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People will visit your church for lots of different reasons, but they stick around because of the relationships they form with other people in your church. The first on-ramp to getting connected in a church is follow-up. The simple fact is that churches who follow up and prioritize healthy relationships tend to grow both deep and wide. Does your church do a good job of follow up with visitors and attenders? How do you know? When is the last time you checked?
I have a team of people who work with me that “secret shop” churches. At a pastors request, we show up unannounced to a church on a Sunday morning, do everything asked of us and then record the experience for feedback to the churches leadership. Before we visit, we ask the pastor what we can expect in terms of connection and follow up. I have lead this effort many times over the years. In all those years, never once have we experienced everything the pastor thought we would. In most cases we experience little if anything the pastor described. What message do you think this sends to visitors and attenders?
I suggest pastors and leaders of churches commit to do one thing everyday to nurture the relationships in the church. Additionally, I encourage pastors and leaders to find ways to empower key leaders in the church to prioritize follow up. Follow up should not rest squarely on the shoulders of the senior leader. It is the responsibility of the whole church.
Below is a list of daily actions that only require a few minutes of your workday. It may not seem like much, but these daily actions compounded over time will result in a pipeline of connection and relational activity guaranteed to grow your church.
Sunday is Capture Contact Info Day. The first step in every relationship is the exchange of names. Make sure somewhere in your service someone asks for an email address so “we can start telling you about what is going on around here.”
Monday is Follow-Up Day. Make sure someone follows up with new visitors who provided their contact info at Sunday’s service. Follow your plan—whether its phone calls, emails, or snail mail, be consistent and follow up. The easiest way to do this is ask the person responsible for follow up to bring you a list of this weeks visitors and a copy of what was sent to those visitors.
Tuesday is Connection Day. Connect with individuals in the church about joining a community group or another type of spiritual growth event in the church. Use this day to encourage the church to connect with each other on a regular basis. Make sure someone is calling people to join community groups or volunteer in service. Even in this media savy age, a phone call here is your best bet for connection.
Wednesday is Party Day. Well, maybe not a party. But make sure your team is planning events that engage the neighborhood around you. Make sure you are able to gather contact info as a part of your event so that you can follow up later.
Thursday is Update Day. Send the church database an e-newsletter with upcoming events, service opportunities, or even perhaps an inside track to the coming Sunday sermon.
Friday is Prep Day. Check in on the database and follow up systems in your church to make sure they are working and ready for Sunday. Leave space for a second follow up to your contact efforts from Monday and Tuesday.
Saturday is Relax Day. Spend time with your family and when you think of it, pray a quick prayer that lives will be touched in the week ahead.
When we as church leaders steward the relationships God has placed in our lives, we are being faithful to God’s call. We are also setting ourselves up to be a part of a vibrant, growing, and fun church.
May God give you the insight, strength, and opportunities to prioritize relationships in your church.