God's people have several needs. We isolated three special areas of need, but we do recognize that these needs can be perceived in different ways: 1) Needs of the new Christian, 2) Needs of following up a new Christian (after the initial training) and 3) training for service.
The most obvious is the special care and training for new Christians. What are the needs of new Christians? What kind of 'baby food' do they need to grow into strong adults? Do you spend any special time with the new Christians coming into your church?
Even John in the above verse provides a special category for this kind of Christian. They have a special need to be trained in the topics of assurance and forgiveness.
We need to ask ourselves for these three groups, "Is the sermon going to touch on the needs of people at these stages?" Preaching steers the congregation as a whole toward right thinking and living. Special training works best in smaller discipleship groups or even one-on-one. Special needs become known by talking to those involved.
The pastor is not able to train all the sheep in these specific ways. His job is to equip God's people to join in the work. God wants everyone involved so that all can share in His rewards.
We hope to develop a series on each of these stages in the future. Right now we encourage you to look at different stages on discipleship curriculum and planning.
When we see our neglect to train God's people, we then can begin to understand why there are so few people serving in our churches. They don't know how to serve! No one ever showed them how.
What are some ways that have we specifically frustrated God's good work in our midst? Next
Biblical Foundations for Freedom