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Postnatal Care

postnatal pic

 

Once a baby is born, the first 20-30 minutes are crucial. This time is to make sure the baby is healthy and what steps might need to be taken to ensure their proper development. At one minute and at five minutes an Apgar assessment is performed that checks the heart rate, breathing, muscle tone, reflex response, and color. The newborn’s weight and measurements are taken and recorded. The baby is never more dependent upon others than when postnatal care is taking place.

When a person receives Christ as their Lord and Savior we need to consider how important the first 20-30 minutes are for them. All too often we celebrate, and we should, but we do not immediately begin to care for the infant in Christ. It is almost as if they are left to fend for themselves and we believe that they will just naturally grow and develop on their own. They are not ready to care for themselves and they need someone who will guide and help them at this crucial time.

There are two keys to spiritual growth.

  • First, you must begin taking steps immediately.
  • Second, you must continue to take steps constantly.

The first key is vitally important but what if you do not know what steps you should take? Yes, the individual believer is personally responsible for his or her own spiritual growth but we also are responsible to these new babes in Christ. We must be available to lead them on a path that will help them grow as quickly and smoothly as possible.

Paul makes this clear in Galatians 4:19, “My children, I am again suffering labor pains for you until Christ is formed in you.” Once someone takes the step to become a child of God we must then help him or her to grow and mature knowing that it does not occur just automatically. Consider the importance of postnatal care to the young believer. Someone must be ready to care for them in the areas they are unable to care for themselves by mapping out the next steps they need to take so they mature in the Lord.

What does postnatal care look like for the new believer?

  1. Have a designated caregiver! The first steps for a new believer can usually be accomplished more effectively in a one on one relationship with a more mature believer. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if every time someone made a public profession of faith that they were immediately introduced to a caregiver? The journey begins with someone who can help guide them in the next steps of following Christ. The caregiver begins to assess the new believer’s needs.
  2. Relationships are immediately built and deepened. Titus 2 clearly shows us the importance of older men and women teaching and guiding the younger ones. This is not necessarily older in age but could also be older in their walk and maturity with Christ. Win Arn has said that a new attender needs six new relationships in the first six months for them to stay around; “Six to stick!” It probably must happen much faster in today’s world. The caregiver begins the steps toward strong relationships.
  3. The discipleship process begins immediately by teaching them about the next steps they need to take in their spiritual journey. What does it mean to be born again? What is baptism and why is it important? Why should they be faithful to attend worship services weekly? What does it look like to read their bible daily and develop a prayer life? Consider all of the things you want the new believer to experience within the first month as a Christian and be prepared to show them the next steps after that.
  4. You demonstrate to them that they are not on this journey alone. Sometimes they do not realize that help is available. If a mentor was assigned from day one of new birth then it would develop a culture where it is natural that every new believer has a caregiver until they can care for themselves and then help care for someone else. The goal is always to be moving them forward. Remember, the second key to spiritual growth is for them to continue to take steps forward.
  5. Keep them moving forward. Hal Seed, pastor of New Song Church in Oceanside, CA, says this about caring for new believers, “Newborns are pretty much helpless. They can’t feed themselves, change themselves, or help themselves in any way except to cry out for momma. Young children, on the other hand, can do many things for themselves. If children are coddled and never learn to take responsibility for feeding and clothing themselves, their personal growth will be stilted.”

“Likewise, if teens don’t start helping others, their character development is stunted and they wind up as self-absorbed and self-centered adults. Help your people take responsibility for themselves and then for others as early as possible.” Constantly moving the new believer toward being a self-feeder and showing them how to progress from the milk of the word to the meat is essential. Then the new believer becomes a maturing believer and the maturing believer can then become a reproducing believer.

Healthy churches care for their newborns. Colossians 1:28-29 says, “We proclaim Him, warning and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that they may present everyone mature in Christ. I labor for this, striving with His strength that works powerfully in me.”

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