How to Follow Up with Visitors

A church planter friend recently asked me to write a post about how I do follow-up phone calls with people new to Redemption.

So, here are four elements for an effective follow-up call …

1. Make Them

In the first couple years of planting Redemption, I did not make phone calls to follow up with new people. This was a huge fail on my part.

I was preoccupied with how to reach more people and missed this simple opportunity to pick the lowest hanging fruit.

So, the first element for an effective follow-up call is simply to make the calls. No, really, you need to be doing this.

Not your assistant. Not a volunteer. You. The lead pastor. The guy they heard preach on Sunday.

YOU need to call them. Make the calls!

2. Thank Them

My goal for my follow-up call is primarily to thank people for enduring the awkward experience of attending a new church. Trying to find a new church is about as much fun as a root canal, so the least we can do is say, “Thank you.”

3. Invite Them

At Redemption, our first step in connection after attending a worship gathering is our Newcomer’s Lunch.

We feed people, and I share a bit about what it looks like to be a part of our church family. We give people an opportunity to ask questions and also to meet some other people who are new and thinking about getting connected.

You may do this over coffee, lunch, dinner or dessert, but the follow-up call is the best place to invite new people to take their next step in getting connected.

4. Engage Them

Once a church grows past 50-100 people, no pastor has the ability to make a meaningful connection with every person who attends each week.

This phone call affords you the chance to learn the name and background of every new person. Ask how, or if they have come to faith in Jesus. Ask how they heard about your church. Ask if they used to attend church elsewhere. Ask what they do for a living or what they are studying. Ask how you can pray for them.

Big Idea: Take the opportunity to truly engage those you call.

In truth, about 70 percent of the weekly phone calls I make go to voicemail, but I still seize this opportunity to engage new people by thanking them for coming and inviting them to our newcomer’s lunch even on a voicemail.

This call means more than you think, so MAKE THE CALLS!  

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Ryan Huguley
I was born in Corvalis, Oregon but due to my dad being in the military, I grew up on both coasts and went to high school in the midwest. Jesus saved me at the age of 6 and since that time my story has been one of Jesus’ faithfulness in the midst of my unfaithfulness. College brought me to Chicago and in early 2006 I began to sense God’s call to church planting. After a few years of prayer and planning my wife, Tami, and I planted Redemption Bible Church with a few friends crazy enough to follow us on this journey.

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