Everyone has a spiritual journey. Where did yours begin? You may recall a particular moment of change. You may feel as though you’ve been a Christian forever. You may not yet believe. How does conversion work? What does it mean to be “born again”? Stephen Smallman unpacks these questions by looking at John’s gospel as well as biblical, historical, and contemporary case studies, showing how the Holy Spirit’s work can be traced in the lives of new believers. As we study the stories of others and consider our own, we will discover a new way of relating evangelistically to the people around us—not as spiritual salespeople but as spiritual midwives called to assist in the birth. With a birthline chart and lesson plan for a six-week course, this book will be a help and encouragement to anyone exploring what it means to become a Christian.


Previously published as Spiritual Birthline: Understanding How We Experience the New Birth (Crossway, 2006).


“In place of our too-often clichéd born-again narratives, Smallman guides us to a richer understanding that is wonderfully profound and reassuringly practical.”
—Mindy Belz, Editor, WORLD
“Beginnings . . . gave me an interpretive framework of [the] new birth that was not only more accurate, all-embracing, and truthful but, more importantly, God-centered.”
—Rico Tice, Founder, Christianity Explored
“In a compelling way Stephen Smallman helps us understand . . . the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit. This book will prove profitable to all who read it.”
—Jerry Bridges, Author, The Pursuit of Holiness

"I want to follow Jesus, but I... don't know anything about the Bible. don't have a Christian background. have drifted so far away, how can I start over? have no idea where to begin!" 

With his years of experience in pastoral ministry, Steven Smallman ensures that you don't need prior knowledge to begin your journey with Christ. Whether you're a brand-new Christian or a disciple renewing your commitment, this practical, basic, step-by-step approach to discipleship will be your guide as you take your first crucial steps on the walk.



"This is the fruit of a lifetime of experience in ministry. I recommend this warm, practical, gospel-centered and very useful manual on discipleship."
—Timothy Keller
"Stephen Smallman has given us a great gift with this book. It's now the first resource I'd recommend for disciples wanting to make disciples (which should be all of us)."
—Justin Taylor
"Lots of people have a heart for discipleship, but few have the ability to apply the gospel to a person’s spiritual journey (seeker and believer alike) with the compassion and wisdom of Steve Smallman. His heart for God and for people energizes his ministry and this book."
—Ron Lutz
"A gem of a book which, while aimed specifically at the unbeliever and the new Christian, will yet benefit even those older in the faith who take time to read it and be reminded of, and refreshed by, the great, simple truths of the life-changing gospel."
—Carl Trueman

Do you want to know God deeply? Why not start with learning from the man who spoke to God face to face? Stephen Smallman takes you on a journey alongside Moses, delving into the richness of God’s unfolding revelations of himself in Exodus and Deuteronomy—but also pointing onward to Christ. God told Moses his name, proved his holiness time and again, and demonstrated his love and loyalty to his people. In his grace, he even allowed Moses to become a type of his Son. As you follow Moses through forty meditations, your knowledge of God will deepen, and you will better experience God’s presence in your life, just as Moses did.



"These scriptural meditations will refresh your spirit, renew your passion for God, and help you to find rest in the gospel grace of Jesus Christ."
—Philip Graham Ryken, President, Wheaton College
"Steve Smallman invites us in these daily devotions to follow Moses in his passion to press on to know the presence of God. I was greatly blessed by Steve's challenge."
—Rose Marie Miller, Author, From Fear to Freedom
"Steve Smallman compellingly and comprehensively reveals the God of love and grace pursuing us, redeeming us, and making a way to know him and enjoy his presence through the atoning work of the cross."
—Libby Cannizzaro, Former Women’s Ministry Coordinator, The Falls Church (Anglican)

How Our Children Come to Faith

Stephen Smallman has written a booklet to Christian parents about how to raise their children in a spirit of faith rather than anxiety. It all begins when parents bring their children to Jesus for his blessing. He then explains the meaning of regeneration and conversion as it relates to children raised in Christian families. Basics of the Faith booklets introduce readers to basic Reformed doctrine and practice. On issues of church government and practice they reflect that framework—otherwise they are suitable for all church situations.



"Reading this concise and thorough explanation will encourage your own faith to believe God's promises for our children, our families, and Jesus' Church as we tell his story to the next generation."     
—Sue Jakes
"Smallman gives parents a biblical grid that is at once helpful in shaping our prayers for our children, in instructing us in what needs to be cultivated in them, and in giving us guidance for how to help them appreciate the tremendous blessings held in store via the ordinary means of grace."     
—Ligon Duncan


What is a Reformed Church?

People often ask, "What is a Reformed church?" or "What do you mean by Reformed?" Smallman's booklet will help pastors and churches answer these questions clearly. While teaching new member classes, Smallman writes, "I got a sense of the kind of issues that are in peoples' minds as they struggle to understand and appreciate the core doctrines and traditions of the church." Here he discusses the Reformed view of Scripture, divine sovereignty, the covenant, the law, the church, and the kingdom. Basics of the Faith booklets introduce readers to basic Reformed doctrine and practice. On issues of church government and practice they reflect that framework—otherwise they are suitable for all church situations.



“An excellent resource for new members’ classes . . . well written. Stephen Smallman’s warmth and pastoral manner come through . . . I am aware of no other resource that covers the same ground.”     
—Philip Graham Ryken
“Smallman does an admirable job in covering a lot of material without sacrificing accuracy or clarity. His style is easy to read and conversational in tone, yet rich in content. He expresses things in a way that averts stereotypical criticisms of Reformed beliefs.”     
—Barry Traver

What is True Conversion?

Stephen Smallman explains the roles of the Father, the Son, and the Spirit in conversion. For many people who have been converted to Christ, they are "profoundly aware that something spiritual has happened, but just what that 'something' is, is still unclear." "I am addressing the new convert, but I'm also thinking of those who have been believing Christians for some time," writes Smallman. Basics of the Faith booklets introduce readers to basic Reformed doctrine and practice. On issues of church government and practice they reflect that framework—otherwise they are suitable for all church situations.



"This little booklet could help solve one of the greatest problems in churches today—confusion over what it means to really become a Christian. With the sure touch of a humble Christian and a faithful pastor, Steve Smallman has served us well by giving us a brief and biblical treatment of conversion."     
—Mark Dever

What is Discipleship?

The Great Commission is one of the best-known teachings of Jesus—but, on a practical level, how do we respond to Jesus' mandate to "go and make disciples"? Just what is discipleship? Here are ten basic building blocks for church leaders and all concerned Christians to use as a starting point to respond to the challenge of the Great Commission in their own churches. Stephen Smallman offers a framework for a theologically sound disciple-making strategy for both believers and seekers. Basics of the Faith booklets introduce readers to basic Reformed doctrine and practice. On issues of church government and practice they reflect that framework—otherwise they are suitable for all church situations.



"Few books on discipleship are written from the Reformed perspective and rich pastoral experience this book represents. . . . Drawing from the triumphant truths of the gospel, it will inspire as it informs."      —Michael S. Horton
"Discipleship is crucial to our understanding and application of the gospel, but discipleship doesn’t just happen on its own. . . . Smallman trains pastors and laypeople in the fundamental but oft-forgotten elements of gospel-driven discipleship."      —Burk Parsons

Understanding the Faith

Understanding the Faith is for those who desire to profess their faith publicly and become members of a church. This workbook walks students through the essentials of the Christian faith, modeling the format of The Westminster Shorter Catechism. This workbook has been used by churches for more than thirty years. This revised edition using the ESV® text makes the workbook easy to use for pastors, teachers, parents, and youth.



"Hundreds of our youth have been tutored in the opportunity of making their profession of faith in Christ and admission to church membership by this biblically strong, Reformed curriculum. It is unique. I am delighted to see it updated and published for a wider audience."   —Michael A. Rogers, senior pastor at Westminster Presbyterian Church, Lancaster, PA
"Steve Smallman's communicant-class lessons logically and enjoyably explained church membership. I emerged from his class with a richer understanding of Scripture and the Christian faith. Even after graduating from college with a degree in religion, I still find Understanding the Faith to be an excellent resource and a reminder of what church membership is all about."      —Ryan Dolibois, teacher/administrator for Houston inner-city schools
"It is important that my children know the scriptural reasons for what we believe. It is not enough for them to recite facts; they need to know why we believe what we do. Understanding the Faith is an excellent tool for accomplishing this purpose, not just for children, but also for adults. I recommend it for use in communicants classes, in Sunday School, or for teaching in the home."      —Cynthia Delvecchio, homemaker, Philadelphia