Can we speak very practically?
How much actual ministry is your church involved in at this moment? Stop. I didn’t ask how many programs you are offering right now. What I meant was, how is your church actually effecting the surrounding community by way of teaching, serving, and loving. Is your church growing lay-leadership that will someday spearhead a new church plant, or at very least, be able to continue a spiritually healthy pattern into the future? When was the last time you, not someone else in your church, shared the gospel?
In churches across the US right now, there are many programs that are aimed at keeping a church active. Programming isn’t always the fly in the punch bowl, but often the way we operate those programs can be. When this happens, the pattern is usually to the tune of either one person doing all the work, or too many people being required to do too much work for too long. The result is a lot of work, with very little return; a lot of noise, with very little substance.
This isn’t what we want with our sportsman’s ministry efforts. When I take a shot at an animal, I want that shot to be as effective as possible. That’s why I take time to sharpen blades, practice shooting, upgrade gear as I need to. When I bring that animal home, it’s treated with the utmost of care up until it is consumed by my family. If sharing Jesus is as important as we say it is, why don’t we tap into that sort of willingness to prepare for the outcome? We want to break the cycle of hype, gimmick, and volunteer overuse, and get those attending our events to the foot of the cross, so that in the future the door is open for discipleship.
You can have the best advertising, greatest set, coolest door prizes, most coveted speaker, and a lights out meal for your guests at your next event. What you will do without a willingness to build relationships with the people attending that event, is host an incredible show. This is the place that so many ministries miss the mark. We are deceived into believing that putting our best foot forward in hospitality is the sum of disciple making, when in reality, it is only a first step.
Here are three things to include in your follow up strategy.
Capture every attendee’s contact info.
This is a must do. You cannot follow up with someone you do not have information for. If you feel like you need to offer something in return for their information, you can enter them into a drawing if your church allows. This can be done through a simple card that has space for their name, email, and phone number. If you would like to put check boxes that indicate specific inquiries like, “I would like to know more about the church.” or “I would like a visit from a member of your ministry.” this registration card is a great place for it.
2. Gather and Read All the Info Given
The act of someone filling out a card or info sheet with their contact information is permission to make contact with them. You do not want to miss the opportunity to, at very least, send a “thank you for attending” email. The only way to know if they have given you permission is to read every single card you get.
3. Respond to Every Person in Some Way.
There are several ways to do this based on the info you have received. Phone calls are most personal and should most likely be reserved for people that request a visit or would like to know more about your ministry or church. Emails are fantastic for simply thanking the person for attending and letting them know about upcoming church services or ministry events. The key here is to respond to EVERY person. (Age appropriate of course. I recommend passing children’s names on to children’s ministry directors.)
So what if you have 1,000 people in attendance and you have to follow up with all of them? In this case, it’s most likely you will not be alone in the planning or carrying out of the event. Divide and conquer. Break up the names into manageable groups and give them to members of your team. Then, in about a week, check with your team and make sure they have made contacts. Then the process continues. Do this and as you see the fruit of God working, respond accordingly.
Do you have a sportsman’s ministry question or success story? Tell us about it in the comments!