4 Action Steps for Guest Follow-Up from John 4 - Leaders.Church

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4 Action Steps for Guest Follow-Up Strategy from John 4

As pastors and church leaders, we all know that your follow-up strategy is essential. Have you ever wondered how to intentionally ensure that the follow-up strategy you are developing and using is effective?

I recently read a book called “Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus.” The author of this book grew up in a Muslim home and he talks about the conversations, investigations, and spiritual discussions he has on his journey to become a Christian. At one point, he is telling a story about a student in his class who poses the question to him, “Do you know about Jesus?”

He reflects that he immediately thought she was crazy, because they were in the middle of Latin class when she broached the subject. It was probably such an uncomfortable conversation that involved a lot of risk on both ends and was socially awkward in many ways. He said he immediately gained respect for her in that moment. This is what the author Nabeel Qureshi writes:

Why had other Christians never asked this question? They did think I needed Jesus to go to heaven, right? Were they content with letting me go to hell, or did they not really believe their faith at all?

In this blog, we look at 4 steps within your follow-up strategy to take after guests visit your church:

Create strategic conversations
Focus on the common ground
Sow with sincerity
Treat each guest as an individual

The questions that this formerly Muslim author asks are convicting. They cut right to the heart of our faith. Before we can be purposeful in our outreach, we have to settle these questions in our hearts and minds. Do we really believe our faith? If we do, do we love people enough to tell them about Jesus?

As Easter quickly approaches, I find myself asking myself, my team, and our congregation these questions, as often and creatively as I can. I package it in all kinds of ways – personal conversations, email communication, within my messages upcoming to Easter, etc. After all, an incredible follow-up plan won’t do much good if only a few unbelieving guests attend Easter service.

After any person visits our church, and is seeking the truth about Christianity, our goal is to do four things. These things come straight from an account in John 4, when Jesus interacted with a woman at a well.

Want to know how to keep your church’s guests coming back week after week after week? Then download this Turn-Key Follow Up Process for Today’s Church PDF.

1. Create strategic conversations for your follow-up strategy

In John 4:7-10, it talks about how Jesus is tired and sitting by a well.

When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.[a]) Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”

We can see Jesus’ evangelism strategy here. He goes to the well, where He knows she will be, and positions himself for a strategic conversation. He puts himself in the place where He needs a drink, so that He can have an opportunity to supply the woman with what she needs; the opportunity for living water.

Like Jesus, when we follow up with guests we work to position ourselves for strategic conversations. This takes more listening than talking. We primarily ask questions rather than provide information. We take time to pray before, during, and after the engagement with the guest. Our hope is to have a meaningful conversation that helps the guest feel heard, loved, and known.

One of the leaders at my church felt like God was prompting her to pray for, encourage, and engage a certain cashier at the local Dollar Tree. This leader always chose her line when she was paying for her purchases, so she could have a strategic conversation. God honored this when the cashier and her whole family visited church a few weeks later upon the leader’s invitation.

What if we each prayed that every day God would give us one strategic conversation to share the hope of Jesus? What could happen for the Kingdom? What could happen in your city?

Ever wonder what to say when you contact guests after they’ve visited the church? Well, no longer! Download this Done-For-You Follow Up Scripts PDF and you’ll be well on your way to communicating with clarity through text, email, and phone.

2. Focus on the common ground in your follow-up strategy

When connecting with guests using your follow-up strategy, it’s important to focus on what we have in common with each other, instead of the differences we may have. It’s so important a guest feels included and there is a place for them at your church. In training our follow-up team, we work hard to equip them to communicate and focus on the things that unite us.

In John 4 we see multiple cultural divides between Jesus and the woman at the well. First, men didn’t address women the way Jesus did at the well. There was a gender divide. On top of that, Jews didn’t talk to Samaritans. They didn’t associate, and it’s as if these people groups didn’t exist to one other. They didn’t align at all in spiritual practices. Jesus points this out in his conversation with her in John 4:18.

Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”

There is a clear moral divide between the Son of God and a woman who had a reputation.There were so many factors that kept Jesus and the woman at the well logically apart; many barriers to conquer and prejudices to eliminate. Yet, the Son of God shows us specifically and deliberately that Kingdom trumps culture.

The Kingdom of God bridges the gap between genders. The Kingdom of God supersedes religious preferences and backgrounds. There is no moral divide too wide for the grace of God.

Two people could have absolutely nothing in common this side of heaven, yet the blood of Jesus Christ shed on the cross is for all humanity. This is a truth that can stretch and breakdown any cultural barricades. Communicate to any guest, they are welcome in your congregation and what unites us is far greater than what divides us.

Want to know how to keep your church’s guests coming back week after week after week? Then download this Turn-Key Follow Up Process for Today’s Church PDF.

3. Use Your Follow-Up Strategy to Sow with Sincerity

The third thing to remember when following up with guests is to sow with sincerity.

In John 4, the disciples approach Jesus and they are surprised He is talking to this woman. Jesus explains to them in vs 36-38.

“Even now the one who reaps draws a wage and harvests a crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together. Thus the saying ‘One sows and another reaps’  is true.  I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labor.”

Jesus is teaching here that not all conversations or visits to your church will end in instantaneous conversions. Every attempt at sharing the gospel may not end the way you picture it to in your mind. Sometimes guests have less than positive feedback. Many times, guests don’t return your attempts to reach out to them after they have visited.

Jesus is reminding us with this scripture, there is a time to sow and a time to reap. Every word we speak, every seed we plant, He uses. Every message we leave, every follow-up we attempt, He can use.

Remember, you do your part faithfully, but that’s all you’re responsible for. God does the redeeming. And it’s His best work!

We don’t know who invested in the woman at the well before she came that day. We don’t know how many conversations she had about spiritual things. The scripture doesn’t record that. It could have been her first or someone else could have been sowing into her.

The best way to sow into others is with sincerity. It’s not a check mark on our spiritual to-do list. It’s genuinely believing that what God says is true and loving other people in our life on purpose. Even if it takes a lifetime of sowing, do it with sincerity.

Ever wonder what to say when you contact guests after they’ve visited the church? Well, no longer! Download this Done-For-You Follow Up Scripts PDF and you’ll be well on your way to communicating with clarity through text, email, and phone.

4. Treat Each Guest As An Individual With Your Follow-Up Strategy

Your follow-up strategy, along with systems are great and helpful. However, they can be dangerous when we forget each guest is unique, special, and distinct. I find it fascinating that Jesus and the disciples didn’t spend time trying to draw a crowd. They had conversations with people they met. They led people to faith, one by one.

We see this individualized approach with the woman at the well. We also see how telling one person can open many doors.  Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony. John 4:39-42:

“He told me everything I ever did.” So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days.  And because of his words many more became believers. They said to the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.”

Just one conversation and the whole city of Sychar heard the gospel! This could be the story at your church, and in your city!

The most beautiful thing about this story is the person who God chose to use. The person who shared the most vibrant hope with the whole town, wasn’t the king, or the governor, or the priest. The person Jesus sought after to be the missionary to Sychar was a woman who had five husbands! Jesus never entered the town physically, but a whole town was changed because He stopped to minister and care for one woman at a well.

When it comes to helping guests connect to your church and to Jesus through your follow-up strategy, there is no specific step-by-step instructions that will always work in every scenario. There is no foolproof method or magic tactic. But if we create strategic conversations, focus on the common ground, sow with sincerity, and treat each guest as an individual, God will do what only He can do.

The woman in John 4 would tell you, one day she met a man at the well she visited every afternoon. He told her everything she ever did, but loved her anyway. This changed everything about her life and this is the message of the gospel.

I am trusting God will do the same, with His mighty redeeming work, in your church this Easter!

Check out these blogs on connections, as well.

To Connect People in Your Church, the Path Must Be Clear
Blunder #1 in Assimilating New People
The Absolutes of the Post-Easter Guest Connection
How to Connect with Church Guests
The Perfect Follow-Up Plan for Church Guests
Rethink Easter: From Big Event to Big Impact
6 Steps to Get Guests Back After Easter
The Perfect Follow-Up Plan After Easter
Thoughts About Guest Follow-Up

More Resources:

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