Plan Ministry Follow-Up As Part Of Your Promotions
By Chris Forbes
Properly marketing your church includes many steps. However, you must lay a foundation if you expect to see benefits. It won’t help to advertise if you don’t have a thorough follow-up plan and “next step” ministries designed for those you reach through your promotions.
Too often church leaders treat advertising as an automatic cure for growth. They plan outreaches and special events to attract newcomers and build a crowd. They hope some of the new people will stay, thereby increasing their numbers.
This mentality stems from the old adage (now a cliché): “It is easier to build a core from a crowd than it is to build a core into a crowd.”
Reaching The Masses
True, it is easy to build a crowd through promotions. And, in that crowd you will likely find it easier to recruit new members. Yet, there is another issue, and churches that follow this adage often fail to address it.
When you build a crowd, you have to bring new people into the church through special events, exciting programs or some other kind of seeker-sensitive program. But if you keep making contacts and don’t take these people deep into the gospel, you create another problem: inoculating them against the gospel.
Inoculation works by giving patients enough of a virus that their body can fight it off and develop a resistance without getting the disease. A church that has a continual emphasis on crowd building, without a corresponding emphasis on follow-up, is in danger of inoculating these people against the gospel virus.
What is keeping the church in the United States from growing? Nominal Christians, meaning people who are Christian in name only.
Too many people have had shallow experiences in church that lead them to think they know what faith in Christ is all about. These nominal believers are mistaken; Christianity is far more than they know. But who’s going to tell them the difference? Every time they go to church it’s the same story: a new crowd-building event is underway.
That is why it is crucial for churches that want to build their ministry outreach plan to also intentionally follow up with newcomers through “next step” ministries.
Think of each time your church connects with a new person as building a bridge of understanding with them. This initial bridge is a one-ton bridge. But the gospel is a five-ton message.
You can’t take all five tons of the gospel across the bridge at once. However, you can break it down, one ton at a time, and keep going until you deliver all five tons.
While many churches deliver the first ton or two through crowd building events, they have the responsibility to distribute the rest of the message. In many cases, they don’t continue with people long enough because they lose focus and go off looking for the next prospect.
Develop Follow-Up Ministries
Look at your church’s guest list from previous months. Then, assign members to connect personally with all the people on it to make sure they understand the gospel.
Next, look at your membership rolls and see how many people have become inactive or fallen through the cracks. It’s time to build relationships with them again!
In addition, develop “next step” ministries to help people who visit your church to go deeper into the gospel.
Your church needs a strategy for assimilating new people, including several classes or other ways for them to participate so they are exposed to the rest of the gospel.
Small groups are ideal for this. Saddleback Church has assimilation classes that follow the theme of a baseball diamond. You might like that strategy, but may want to design your own.
The key is to assimilate people you reach into understanding of the gospel so they can begin a lasting relationship with Jesus Christ.
Small Group Networks
Get new people connected, both in small groups and a church ministry.
Your church should consider developing a network of small groups. Small groups are excellent places for people to take the next steps in understanding the gospel. The LifeTogether.com resources can help you develop small groups. And, as old fashioned as it may sound, Sunday School is an excellent way to assimilate new people. See LifeWay.com for resources.
If you have a follow-up plan for those you contact with your advertising, you will be reaching people. When you have healthy relationships, thorough follow-up, and people involved in small groups, people are happier. They are far more likely to talk about your church to their friends. This word-of-mouth advertising is the best kind.
This article “Plan Ministry Follow-Up As Part Of Your Promotions” written by Chris Forbes is excerpted from ministrymarketingcoach.com Website by Chris Forbes.
“This article may not be written by an Apostolic author, but it contains many excellent principles and concepts that can be adapted to most churches. As the old saying goes, “Eat the meat. Throw away the bones.”