Closing Easter’s Back Door

By Jeff Young

Think about it … you do a lot to prepare for Easter Weekend: the extra time in prayer, creatively designing a Worship Service, ensuring that your childcare, first impressions, media and communication teams are on track— when you consider all that—it’s critical that you have an intentional follow-up strategy in place.

By not “closing the back door”, we fail to leverage much of the extra energy that was given to create an amazing weekend. Ultimately, every opportunity we are provided as pastors is about life change—seeing someone step into a relationship with Christ and getting them connected spiritually and relationally with your church.

Here are three principles to consider:

Group vs. Individual

Our strategy begins in the Worship Service when Pastor Jack Graham asks everyone (members and guests) to complete the connection tab in our Worship Guide. We know that people want to remain anonymous and that they will do anything to avoid being singled out. Therefore, instead of asking only the guests to complete the connection tab, we ask everyone to complete it. As Pastor Graham shares the Gospel at the conclusion of the message, he encourages those making a profession of faith to take their connection tab to one of our Celebration Stations. He also asks our members to take their tab to one of the stations if they have new contact information to share. Finally, he tells guests to drop off their tab at a station, and that we have a gift for them.

Our stations are simply tables covered in an attractive fashion with tall towers of balloons or feather banners to make them easy to locate. Engaging, energetic people of all ages are ready to talk and pray with anyone who has trusted Christ, as well as with guests and members.

Keep the “Group vs. Individual” principle in mind: between members sharing their new contact information, guests wanting a gift, and our station greeters talking and praying with people, no one is isolated—each station is full of energy!

Sooner vs. Later

Our strategy includes a commitment to seek to connect with each guest within three days after Easter: the sooner the better! You must determine how best to connect with your guests, but our plan is to call first, then text. Guests receive an e-mail thanking them for worshipping with us and, for those who professed faith in Christ, guidelines for scheduling their baptism.

The “Sooner vs. Later” principle creates a feeling that “you are not only welcome here, but we care for you and want to partner with in your next steps spiritually.” You’ve noticed that there’s a tendency for people to “drift”, therefore by connecting with them shortly after their decision, our likelihood of engaging them in a discipleship relationship and celebrating their baptism increases dramatically.

Personal vs. Formal

Ultimately, our goal for each new believer is baptism and discipleship. We developed a six-session guide to help new believers get off to a strong start in their faith—studying God’s Word, understanding their security and identity in Christ, and knowing how to pray and how to share their new faith. In addition, we have a class for prospective members and new believers that helps establish relationships with our Small Group leaders, Deacons and Ministers.

Our process is simple but strategic. If you can picture a funnel, we begin with the widest end and move toward the smaller:

  • Group vs. Individual: Create a casual environment to receive guests and connect with people who have trusted Christ.
  • Sooner vs. Later: Attempt to connect with your guests and those who have made decisions as soon as possible. Remember, people drift; the enemy is seeking to discourage; lives are at stake!
  • Personal vs. Formal: Whether via phone, text, a small group or discipleship relationship, personal connections ensure that no one stands alone.

Give some thought to these principles as you plan your follow-up strategy. They will go a long way in helping new believers take the next step in their walk with Christ.

Jeff Young serves as Minister of Spiritual Development at Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas. Follow him on Twitter @JeffYoung7.

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