I believe follow up is one of the most important parts of ministry. Every person who walks through the doors of our churches is a life that God wants us to steward well (1 Corinthians 4:1). And an effective way to steward that relationship with our people is following up with them exceptionally. Today, I'd like to share three ways we can do that.
One of the things that prevents clarity is confusion. Have you ever noticed the traffic signs on the road? If you're like me, you don't think about them a lot because you're so busy paying attention to the traffic. Instead, we just follow the signs. Now imagine you're driving on a road and there isn't one sign at an intersection but several. You don't find a stop sign but a stop sign, yield sign, and merge sign there. How confusing that would be! One reason road signs are set up the way they are is to help drivers stay safe by keeping their minds on the road.
In your church, people need to know how to "read the signs" clearly. For example, if they are new to your church, you want them to know that they are loved and invited back. If someone makes a decision to follow Christ, you want to follow up with them on baptism, which the Bible says is their very next step. If they have been coming to church for awhile, you want to invite them to your membership class. Whatever your follow up process is, you want to make sure it is clear to your people.
Going back to my road sign analogy, we don't want to communicate too much to people because that causes frustration. I remember sitting in a church staff meeting when we were trying to figure out how to follow up with people having multiple "touch points" with the church. These people were 1) first time guests and 2) making a decision for Christ and 3) requesting information on groups or some other ministry. As we talked about it, we realized that we didn't want to overwhelm people by sending them three different letters or emails from three different staff members. So we decided to create a single letter that covered those multiple touch points.
Whatever you decide, make sure your follow up process is concise. You don't want to overwhelm the people you are trying to minister to. It is important to let them know you care about them but in a way that is helpful for them.
Finally, your follow up needs to be consistent. Imagine again that you are driving on a road you travel on every day but, each day this week, the road signs have changed. That would be both confusing and frustrating! Change is important in any church and you want to feel free to make changes that will help you minister more effectively. But, after you decide on a follow up process, stick with it, at least for awhile. Both your staff and volunteers need to know what is expected of them when they follow up. I currently serve as a care team volunteer at church and I've been taught a consistent process. When I have a conversation with an individual making a spiritual decision, I talk with them, write them a card, and then follow up with them during the week. Because I know what is expected of me, it allows me to focus more on caring for people. In your church, the follow up process needs to be consistent.
Pastor, your church's follow up is so important. When it is clear, concise, and consistent, it will help your church steward its people well.