While it is understood to be desirable for applicants for baptism to study with a Brother or Sister of their choice, it is also agreed that these classes often form the foundation of a future Brother / Sister’s life in the Truth, and for that reason, these guidelines are provided for any and all Brethren who are preparing others for baptism. Particular attention should be given to those coming to a knowledge of God’s salvation from outside of our Ecclesial Sunday School program, as they will tend to be least familiar with the operations and traditions of Ecclesial life. It is readily acknowledged that a familiarity with the written word is only the first step in a walk towards the Kingdom. While this is the easiest part of the preparation to address (using readily available materials like The Christadelphian Instructor, or Preparing for Baptism, for example), attention to the more “spiritual” matters should not be left undone. It is in the “bonding” and relationship-forming time of pre-baptismal classes that time should be spent exhorting and admonishing the candidate to seek for the fullest and broadest participation in Ecclesial life as possible. It should be made clear to the candidate that this pursuit will not only help the Ecclesia, and fulfill the commandments of our Lord, but will also greatly benefit them personally. To that end, we recommend that the following items be covered frequently, sufficiently, and in conjunction with the other gospel truths that will arise in your studies:
1) The role of the Ecclesia
Why God put us in groups.
The benefits of a “three strand cord”.
Why it is not good to be alone.
What to expect from your Ecclesia.
What your Ecclesia will expect from you.
The value of being accountable to someone.
How to transfer to another Ecclesia.
The value of visiting other Ecclesias.
How change comes about in an Ecclesia.
Why you should attend Business Meetings.
2) The role of a Brother / Sister
What it means to share fellowship with those around you.
Why it matters who you break bread with.
How to correct a relationship if you have offended someone. How to handle a situation if a person has offended you.
The importance of open, honest communication.
Praying for others.
Asking for prayers for yourself.
Your responsibilities to your immediate family.
3) Withdrawal of Fellowship
Why we withdraw fellowship.
What reasons we might have for withdrawing from you. What to do if it happens.
How to properly react to Ecclesia censorship.
What to do if you feel others should be corrected.
The commandment to remember the Lord’s Sacrifice.
What will happen if you are absent.
What you should do if you notice that others are absent. The importance of attendance at other functions.
The value of supporting functions at other Ecclesias.
The value of attending Bible Schools.
Your commitment to teaching and leading others in classes.
The commandment to give of our increase.
The benefits that God showers on those that are generous. How our Ecclesia goes about collecting funds.
What things we spend money on.
Financial items that are your responsibility.
Financial items that the Ecclesia pays for.
These are simply a few of the topics that should be addressed. In-depth discussions on what “Ecclesial Life” entails, and what is expected of the candidate is the goal. The “First Principles” are adequately covered by the teaching materials readily available, but these items are the responsibility of the teacher. In addition to the basic instruction regarding God’s promises and our role in them, it is beneficial to both the candidate, and to the Ecclesia, if all Members play a positive and active role in our Ecclesia.
How will they learn, unless you teach them?