Big days are a lot of things. They are exciting. It is always great to meet first time guests. No doubt about it you cannot do the work that leads to a special day without expending a tremendous amount of energy. But, I want us to consider that they are a gift. The best part of a big day is the guest cards that we receive. They are a gift; but gifts from God always bring responsibilities our way. No special Sunday is complete until we “Follow Through on Follow Up.”
I believe that there are some elements that are vital for follow up to be effective. I am sure some would immediately consider one system or plan above another. I am all for a good plan, but a good plan is not the most important part of follow up. Some think of a computer system to track people, but computers do not build churches. I suppose they can help, but they do not lead people to Christ or invite them to return. Others may think the work is done when the day is past. That is tragic. The most important part of follow up is the dedication in the lives of those following up. I want to consider a few elements that are essential if we are to get the harvest into the proverbial barn.
There is no replacement for that “fire in the belly” mentality that will settle for nothing less than personally gleaning fruit that will remain. Ultimately, the value of a staff member is seen in the people that he adds to the family of God as well as the church family. I am happy to use a good system, and I am happy for a database that tracks people. But without a team that is passionate about Christ and the gift of guests that the Holy Spirit has led our way we will have had a special day with no lasting results. Here is the challenge: own your prospects. Go after them. Care for them. A big day is not finished until we “follow through on follow up.”
This point is similar to the first, but it speaks of longevity. Passion will take us on our first visit. Passion will write the note or make the phone call. Persistence will lead us back for the third and fourth visit. Persistence will keep them on our radar. Persistence is what got the snail to the ark and it is what will get your prospects into the church. Last night after church a lady came to me and said, “I have invited my neighbor more times than I can count, and the whole family came to church with us today!” Our testimony in time should be, “I visited this family more times than I can count, and they returned today!” We have to love people like Jesus. His love is not fickle. It is passionate as well as persistent. Do not make a visit, return the address and map, and go on your merry way. Truly follow through on follow up. Love that person to Christ and His church.
It seems so cliché that it is almost ridiculous to mention it, yet I have found that this piece is more rare than systems and programs. We have to include prayer in our follow up regimen if we hope to work in the power of God. Prayer does what our labor cannot. Prayer touches the heart of God and God touches the hearts of guests. Prayer also keeps our heart toward the needs of those we have met along the way. Make a prayer list out of the prospects you are following up on, and keep them there until they unite with the church.
It is common and important to discuss the plan or program that will be used to follow through on follow up, but the most important aspect is the person doing the follow up. Be a difference-maker.