There is often an imbalance in the time & energy spent inviting people to church vs. following up with people who have attended. This is a problem because people often escape out “the back door” without notice. One of the most effective ways to counteract this is implementing a system to ensure effective follow-up in church.
Creating a detailed plan gives a path to follow and actionable steps to take ensuring people receive the follow-up they need. So what does this plan look like and how can you use the tools you have to create one?
Essentials of Effective Follow-Up In Church
Below are the essentials of effective follow-up in church. Use this as a checklist to take inventory of your current process or as a roadmap to build a new process.
1. Capture Info Easily
Submitting info for first-time guests should be as easy as ordering Door Dash or paying on Amazon. The digital age has increased expectations for digital ease. People spend all week submitting forms, paying for things, and navigating the admin of life on their devices. The same should be possible in your church.
Now, this doesn’t mean you should alienate those who prefer paper. Providing a paper option is wise and recommended. However, that shouldn’t be the main avenue for those who want to execute effective follow-up in church.
ACTION STEP: Create a digital connect card and make it accessible by multiple methods (mobile app, QR Code, Text, website). Next, print QR codes, display text info, and encourage mobile app adoption. This way, it’s clear and simple to access the card. You can then take the same info on the digital version and create a printed version. Go deeper on capturing info & creating a welcoming environment here.
2. Learn Communication Preferences
As people increase their digital savvy, they also develop preferences for communication. This is often dependent on their weekly rhythms, their generational norms, and their comfort level. What this means is that everyone has different preferences.
Given this, understanding preferred methods of communication is essential. The good news? It’s easy to find out and then track.
ACTION STEP: Include a required field on your connect card and ask people how they would like to receive information. Phone call? Email? Text message? Carrier Pigeon? Capture this information and then use customizable fields in your church management software to track this.
3. Personalized Communication
People who visit your church will be coming from different backgrounds and walks of life. The next step they need to take with be different. Some may want to jump headfirst into membership and serving. Others might want to take it slow and hear more information about the church. Personalizing the communication and next steps they get is crucial in seeing action taken.
Similarly, assuming everyone is the same and giving everyone the same next step/communication will decrease the engagement you see.
ACTION STEP: Provide a way for people to notate what info they want or what they are interested in exploring. This can look like a multi-select checkbox option, allowing people to select more than one option.
4. Create a Repeatable Sequence
The systems you create are only as effective as your ability to repeat them. When creating the process for effective follow-up in church, make sure it’s designed in a way that can be repeated week after week. If you include loads of manual communication points, you will inevitably see some fall through the cracks.
However, if you design your process with repeatability in mind and utilize your software to do the heavy lifting for you, you’ll have a system that is effective and repeatable over the long term.
ACTION STEP: Set up workflows in your church management software to manage this process. Create automation that categorizes and (in some cases) sends communications.
5. Document Everything
Creating a robust follow-up process can be a lot of work. While it’s certainly worth the time and effort, it’s also worth ensuring the process is documented and tracked. This allows for continuity of communication regardless of who is managing the process.
This also allows you to review and refine the system. Over time, you’ll learn what works well and what doesn’t and that will help improve your process for follow-up.
ACTION STEP: Write down your follow-up plan and distribute it to key leaders for feedback. Put a meeting in your calendar for every 3-4 months to review and adjust.
Executing effective follow-up in church is an essential part of seeing growth in the church. Establishing and implementing a process for this will lead to more people getting connected and taking next steps.
Need help navigating how to do this with software? We’d love to connect and see if we can help as you look to increase your follow-up.