Ryan is the Senior Pastor of Harvest Bible Chapel in Hickory, NC. He is the host of the "In The Room" podcast, and the author of 8 Hours, Or Less: Writing Faithful Sermons Faster.  

How To Follow Up

You just had a guest visit your church and you want to help them get connected, now what?  It's simple: FOLLOW UP! Here's how... 1. Get their information

We've tried this through a handful of means, but here's where we've seen the most success.

  • Design a simple info card (name, address, phone number, email, Facebook, Twitter, prayer requests, etc.).
  • Take a moment during your worship gathering (we do it during the announcements) and ask EVERYONE - yes everyone - to fill out this card. Tell people if they've already filled one out, to just write their name and a prayer request. Tell those who have never filled one out, to fill the card out in it's entirety.
  • Invite people to drop their cards in the offering, or to give them to one of your volunteers.
It may seem odd to ask everyone to fill it out every week, but at Redemption we went from 1-2 cards a week and 2-3 prayer requests a month to nearly 10 new cards and 40+ prayer requests on a weekly basis when we began asking everyone to fill them out each week. First step, get their information.

2. Make the call

Once you have the info make a personal phone call to every guest who visits your church. Don't send a form email and don't delegate this to someone else. Make the call! Thank them for visiting, listen to their story, ask them for feedback, and invite a next step (See #4). The power of a personal connection, even just over the phone, cannot be underestimated in your quest to gain traction with new people. It can be a little awkward, you will get a lot of voicemail boxes, but it communicates your care and means a great deal to people when you make the call.

3. Look to shepherd

Another reason placing a phone call to guests is so important is that it provides you an opportunity to shepherd them. You can encourage, counsel, recommend books, and pray over these people as the Spirit leads. One week, I even had the great privilege of leading a woman to Christ over the phone. Pray prior to placing the call and ask the Spirit to allow you the opportunity to shepherd these hearts and lives.

4. Invite the next step

Finally, the most important purpose in follow up is inviting guests to take a next step. What that next step is will be determined by your specific ministry philosophy, or strategy. It may be joining a small group, attending a class, or serving on a ministry team. When we had one or two guests a week I would invite people out for coffee, so I could cast vision for what we believed God had called us to at Redemption. When it became impossible to meet with everyone one-on-one, we began having a monthly newcomer's lunch. This is the next step we invite everyone to in order to communicate our vision to them.

Lead Pastor, I would argue that outside your weekly sermon preparation and leadership development, guest follow up is one of the most important things you should do. Don't overlook it, don't give it away, and don't neglect it. Do the important work of following up and let's shepherd the people Jesus is drawing to our churches.

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