I just accepted Christ as my Savior …now what?
First of all…yay! We at Bel Air rejoice with you in this new and unparalleled commitment in your life! Throughout time and eternity, God has waited for this time in your life to call you His own and to reveal Himself to you in Jesus Christ.
Rest assured that He will walk with you always on this journey, that by the presence and guidance of the Holy Spirit, He will teach you all things, and He will give you discernment through prayer, His word, and the community of all believers.
I came to faith at the age of 30 and didn’t quite know where to begin here at Bel Air. How could I more fully understand this God who captured me with His love and healing embrace? How I could begin to serve Him?
Here are a few things that worked for me…I hope they are helpful to you!
Bless you on this journey!
Rev. Kim Dorr-Tilley
Come to Worship
Every week, worship at Bel Air is crafted with the prayer that you will draw closer to Christ. Through music, prayer, the sermon, and meeting others from every age and stage, we trust that God will move in your life uniquely when you create this space for Him.
Read the Bible
It doesn’t matter if you’ve never read it before. Just open it. Sometimes parts of it feel foreign and inaccessible but just keep reading until something resonates with you. Some people start with the Gospel of John, some with Romans, some with the Psalms, some at the very beginning with Genesis and some skip to the last page of Revelation. God is in all of it. Just read it. It doesn’t matter where you start. Sometimes you will find something that challenges you…something that you didn’t know was in the Bible – maybe something you wish wasn’t there. Never skip quickly past these parts. These are the times that God wants to talk to you about how to become more fully His. He might ask you to change how you’re living or how you’re thinking. When you get to a part like this in Bible, stop and pray. Ask God what he wants to ask you or teach you through this line or passage in the Bible. You might want to even get some paper and a pen to write down what the Scripture makes you think of. Ask God for clarity and wisdom and He will give it to you. God wants to woo you, melt you, heal you, convict you, compel you, encourage you, and inspire you – let His love letter be all these things to you.
If you’ve never done it, it might feel weird (but so did riding a bike for the first time!) There is no “right” way to do it, no formulas or incantations, no words that must be said. Prayer is a conversation with God, sitting before Him in expectation that He has something to say to you as much as you have something to say to Him.
When I was first learning to pray, someone taught me A.C.T.S.:
A is for adoration. When you come before God, He is worthy of your praise and adoration. Visualize Him. Think of His kindness, His mercy, the beautiful things He’s created, His love for you and those you love – adore Him for who He is and will always be outside of any circumstances. Adoration centers us in Him.
C is for confession. God tells us that when we confess our sins - the things we wish we hadn’t done or the things we know we should have done – He is faithful to forgive us. Why is this important? Because we walk around burdened by these things. They create guilt, shame, fear and isolation in our lives. God doesn’t want His children to live with any of these things. Confession is for our sake, not His.
T is for thanksgiving. The apostle Paul tells us in all things to give thanks and rejoice. Sometimes thanking God for what we are going through is the most counter-intuitive thing we can imagine. We are promised in Romans 8 that “in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” You can thank Him for trusting that He will use everything for His good. Thank him for what gives you joy and peace. Thank Him for everything that is a blessing in your life.
S is for supplication. We are told to make our requests known to God and to pray fervently without ceasing. Ask Him for what you need and what you desire. Ask him for what others need and desire too.
Join a Small Group
I didn’t really know what a “small group” was when I was asked to join one! It was a group of people who got together weekly to study the Bible. This group became most of very best friends. Not only did we read God’s word together and discuss it’s relevance in our lives (or sometimes how difficult it is to DO what it says to do!) but we also became accountable to each other. It started easily with someone saying, “Hey, I don’t want to do X anymore, so if you see me doing it, I want you to call me on it.” That led to others confessing areas of weakness, brokenness, pain…all the places the Lord wants to heal. Bel Air is a BIG place. A small group makes it personal.
Get Involved in a Group or Class at Bel Air
Bel Air has lots of what we call discipleship communities – a fancy way of saying “people with similar interests all hoping to grown in Christ.” From entertainment professionals (The Beacon) to Young Adults (The Foundry) to Young Marrieds to Single Parents…search our website under Discipleship Communities and check out a couple that interest you.
We also have two adult education programs, Open Word and Bethel, which teach the Bible specifically. Check them out on the website! (I love them both!)
Consider Going on a Short-Term Mission Trip
I know, it can sound crazy – me a “missionary”? That’s how I felt one day when I was up here listening to a group that had just returned from serving in Mexico. I was a brand new believer…certainly God would need “experts” to do this sort of thing, right?? NOPE. My first mission trip was to Cairo, Egypt! (This from a girl who had never traveled further than Mexico and Canada!) I can only explain my signing up to go as something that God prompted me to do. I had been a believer for only about 2 years and it all still felt new to me. I was scared to go, but I had more anxiety about not listening to what God was asking me to do. I had no affinity for the Middle East at that time nor had I ever desired to travel there. It was a place where God wanted to meet me and show me more of His love for the world.
There is only One expert at loving and that is Christ Himself. All the rest of us just put ourselves in His hands and let His love flow through us. That’s all it takes to be a missionary, to watch God move in the world and to see him move in your own life.
Find Out Where You Can Serve
It has been said that a calling from God is where your greatest passion meets the world’s greatest need. There are works that God has uniquely created each of us to do in service to Him – not to earn His grace but as an expression of living in His free gift of grace. We become more fully who God intends us to be by letting go of ourselves and finding ways to serve others. Bel Air has opportunities galore! Search our website and see what interests you. Don’t be shy…we NEED you!! Let us know where you’d like to serve.
Ask to Meet with a Pastor
If you have questions about any of the above, call and ask to meet with someone on the pastoral staff. Our heart’s desire is to see you grow in Christ. Let us know how we can help!!
May the Lord bless you and keep you!