Unfolding Faith

1st Steps in Christianity for new believers

Here are some simple first steps to take in your amazing new life with Christ!

Know that you are loved

Welcome to your new life in Jesus—we’re so excited you’ve joined the family!

There is so much to learn and discover about your new life and faith, so where do you start?

First things first: know that you are loved by God!

For the LORD your God is living among you.
  He is a mighty savior.

He will take delight in you with gladness.
  With his love, he will calm all your fears.
  He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”

Zephaniah 3:17

This isn’t always the easiest idea to get your head around. You may be regretting some things done in the past that you think God will be mad at you for. Perhaps there are things you do today that you suspect God doesn’t like. Maybe you question if you’re worthy of his love.

The best thing about God sending Jesus to earth and his sacrifice for our sins is nothing can separate you from God if you’re a follower of Christ. God made you, and he loves you unendingly—no matter what.

To know that you, broken and flawed as you may be, are equal in God’s eyes to anyone else on earth is the greatest gift.

Need more evidence? We have an exclusive chapter from the book Love Is Oxygen for you to download for FREE right now on this link!

We encourage you to scroll through the steps on this page and are praying for your journey as you grow in Christ.

Find your community

Here’s something totally revealing for you: You are a human being!

For whatever reason, most of us forget that we’re all human and that we all have flaws and needs, temptations and desires. But the biggest desire of all? Companionship.

“A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.”

Ecclesiastes 4:12

There is not one human out there who doesn’t crave interaction with others at some point, and God made us that way. He designed us to need fellowship, and as such, he instructs us to find our Christian community—a group of people we can rely on for support and to speak the truth to us, people to study with, grow with, and glorify* God with.

Ask at your church about small groups (when people regularly come together to discuss life and faith, to study, and to pray), or get involved in volunteering at church and meet new people. They might already have a small group you can join, or you can start one with friends.

It may take some time, but getting connected to your “church family” will help you gain confidence in your new life and boost your walk with Christ way beyond anything you can do on your own!

Check out this great article on why community is so important to the Christian life: “Why Should I Join a Small Group?”

*To glorify God means to think, speak, and act in a way that reflects his greatness. We can also give glory to God in thanks and praise for all he has done for us.

Find your church home

When you find the right church, it won’t be a chore to attend every week!

“...For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them.”

Matthew 18:20

How do you find the right church for you? You can expect to enjoy worship, learn from or be encouraged by the teaching, and get connected to people around you. Consider what size of church you would prefer, and if you would enjoy a traditional or contemporary worship program. Churches also have many opportunities for you to grow in your faith outside of regular services, such as volunteer projects, lessons and courses, and will encourage you to take part.

It’s hard as a new believer to understand the differences between Christian denominations. We encourage you to look at the various denominations, you may find that one particularly speaks to you. If you’re not sure where to start, try a non-denominational Christian church.

You will want a home church that teaches only from the Bible and squarely believes in the Bible as the whole truth. God warns us of fake teachers, or ‘false prophets’, in 1 John 4 “Dear friends, do not believe everyone who claims to speak by the Spirit…. For there are many false prophets in the world.” And it will be hard to discern, but stick to these basic truths and any Christian church that lives and teaches this way should be sound:

  • Does the teaching recognize Jesus Christ as the Son of God and the only way of salvation?
  • Does the teaching agree with scripture? Obviously, you need to read the Bible and discern this for yourself. The more you read of the Bible, the better equipped you will be!
  • Do they bring all glory to God? Or are they attributing blessings elsewhere? All good comes from God and everything is God’s.
  • Does the church live out what it teaches? Are they helping the needy in your area and around the world? Are they trying to talk about Jesus to others outside of the church? What are the plans for the future growth of the church?

Ready to look for your new church home and Christian community?

You can use churchfinder.com’s super easy tool to search for local churches—just get out there and try some! You can pray about it too—ask God for guidance and discernment in your choice.

Learn how to pray

Listen to my voice in the morning,LORD.
  Each morning I bring my requests to you and wait expectantly.

Psalm 5:3

Prayer is the best way to talk to God—to bring your troubles, requests, and praise to him.

Many people grew up reciting The Lord’s Prayer, and that is a great place to start if you’re not sure what to do. Can’t remember the prayer? Download a free image to keep and print here!

What’s so wonderful about The Lord’s Prayer is that it gives us the structure Jesus himself recommends whenever we pray:

  • Start with acknowledging that God is holy and worthy of our praise. Ask him to direct you however he wants you.
  • Acknowledge that you need him in every area of your life (“Give us this day our daily bread” asks God to be with you in every way).
  • Confess your sins and seek his forgiveness, then request strength for you to be able to forgive others.
  • Talk about where you need his protection and wisdom the most—what has been tempting you? What is troubling you? Remember that nothing is too big or too trivial for God.
  • Finish with praise, for through him we do everything!

Prayer also comes in many postures—not just kneeling beside your bed every night with your eyes closed and your hands clasped in front of you, though that is totally fine if you like it.

You can write out your prayers or even draw them. Check out this ingenious way to pray, journal, and color. You can pray literally any time of the day, and it doesn’t have to be routine; you can switch up times if you like. It doesn’t matter what you’re doing in the moment either; God will hear you. You can pray in your head or out loud; anything goes! (Though maybe be careful if you’re praying when you should really be concentrating on what you’re doing, like driving or listening to a lecture!)

Want some daily prayer guidance? Try a book of Pocket Prayers, designed to help you find the words for any occasion.

Read the bible

You’ve already noticed how huge the Bible is and understandably felt a little overwhelmed! It’s a good idea to spend a short time reading the Bible every day and reflecting on its meaning for your own life.

But most people worry about reading it because they:

  1. Don’t know where to start
  2. Don’t understand it
  3. Cannot figure out how any of it relates to them

We have all struggled with getting started, but God gave us the Holy Bible because He knows we need it!

2 Timothy 3:16-17

All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.

A great place to begin is with the New Testament (NT). The NT contains the story of Jesus, the very reason why we are known as Christians and are set apart from any other faith.

If you want a ‘guided tour’ of the NT, grab a bible study and check this list for our starter recommendations. A bible study will break down a section, examine the meaning and give you questions to consider how it relates to you. They can usually be used for solo study, or in a group too.

Perhaps you want a bible that is easier to read - and don’t worry, most people struggle with the old language! Check out the New Living Translation; this Bible translation combines the latest biblical scholarship with a clear, dynamic writing style to powerfully communicate God’s word. It renders the message of the original texts of Scripture into clear, contemporary English and was designed to be read aloud. Readers of the New Living Translation are encouraged to get into the biblical text to discover God’s story for their lives and the world.

If you want to know how it relates to you specifically, try a devotional. Devotionals are short, daily readings that link circumstances, themes or interests, to passages in the Bible; prompting your own thinking. There are literally tons of devotionals out there, so here’s a list on popular subjects. We also love these free email devotionals.

It’s 100% worth knowing that the Bible contains the keys to living a healthy, positive and free life in Christ. God gave us His Word so that we might know what to do in all sorts of circumstances. In the Bible we can find answers to many questions and it’s the first and last place to look for guidance – God has the direction and encouragement we need.

Respond to questions & critics

This is the stuff that gets our hearts pounding: how do we respond when someone has a question about our faith or even criticizes our decision to follow Jesus? As you grow in your faith, you’ll find the answers forming in your mind and you’ll discover your own way to talk about it, even with cynics.

But until that time, know this: Your story is the greatest testimony* you have.

Use your own account of discovering Jesus and how this has changed you. You may not get the reaction you would like, but it’s a powerful way to respond to critics. You may even be planting a seed that eventually grows their curiosity about God.

If someone asks a question that you can’t answer, it’s perfectly fine to say, “I don’t know, but I’ll look into that and get back to you.” There is no question that hasn’t been asked before, and God provides answers for all we need to know. (If it’s something we can’t understand as humans, you can say you just trust God for it.)

So how can we get a head start on this? We highly recommend a book called TouchPoints for New Believers. This book covers many questions about Christianity, plus it will help you to understand what we believe and why we may or may not do certain things.

Here’s an abridged sample from TouchPoints for New Believers: Does God view all people equally?

Proverbs 22:2 | The rich and poor have this in common: The LORD made them both.

All people are created by God, in the image of God, and have equal value in the eyes of God.

Romans 5:18 | Adam’s one sin brings condemnation for everyone, but Christ’s one act of righteousness brings a right relationship with God and new life for everyone.

God’s salvation is available to everyone. It doesn’t matter what sins you’ve committed and it doesn’t matter who you are. God loves all people equally and wants to see everyone saved from eternal death and living in relationship with him. When you decide to follow Jesus Christ and ask him to forgive your sins and make you a new person inside, he promises to look at you as though you’ve never sinned.

*A testimony is a personal account of experiencing God and being changed by him.