At the very beginning of Jesus’ ministry, He challenged a select group to become “fishers of men.” This simply meant He expected them to bring others to the beautiful truth of a relationship with Him.
Near the end of Jesus’ earthly ministry, He refined His challenge to His followers. In a sense, He was saying, “Once you’ve been fishing, what do you do with your catch?” And His answer came in three variations: “ ‘Feed My lambs’ ” (John 21:15); “ ‘Tend My sheep’ “ (verse 16); and “ ‘Feed My sheep’ “ (verse 17).
The disciples may well have expressed confusion over this last command. Jesus had originally called them to fish for men. Now He was talking about them as shepherds. Was Jesus mixing metaphors? Absolutely not. Fishing and shepherding are two phases of the same effort: bringing others to Jesus.
The New Members’ Bible Study Guide, entitled In Step With Jesus, has been prepared by the General Conference Sabbath School and Personal Ministries Department to assist in the task of making disciples. The theology that undergirds the content is based on the gospel commission (Matt. 28:19, 20), and on three characteristics that Jesus gave for identifying His disciples:
- Disciples love God completely and others as themselves (John 13:35).
- Disciples understand and obey the Word of God (8:31).
- Disciples bear fruit (15:8).
In Step With Jesus, a series of four Bible study guides in print format, contains a total of 52 lessons. It is a valuable new resource for assisting new members to connect with church members and with God. It will help them understand and follow God’s Word, will demonstrate how to minister to others, and will equip them for discipleship during that all important first year of church membership.
To order print copies of the study guides, please visit www.adventistbookcenter.com/newmembers.