Are you praying to reach people in your community with the gospel of Jesus Christ? Then you must prepare to reach new people for Jesus. Think about it this way.
In the midst of a drought, two different farmers prayed and asked God to make it rain. After praying, one of the farmers got up from kneeling and went out to prepare his fields. However, after the other farmer rose from praying, he went back inside of his house. Which farmer prayed in faith?
As you are praying for people to place their faith in Jesus Christ, then you must be like the farmer who went out and prepared his fields for the harvest. It is best to know how your church can regularly connect with people in your community and lead them to participate in the life of your church.
Here are four steps you can take to prepare your church to reach people in your community.
#1. Spend time with people in your community
Do members of your church regularly spend time with people in their community? Do you encourage and equip the members of your church to build relationships with individuals in your community?
This first step is organic and ongoing. Yes, you can organize church events and outreaches to connect with people in your community. But it is important to teach the members of your church how they can build relationships with the people in their neighborhood.
Helping people to love their neighbors will help your church to build authentic relationships with countless people throughout your community.
#2. Create multiple entry points
Where is the best place for your church to invite guests?
Is it your worship service?
Should people invite guests to their small group?
Is it your church’s website?
If you cannot answer this question, then the members of your church cannot answer it, either. It’s important for you to know where your church should invite guests and to encourage your church to bring guests with them.
Your church can have more than one entry point, and your entry points will change throughout the year. For example, does your church participate in a softball league during the summer? Then this is a great access point for guests. Does your church offer a chili cookoff during the fall? If so, then make this a community event and invite people to attend.
#3. Lead them to take the next step
What is the next step a guest needs to take with your church?
In Seeker Small Groups, Gary Poole shared, “It is essential for us to make clear ‘next step’ options available. Without them, the potential impact of each weekend [and weekday] element would be significantly weakened.”
The next step people should take depends upon the entry point they entered. For instance, if a guest visited your worship service, then a natural next step would be for him or her to fill out an informational card (what many call a connect card). If a first-time guest visited a small group, then a natural next step for him or her is to attend a worship service.
To help you think through the next steps guests should take, here are common things many churches offer:
- Fill out a guest/connect card
- Attend a church informational meeting
- Have pizza with the pastor
- Get involved with a small group
- Attend Sunday School
- Provide a gift
As a reminder, this is important to identify and share with your church so that everyone knows what steps a guest should take in any situation.
#4. Create a follow-up process
What is the process your church uses to follow up with first-time guests?
Developing a follow-up process will help your church to make your first-time guests feel welcomed and wanted.
For your follow-up process, consider sending an email, making a phone call, or sending them a letter in the mail.
Also, this process should not fall exclusively to the pastor. If you haven’t already put a follow-up process in place, then consider building a team of volunteers who can help you to make phone calls or write letters. As for emails, you can create a template that you can replace with your guest’s personal information.
Do you suggest adding any additional steps to this process? Share your thoughts in the comments below!