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TitleA Tool For Personal Discipleship
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Total Pages247
Table of Contents
			Genesis 3:
				Exodus 12:1  The LORD said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt:
			Eternal life is not an object, but rather an endless quality of existence with God.
			The 3 Major Phases of the Normal Healthy Christian Life
			He is maturing me
				He is attracting others to Himself
			My level of spiritual maturity is the degree to which  God’s perspective of life has become my perspective.
Document Text Contents
Page 1

A Tool For Personal

A Guide for Spiritual Mentoring

Discipler Training International

"A non-denominational discipleship ministry providing discipleship lessons for
spiritual growth, discipling others, and training disciplers."

Spiritual Mentoring / Parenting

Spiritual Fruitfulness Spiritual Reproduction

Page 2

This discipleship material continues to be a work in progress, under the Holy Spirit’s guidance. We
welcome comments and/or suggestions to enhance accuracy or clarity. Our desire is to make
these spiritual concepts as understandable as possible for all believers, especially newer and
immature believers.

I want to express my gratitude to my wife, Toni, and to our ministry co-workers, Frank &
Jeannette Meitz, all of whom have provided insights and recommendations that have been so
very helpful in making this ministry more effective as an instrument to promote personal
discipleship and to help believers toward spiritual maturity and spiritual fruitfulness. - Art Barkley

Anyone may freely reproduce and distribute this material, but it may not be altered or sold
without the author, Art Barkley’s consent. You can contact Art at [email protected]

All our discipleship materials are free and available for downloading from our website at If you are unable to download the discipleship files, please contact us at
[email protected]

Discipler Training International
P. O. Box 61911
Reno, NV 89506


DTI is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization.

© Copyright 1997-2015 Art Barkley - Discipler Training Int’l.
Box 61911 Reno, NV 89506 USA

Our internet website was graciously designed and is maintained by:

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Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the HCSB®,
Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers.

Used by permission. HCSB® is a federally registered trademark of Holman Bible Publishers.

mailto:[email protected]
mailto:[email protected]

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Thoughts on Growing New Believers

How Does A New Believer Acquire Spiritual Understanding?

If a new believer is not instructed otherwise, he will typically appropriate the values and convictions of
the Christians that he associates with during the formative first period of his new spiritual life, just as a
child will tend to adopt the values and convictions of his family and peers.

Let’s say that a new Christian is brought into association with a group of Navigators (,
who we would rightly expect to immediately begin to challenge the believer’s former values and
convictions. That believer is either going to adopt the Navigator’s values and convictions, or he will
become so uncomfortable that he will seek a more “friendly” and less intrusive environment.

But what happens if there is not such a group of relatively mature mentors who will take the new
believer under wing? Typically the newer believer will be introduced into a congregation, where it is
often assumed that “sitting under the preaching of the Word” will be sufficient to lead that new believer
into a spiritually mature walk. It is hoped that the negative traits observed in the congregation do not
distort the new believer’s understanding. Is that realistic? We believe it is safe to say that most new
believers will be impacted more by what they “see” other believers do, than what they “hear” them say.
If it can be said that a particular congregation is more spiritually mature, then it would be realistic to
reason that the combination of “hearing” Biblical truth from a pastor/teacher, together with “seeing”
Biblical spirituality modeled from the congregation, would be a tremendous help in the healthy spiritual
growth of a new believer. Leaders need to realistically evaluate the spiritual health of the congregation,
asking themselves, “Do we want a new believer to become like the ‘typical’ member of this
congregation?” If the answer is no, then arrangements need to be put in place to impart Biblical values
to new believers.

Example – Modeling affects how newer believers interpret the Bible. A one-day workshop
was taught on Discipleship and the Christian life. A lady attended, and later that evening shared
with her husband some of the spiritual concepts that had been discussed. The next day the husband
mentioned that after his wife had talked with him, he had taken another look at the Great
Commission in Matt. 28:18-20. He had always interpreted it as saying, “go and make converts”,
but now realized that it indeed said, “go and make disciples.” He was surprised that he hadn’t been
reading it correctly. Why had this happened? We believe what is emphasized or de-emphasized
(for instance, by omission or neglect) will bias the listener’s interpretation of the Bible (especially
an impressionable newer believer) as to what has Biblical importance. This Christian man had read
the word “disciples”, but in reality the term had little significance, since what he was “hearing”
and seeing “modeled” around him conveyed to him that what was really important was “making
converts.” In his mind the term “disciple” simply came to mean “convert” as a result of the
definition presented to him by what he “heard” and “saw.”

Ideally, we should be able to place new believers into a congregational environment and have healthy
spiritual growth with Biblical values and convictions. Should a new believer not have the “right” to
assume that older Christians have Biblical values and convictions? Are you satisfied with the spiritual
values and convictions of the congregation with which you are associated? In many cases the answer
would be “no.” When a newer believer is simply placed in the congregation without personal mentoring,
will that believer probably feel “free to adopt” the spiritual values and convictions of that
congregation? Why should we expect otherwise? Would I expect my child to acquire acceptable values
and convictions if I allow him or her to associate with children whose values and convictions are

101 2-3

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unacceptable, yet I don’t object? By not saying anything to the contrary, am I conveying to my child that
the association meets my approval?

We should not expect the newer believer to understand much about the Christian walk. It is only natural
for newer believers to be mainly concerned with doing the right things, which means their focus is on
external behavior. As stated previously, a newer believer should be able to make the assumption that if
he behaves like “older” Christians, then logically he’ll be behaving in an acceptable Biblical fashion,
since those older Christians have “obviously” styled their behavior on Biblical patterns. Right? NOT!
Unfortunately, many older Christians have adopted their behavior from previous older Christians who
they similarly “assumed” to be spiritual. And so one generation follows the next. Unwittingly, many
Christian leaders are “conveying” approval of this natural human process, by not insuring that each new
believer is personally helped through the first formative and critical period of the Christian walk.

While it is totally natural for new believers to begin their Christian walk focusing on “external
behavior”, we believe it is God’s purpose for those believers to quickly begin to focus on living by
“Biblical principles.” Probably more than 90% of typical daily external behavior is not addressed
specifically in the Bible. The typical Christian will not “transition” from focusing on external behavior
to focusing on Biblical principles, unless another Christian is willing to put the time and energy into
helping them to understand God’s purposes and His process for producing spiritual growth.

Let’s look at several examples of adopting “external behavior” patterns:
How does a new believer evaluate the spiritually acceptable car to drive? Clearly it is not a question
addressed specifically in a Bible verse. While the Bible doesn’t say, “thou shalt not drive a car valued at
more than $45,000”, most Christians wouldn’t feel comfortable driving to church meetings in a Rolls
Royce. But who can find a verse that says it’s wrong? A new believer walking through the church
parking lot cannot avoid noticing that most affluent believers drive more expensive vehicles and less
affluent believers tend to drive less expensive vehicles. Imagine that, just like the world!

How about spiritually acceptable houses? Same as for cars. Most believers choose their houses, using
the same principles as unbelievers do. Unless a new believer is personally instructed as to Biblical
values, why should we think they’ll come to any other conclusion than, “it must be okay, since older,
wiser Christians have made that determination. They know the Bible better than I do. I’m just a new
believer, what do I know?”

How about spiritually acceptable eating behaviors? How obese is obese? Is it 19% over normal? How
about 20% over normal? Who decides what is "normal?" If there are so many overweight believers (just
like in the world), then obviously the new believer has to assume that Bible verses referring to obesity
were really meant for believers in a different era, since the subject is not addressed in most

What about smoking, drinking alcohol, wasting time, excessive working, neglect of spouses and
family, financial investment in possessions, the stock market, etc.? And the list goes on. If the new
believer is allowed to continue focusing on outward external behavior, rather than on Biblical principles,
there is a high probability that the believer will grow into a “self-dependent” and “worldly-minded”
Christian, practicing an externally acceptable spiritual life on the one hand (acceptable to Christian
peers), while at the same time pursuing worldly goals of possessions, pleasures, power and popularity
(to the extent they’re not offensive to Christian peers).


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Where Am I as a Christian?

© Copyright 2015 Art Barkley - Discipler Training Int’l; Box 61911; Reno, NV 89506;;


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A Brief History of -

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