The goal of every Sunday School or small group is to lead people to be in a life-changing Bible study and to come to know Christ as personal Savior. People are much more likely to accept Christ and unite with a church when they are active in a class or group. Churches annually commit time and money to discover new people; it is only logical for a class or group to promptly follow up when someone responds to these efforts.
Amazingly, many guests are never contacted after they visit a church, class or group. All the hard work to get a person to attend is not followed up to get them actively involved. The fear of rejection seems to grip members and leaders, paralyzing their ability to take appropriate action. God’s Word encourages us at this point: “For God has not given us a spirit of fearfulness, but one of power, love, and sound judgment” 2 Tim 1:7 (HCSB). God is with us as we follow up guests, and our desire is in harmony with His desire, to see people drawn close to Him.
Expect the church to have a follow-up strategy
The best follow-up strategies have a multi-level approach for making sure follow-up happens. Typically, the approach includes staff contacts, key leader contacts and Sunday School or small group contacts. In the case of a family visiting, it is common for leaders of children, student and adult age-groups to be making contacts. The strategy should provide leaders or members with contact information, church information and reporting form or procedure. Class leaders should be accountable for following through on assigned contacts.
Expect leaders/members to make contact sooner than later
Research has revealed that the quicker the follow-up the better. A class might have a strategy to make “glad you came” visits or contacts on Sunday afternoon. Some churches deliver cookies or a loaf of bread. Early in the week, the church or class might have an evening outreach ministry. Class leaders and members can pick up assignments and be off to make their contacts.
Today, people want everything they experience to be the way they prefer it. Our world is filled with personal choice; contacts from a class are no different. Leaders need to learn the community and age-group factors influencing personal preferences. Start by providing a way for guests to indicate their contact preferences. The list of options might include: call, visit, e-mail, facebook or text message. As you make contact, honor guest preferences.
Expect the church to provide relevant information
Relevant information should include:
- Guest contact information
- Map or directions if needed
- Church or ministry brochure(s)
- Tools for witnessing
- How to report the results
Expect leaders/members to report the results
Every contact with a guest is a link in a continuous story. Each part is critical to understanding. Have a definite way to collect the results and build the story of each guest. The story helps leaders make future contacts more relevant and meaningful.