In this post, I gave an introduction with a video of our discipleship process. I’ll now share some details regarding the first step and how we do what we do.
To begin with, we believe that the weekend worship service is a prime time to help people connect with Jesus. So that means that we exhibit a certain posture in what we do. In other words, we assume and believe that there are unchurched people in the audience every weekend.
In some churches, it’s easy to tell that they’re only speaking to “their people.” A first-time guest would, therefore, feel pretty uncomfortable in that kind of setting. Here, I shared my experience in what it felt like to be an outsider in a religious service of a different religion than mine. By the way, if you’ve never had the experience of being an outsider before, you need to do yourself that favor and experience it. You need to know what it feels like to be a first-time guest in someone else’s church, synagogue, or temple.
So what do we do to facilitate people connecting to Jesus?
During the Service
The main part of what we do is to use a response card every week.
Now, I know that some of my missional friends will dismiss what I’m about to share as being very modernistic and attractional, perhaps thinking that this objectifies people, but I disagree. I want to help as many people as possible become a follower of Jesus Christ, and I think having an organized process helps to facilitate that. That being said, let me jump into the card itself.
Here’s the front of the card:
Here’s the back of the card:
On the back, you’ll notice three different things. Firstly, on the top left side of the card, we have customized next steps. We update this every single week depending on what we’re speaking about. We normally try to have next steps that different people could make, whether a first-time guest or a long-time member of the church.
On the top right of the card, we have some next steps that don’t change.
Finally, on the bottom is a place for comments and prayer requests. We generally have quite a lot of people write in prayer requests there, and it’s because they know that we have a team of people who pray for those every week.
So at the end of the message, the speaker will generally say something like this: “So what’s the next step that God is calling you to make today?”
We walk them through one or two possible next steps, pray, and then we receive the offering after that. This is important. In this way, everyone has something to put in the offering plate as it goes around.
So does it work? From one year to the next, when we implemented this, we saw a 54% growth in the number of baptisms. This represents real people who are making decisions to become followers of Jesus Christ.
After The Weekend
After the weekend is done, we do two things:
1. We do a 36 hour response via email. In this step, we physically process the cards and respond to any request a guest or member might have made. So if we had a first time guest that made a request for more information on becoming a follower of Jesus Christ, they receive a customized response with a video.
On the back-end, the system is quite simple. We have a Google doc where we have templates for each of the different responses that someone might make. So if our Connect team sees a certain response, they merely copy, paste, and send it off.
2. 96 hour response via mail. By Thursday after the weekend worship service, a first-time guest will also receive a hand-written thank you card with a $5 gas card. Inside of the card we’ll say, “Here’s so that your next trip back is on us.”
This is very simple, but really high impact.
By the way, this whole process is delineated well in the book Fusion, by Nelson Searcy. We’ve customized a few things in the process, of course, but this book will give you the general process.
So that’s the first part of what we do. In the next post, I’ll share what we do for our second step: Grow.
1. If you would find this useful, here’s a pdf of an actual card that we use. (This was designed by Rachelle Offenback).
2. I’m also including the actual file. We use the program In Design, which you’ll need to be able to edit it. You can download the file here.
Ready for More?
Here’s the links for the other posts in the series:
By the way, if you would like to learn more, feel free to ask me about seminars and presentations I do on the topic of getting discipleship and connecting guests.
Question: Do you have any kind of follow-up process in your church? What has it felt like for you to be a first time guest somewhere else? To leave a comment click here.