybe it’s a men’s group, a Sunday school class, or a life group. But every Christian needs to be part of a group. This is the place genuine relationships are formed with others.

Third, every Christian needs a teacher to learn from. This teacher can be a pastor or a Sunday school teacher. But ideally this teacher is more like a mentor. Every Christian needs someone who will take the time to personally invest in their life. We all need this kind of teacher.

Fourth, every Christian needs a friend to give encouragement. Following Jesus is not easy. There are trials, temptations, and suffering for anyone who claims the name of Christ. For that reason, every Christian needs a friend who can listen and give encouragement.

Fifth, every Christian needs an example to follow. What does it mean to follow Jesus? The apostle Paul knew that was an abstract concept. That’s why he told the Corinthian Christians to follow his example as he followed the example of Christ. We all need examples to follow.

Sixth, every Christian needs a student to invest in. Just like there is no New Testament category of lone-ranger Christian … There is no category of a Christian who does not invest in the next generation. It doesn’t matter who you invest in, but you must invest in someone.