Welcome! We pray you are reading this because you have taken an important step in accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. This means you are born again! (John 3:3)
If you have not yet taken this step, no worries. If you’re reading this, you’re seeking answers. This is way healthier than believing you already have all the answers!
Maybe you’re here because you were handed a Gospel tract from a street evangelist. Maybe you read one of our articles and followed a link to this page. Maybe you simply did a Google search.
Whatever channel brought you here, you’re obviously here for a reason.
What Must I Do to Be Saved?
If you recited a prayer you found at the end of a tract, it probably looked something like this:
“Jesus, I turn from my sin. I believe you died on the cross to set me free from sin. I believe you rose from the dead after three days. I claim you as my Savior and Lord. I now follow you and give you the rest of my days. In your mighty name, amen.”
While this confession is important, please understand it cannot save your soul any more than rubbing a rabbit’s foot can give you good luck.
Your heart-felt prayer must be directed to God or Jesus. You must be at the place where you are done with the brokenness in your life. You must recognize your best efforts have yielded poor results. You must recognize you are unable to save yourself.
When you direct your heart-cry to God and trust in what Jesus has done for you, you will be born anew. This is a supernatural, spiritual conversion. Millions of men and women around the world and over the centuries have taken the same step in trusting God and calling out to Him. Welcome to God’s family.
What to Expect Now
Some people have tender conversion experiences. They may not feel anything has changed at first, but swiftly, they’ll notice the desires of their heart are changing—for the better. Things that used to burden them won’t weigh as much. Joy and peace will begin to replace sorrow and worry.
Others may have dramatic conversion experiences. They may experience overwhelming waves of love or emotion, find themselves overflowing with praise for God or experience a sharp increase in their desire to read the Bible.
Either path is normal. Trust that God knows what He’s doing in you and what you need in the moment.
Regardless of your salvation experience, there will be an eternal change. You will have a desire to do what is right and a hunger for the truth.
Jesus is spiritually living inside of you now! Get ready for an amazing journey!
While you’re wondering, “Okay, so how do I become a Christian?” here are some important next steps on your Christian walk:
Step 1. Get Baptized
In the Bible, the first thing a new believer did was to get baptized. What does that mean?
Baptism is a public demonstration of your belief in Jesus’ crucifixion, burial, and resurrection. It is the outward symbol of what happened in your spirit when you accepted God into your life.
Your old life has died and gone down to the grave. You are placed under water as a symbol of that death and burial.
When you are lifted out of the water, you are raising up to new life as a follower of Jesus!
Baptism can be done by a pastor or someone who has led you into these truths. You are baptized into the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Your new identity is in God! As Paul said, “My life is hidden in Christ and God.” (Colossians 3:3)
Scriptures on Baptism:
Romans 6:1-18 | 1 Corinthians 12:13 | Mark 16:16 | Luke 3:21-22 | Mark 1:4-5 | John 1:29-33 | Matthew 3:11-17 | Acts 8:36-38 | Matthew 28:19-20 | Colossians 2:12 | 1 Peter 3:21 | Acts 22:16 | Galatians 3:27 | Luke 3:16 | Ephesians 4:4-6 | Acts 16:31-33 | Acts 2:38-41
Step 2. Read God’s Word, the Bible
As a New Testament believer, start your Christian journey by reading the books of the New Testament. The books of Matthew, John or Ephesians are great places to begin. Read and meditate on the words. You can pray the promises in the Bible back to God. God is faithful to His Word, so praying Scripture to Him is a powerful way to grow in prayer and intimacy with God.
Read your Bible and use it as the standard
“Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.” (Acts 17:11-12)
This clearly goes to show that we should be like the Berean Christians who would not just receive the teachings blindly. They went home regularly, searching the Scriptures to be sure the Apostles were teaching them things in alignment with God. They checked regularly to know if God had given such instructions as Paul and Silas gave them.
This is the most important tip. Whatever you are taught, ensure it reconciles with the Word of God. If what you are taught in any church (no matter the size or reputation) does not tally with the Bible, then leave that church and find a Bible-believing church.
“I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” (Ps 119:11)
The passage above shows us the importance of the Word of God. God is His Word. John 3:16 shows us just how important God’s Word is to Him. Psalm 119 shows us how important it should be to us.
Don’t have a Bible yet?
Step 3. Attend a Bible-Believing Church
“When the congregation was dismissed, many of the Jews and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, who talked with them and urged them to continue in the grace of God.” (Acts 13:43)
It is always joyous when children of God make their way to Him. It is always a wonderful thing when people confess their sins, acknowledge Jesus as their Savior and dedicate their lives to God!
The Bible tells us there is much joy in heaven whenever a sinner repents; much more than over ninety-nine people who do not need repentance (Luke 15:7). The blessings of God are numerous and are without repentance. You have taken a wonderful step towards eternal life.
Now—to find a Bible-believing church to be your place of worship!
Why a Bible-believing church?
When a you enter a new, unfamiliar land, you may not know much the culture. You may not know directions to available resources or utilities. In this new land, you may want a guide who knows the culture, the geography and the people. This is where a Bible-believing church comes in.
A Holy Spirit-filled, Bible-believing church will be valuable for guiding you down the right path. The Bible tells us that, in the last days, there will be many false teachers and prophets misleading God’s people. Therefore, healthy Biblical teaching and fellowship is a must for all believers.
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are.
“Woe to you, blind guides! You say, ‘If anyone swears by the temple, it means nothing; but if anyone swears by the gold of the temple, he is bound by his oath’.” (Matthew 23:15-16)
These are harsh words from Jesus to the religious leaders of His day. Instead of going to a church that does not believe in the Bible (and there are many), your goal is to be like the new converts in Act 13:43.
“If you want to walk fast, walk alone. If you want to walk far, walk together.” (African proverb)
There is power in association. It is important to be gathering with people who share the same faith. When you spend time with others who share your goals and beliefs, you grow stronger together. The Bible teaches us, “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” (Proverbs 27:17)
How to pick a Bible-believing church
As a new convert who knows little or nothing about churches and the Christian faith, this may prove to be a challenging task! No matter what you see or hear, the most important criterion is that the church you select must believe in Jesus Christ and worship the Lord God Almighty.
In Hebrews 11:25, we are commanded to fellowship with other believers. You will look for a church that preaches from God’s Word (free of additions or man-made traditions.)
Here are some tips to help you pick a Bible-believing church:
Interview and Internet
Conduct Internet research to find local Christian churches. Some searches you may want to do might be “churches near me”, “nondenominational churches near me” or “evangelical churches [your city]” (without the brackets.) Many churches will have a page called “Beliefs” or “What We Believe”. Upon finding a handful of churches that seem to fit, it’s time to begin calling them. Interview church leaders and pastors. Here are some basic questions you might ask any church you are considering:
- Is the Bible the 100% true, accurate Word of God inspired by the Holy Spirit?
- Is Jesus the Son of God and the only way to eternal life with God? Is there any way to God or eternal life other than through Jesus?
- What does the Bible say the world will look like when Jesus returns? Do we need to gain dominion of the earth before that happens?
- Through our effort, can we alter biblical prophecy?
- Does a person have any responsibilities to God upon accepting salvation?
- How important is popular culture in structuring your services?
- How do you train and equip your people to carry out the Great Commission?
- What opportunities are there for me to join Bible-study groups or volunteer?
- Do you preach sermons that talk about exposing false teachers and false doctrines? Should Christians ever question anointed teachers?
- What curriculum do your youth ministries use?
- To whom are church leaders accountable? Has your leadership ever been questioned by members? How was it addressed?
- What growth is more important to your church? Growth in numbers or growth in spiritual commitment of members? (They may only select one!)
- What is the most crucial issue your church has faced? How was it resolved?
- How do you determine the spiritual growth of your members?
- What is meant by the word “Church,” and what is its purpose?
- What is the role of your church in social issues and politics?
- When do you believe life begins?
- What are your church’s views on marriage and sexuality? Please share scriptures that confirm your beliefs.
- How does your church handle divorce among your members?
- Do you believe Christians and Muslims pray to the same God; are Yahweh and Allah the same?
(Questions originally from https://standupforthetruth.com/2011/12/church-shopping-35-key-questions-to-ask-the-church/ )
Eventually, it will be time to visit your finalists. Before and after services, go out of your way to meet people. Meet the pastor. Meet the leaders. Ask more questions. Tour the church. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you (He will). Eventually, you will find a church home.
Pray for God’s Guidance
God is your Father. When you accept him as your Lord, the Holy Spirit comes into your life. The Holy Spirit is our guide, our counselor, our friend and our comforter. Whenever you are not sure what to do, call upon God. Pray to Him and ask Him to guide you. He hears you and will order your steps.
Studying the Word of God and comparing it with the preaching at your local church is the ultimate way to discern whether your church is Bible-believing.
As you start upon your Christian journey, keep these tips close to heart. God will bless you and keep you on the right path! Praise God!