David sat in silence for some time. Finally he looked up at his pastor and with a touch of emotion in his voice said, “Pastor, thank you again for letting me come. Now I know why you are always challenging us to invite people to church. It’s so you can have an excuse to visit them!”Bro. Baker smiled broadly.
By Tim Massengale
Pastor Vernon Baker glanced at the card in his hand and double checked the address against the ‘MapQuest’ printout he held for directions. Looking at the number on the mail box, he pulled the car to the curb and shut off the engine. He glanced at the young saint sitting beside him.
“Well, David, are you ready to go fishing?” he said with a grin.
The young man grinned back weakly. “Sure, Elder! Let’s see if they are home.”
Ten minutes later they climbed back into the car and waving to the figure still standing on the door step, they drove on down the road to their next follow-up visit.
David sat quietly for a few minutes thinking about the visit they had just made. Then he spoke. “Bro. Baker, thanks for taking me with you. That was fun. I guess I expected them to be somewhat resistant to our visit.”
Bro. Baker smiled. “Oh, they don’t all go that well. Some people can be cold and occasionally they will be down-right rude. But I don’t let that stop me. These are the most important visits I will make all week. These are the future members of my church.”
David looked puzzled. “How can you be so sure?”
“Because every new convert first comes to church as a visitor. I can’t remember the last time someone received the Holy Ghost that had never sat on our pews. It does happen occasionally, but rarely. So our visitors are our future church. If these visitors don’t return and receive the Holy Ghost, we will have few, if any, new converts.”
David slowly nodded his head. “So you think visiting visitors is the best way to get them to return?”
“I know it is. Do you remember what we did at the door when Sarah answered?”
“Sure! You invited her and her husband to the upcoming Fall Festival Celebration next month.”
“Exactly. I let her know how much we enjoyed them visiting with us at the Easter Drama six months ago and gave her a flyer for the upcoming Fall Festival. This is the second time I have visited them and invited them back. The first visit was about three months after the drama and I stopped by to invite them to the revival we had with Bro. Winters last June. Now, three months later, I’m inviting them to the Fall Festival. I’m hoping they will come.”
“Why not just send them an invitation in the mail? That would be a lot easier,” David said.
“Yes, it would,” replied Bro. Baker with a nod. “But it would not allow me to do the two other things we did when we visited. Do you remember what happened after I handed her the flyer?”
“Uhhh…you said something about a home Bible study, I think.”
“Right. I asked her if she had thought anymore about the home Bible study program that I had told her about that last time I visited. Do you remember her response?”
“Yes. She said she would talk to her husband about it.”
“Yep. And I gave her a home Bible study brochure that explained it a bit more. Hopefully she will remember to ask him. Her response was pretty typical. Most say, ‘I’ll think about it’ or ‘I’ll have to talk to my husband,’ or some other excuse.”
David grinned. “Kind of discouraging, huh?”
Bro. Baker grinned back. “Not really. Most of the home Bible studies we get from visitor follow-up come after we have asked them four or five times for one. We rarely get one the first time we ask.”