6 Ways to Close the Backdoor Through Follow-Up

The church of 150 in attendance averaged two first-time guests a week, or 100 a year. How many joined the church? Only three.

The church had no follow-up in place for guests.

The church of 225 in attendance had a high attendance day of 360, with 75 guests attending that single day. How many of the 75 eventually joined the church? Only two.

The church had no follow-up in place for guests.

The church of 550 in attendance has had a Christmas event the past ten years that draws 1,500 people each year. That’s 15,000 in ten years. How many new members can the church trace to the Christmas event? Zero. None. Nada.

The church had no follow-up in place for guests.

So what’s going on? Why are so many of our churches lousy at follow-up? I can point to at least six clear reasons.

  1. The church has no plan in place for follow-up. Follow-up does not just happen. A Great Commission church will know exactly what it’s supposed to do and who is supposed to do it every time a guest visits the church.
  2. Follow-up takes place outside the walls, a place of discomfort for many church members. A church’s follow-up ministry team needs to have the most outwardly focused members doing the ministry. Too many church members fear connecting with people outside the comfort of the walls of the church building.
  3. Follow-up ministry is not as splashy as other ministries. It often goes without encouragement or recognition.
  4. Follow-up ministry can become discouraging. Most of the time we focus on the five who expressed no desire to connect with our church rather than the one who did. We need to celebrate our follow-up ministries more.
  5. Follow-up ministry is not emphasized or recognized by leadership. That which is rewarded by leadership often gets the attention of the rest of the church. Not many leaders recognize or reward this ministry.
  6. Follow-up ministry is not even considered a ministry in many churches. Go to the websites of a number of churches. See how many of them mention some type of follow-up ministry as one of the ministries of the church. For many church members, that ministry simply does not appear to exist.

If our churches and their leaders would begin to elevate the importance of follow-up ministries incrementally, we would likely see a disproportionately positive response. It’s an incredible opportunity most churches are missing.

Read more from Thom.


 

Would you like to learn more about the importance of follow-up? Connect with an Auxano Navigator and start a conversation with our team.

 

Download PDF

Tags: , ,

| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Execution >

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Thom Rainer

Thom Rainer

Thom Rainer is the president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources.  Prior to LifeWay, he served at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary for twelve years where he was the founding dean of the Billy Graham School of Missions and Evangelism.  He is a 1977 graduate of the University of Alabama and earned his Master of Divinity and Ph.D. degrees from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. In addition to speaking in hundreds of venues over the past 20 years, Rainer led Rainer Group, a church and denominational consulting firm, from 1990 to 2005. The firm provided church health insights to over 500 churches and other organizations over that period. Rainer and his wife, Nellie Jo, have three grown sons: Sam, Art and Jess, who are married to Erin, Sarah and Rachel respectively.  The Rainers have six grandchildren: Canon, Maggie, Nathaniel, Will (with the Lord), Harper, and Bren. He is the author of twenty-four books, including Breakout Churches, Simple Life, Simple Church, Raising Dad, The Millennials, and Essential Church.  His latest book, Autopsy of a Deceased Church, was released in 2014 by B&H Publishing Group.

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
In this era, we have the opportunity of professional church staff today who utilize their gifting to shape the image and atmosphere of the church organization. But the 100% real impact on the church visitors is genuine evidence of changed lives by the gospel and the active growing discipleship (just as it was in the first century church). One demonstration is financially rich believers ministering equally together with poor believers (how odd, and incredibly miraculous; all humble and bow at the foot of the cross.). It is the awesome contrast of church members vocations, race, gender, age, maturity, gifting, humility that demonstrates to visitors "there is a Spirit in the place". That first-time guest list of 10 are "physical excuses", not spiritual excuses. Those don't tell the story. The condition of facilities and publicly greeting people have zero to do with it. The power of God in and through believers lives dedicated to impact other people with their relationship bridge-building of acceptance of the lost around them. Empowered believers are infectious, loving, helpful, giving, self-less, dynamic, compelling, bold, Christ-filled. As I have been in many church settings domestically and internationally, the facilities can be poor, and yet the fellowship can still be rich. We need to operate with first church humility. People come to Christ on His terms, not on our human abilities of hospitality. A huge catastrophe in a community, disaster relief brings lots of people into churches – many come to the church in those terrible conditions no matter the physical condition of the local church. Off the condition of facility, and onto the condition of God's people (living stones).... and everything else will grow.... and the other physical issues will be corrected by the staff.
 
— Russ Wright
 
"While I understand the intent behind this phrase" Expound please. What do you understand to be the intent behind that phrase?
 
— Ken
 
Thank you for this article! I'm the pastor of a small church. My gifting is in teaching and we are known for aiding Christians in becoming Biblically literate. Visitor's often comment on God's presence being very real in our services. But we just don't seem to be growing. I have some soul-searching, etc. to do and this article provides some solid ground from which to proceed. Thank you again.
 
— Jonathan Schultheis
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.