A friend of mine told me his daughter (Lexie) and son-in-law (John) had moved to a new city and spent a short amount of time looking for a church. They did find one quickly and enjoyed the pastor and atmosphere.
Just one small problem … They never gave the church their contact info. It wasn’t the church’s fault Lexie and John didn’t fill out a guest card. However, about a year later Lexie and John felt like they were not connecting with young couples in the church … and of course, to them, it was the church’s fault.
[To address this very issue, one of the systems or plans to have in place is your follow-up system for church guests. Feel free to download this PDF and get started with a system that will increase your retention of those who visit the church.]
I had contact with Lexie’s dad and I knew the church so I talked with the pastor responsible for small groups and assimilation. On one hand, the church knew a year ago specifically about Lexie and John and yet didn’t bird-dog down their info. On the other hand, I had to tell Lexie’s dad that his daughter and son-in-law were clearly not trying very hard.
A topic for another blog is the “Nuts and bolts of getting contact info from guests.” This church was not setting the mark for the rest of us. And Lexie and John were not that unusual in expecting much while providing little.
For today, however, I want to talk through just a few things to consider when following up on guests.
1. Know that follow-up is hard work.
There is no magic wand. I do encourage you to download this free Perfect Follow-Up Plan PDF but even with this, it’s not a formula to deliver guests. You have to WORK IT, WORK IT, WORK IT …
2. Follow-up is a long-game.
Follow-up is not for the feint-of-heart. Not everyone who visits your church is going to become a part of your church. Take that to the bank. However, if you do the right things enough times, good things will happen and a good number of your guests will matriculate to involvement in the church. But it is a long-game; takes time.
3. Work hard to make follow-up feel good and natural to the guest.
You don’t need to feel like an overbearing used car salesman (no disrespect to the overwhelming number of high-integrity used car salesmen out there). No need to be a helicopter pastor with every guest. Who wants that? If your follow-up feels relational and genuine, you’ll go way past first base in no time.
Here are some things from a practical standpoint I would do with every guest who gives you contact information.
1. Send them a text thank you for coming the Sunday of their visit.
2. Call and email them the next day.
3. By Wednesday, offer to provide them small group information for them to consider.
4. On Saturday, send them a reminder text of church the next day.
5. Eight days after their first visit send them an invitation to a New People’s Party (Newcomer’s Dinner) which you should schedule at least every 6 – 8 weeks, even with a small number of guests (make sure it’s at least more than five).
6. Pick dates over the next 6 weeks to periodically text or email them.
7. Stick with it.
This is just a skeletal suggestion. You need to build it to fit you. However, the point is you need to “have a plan” and you “have to work the plan.” If you do, you will be amazed at what God will do.