My friend, Toby Cavanaugh, shared an outstanding message to our staff, pastors, and leaders at Elim Fellowship on Persistent Prayer a while back. I was so impressed I decided to share the wealth. I know this message will inspire and challenge you in the area of prayer. It might also be a great video to consider sharing with your leaders at some point! Enjoy.
I’ve listened to a lot of public speakers. Unfortunately, many tend to operate under the assumption that they are ‘good’ speakers when, really, well, they aren’t. Don’t worry. I won’t name names (that way I can ensure my name stays off the list too). I think we can often come to the conclusion that we know how to preach, or teach, because people listen to us – and maybe even nod their heads at times.
Of course, the real issue isn’t whether people listen to us so much as what happens after they are done. Is there any change or transformation taking place in their hearts? Do they have something they can and will do? Are they motivated to become more of what God desires of them?
Every preacher or teacher wants to see people’s lives impacted for eternity through their message. This is why I am recommending the book, Communicating For A Change, by Andy Stanley and Lane Jones. This book has played a HUGE role in my own career as a speaker. That’s not to say I’ve ‘arrived’, but I know I have grown. If you don’t already own it, I urge you to purchase and devour this book this week! If you do own it, I recommend you crack it open and give it another read. I know you won’t be sorry.
Here’s a great & simple excerpt from the book:
Create A Map: ME, WE, GOD, YOU, WE.
With this approach the communicator introduces a dilemma he or she has faced or is currently facing (ME). From there you find common ground with your audience around the same or a similar dilemma (WE). Then you transition to the text to discover what God says about the tension or question you have introduced (GOD). Then you challenge your audience to act on what they have just heard (YOU). And finally, you close with several statements about what could happen in your community, your church, or the world, if everybody embraced that particular truth (WE). page 120
So should you do it yourself or delegate it to someone else? That’s a loaded question. I’ve already shared Nine Reasons Why People Don’t Delegate in another post. Delegation is an important, and often difficult, part of leadership.
In fact, I wonder if people who DON’T delegate shouldn’t be labelled leaders at all. After all, doesn’t being called ‘leader’ imply that others are doing things on behalf of that person? It’s just a thought.
“Leadership ability is the lid that determines a person’s level of effectiveness. The lower an individual’s ability to lead, the lower the lid on his potential. The higher the individual’s ability to lead, the higher the lid on his potential. To give you an example, if your leadership rates an 8, then your effectiveness can never be greater than a 7. If your leadership is only a 4, then your effectiveness will be no higher than a 3. Your leadership ability – for better or for worse – always determines your effectiveness and the potential impact of your organization.”
Note in the two diagrams below that a person can have the same commitment or ‘Success Dedication’ towards their cause, but the actual impact is drastically increased when it’s combined with ‘Leadership Ability’. Ironically, according to this illustration, it seems that someone could potentially be LESS dedicated and still accomplish more in the long run. Interesting.
If we apply this principle to our leadership skills in delegating ministry to others, it’s clear that the overall impact is going to be much greater. If we focus on delegating to other leaders, who are also skilled in the art of delegation, then our impact becomes exponential.
Sometimes the growth barrier we are struggling with is external. External barriers would be those conditions and circumstances that prevent us from practically delegating tasks to others. Maybe it’s an imminent deadline, lack of resources, or some other barrier. In those cases, we sometimes need to get our hands dirty and get it done. Later on, it would be good to do some strategic thinking on how you might remove those external barriers.
However, I suspect MOST of the time, the barrier is internal. That is, it’s a leadership problem, which means it’s one of the nine reasons I’ve already discussed. When we are the lid preventing effective ministry from happening, it’s time we get honest and ask ourselves what we could or should do differently. That conversation (with ourselves) isn’t always easy, but it’s an important step in growing and developing ourselves as leaders.
Sometimes, we need help. Our blind spot is too big for us to find and we need others to step in and help us find it. In this case, I recommend you find a 3rd party leader who you trust to help you grow in this area. It might be a mentor, another pastor or leader, or possibly a Leadership Coach. Of course, I’m available to assist you as a Leadership Coach, if you feel that’s a viable option as well.
So which is it for you? Do or Delegate?
People chuckle when I say, “I like to delegate.” I guess it must be true. To me, delegation is part of the Ephesians 4 process of ‘preparing God’s people for works of service.’ When I can successfully release, equip & empower others to serve it seems as if I am propelling them towards their God-given purposes and calling. It helps that I can do more of what God’s called me to as well!
But I also have a very personal understanding of why we tend to procrastinate when it comes to delegating tasks, projects and leadership to others. Here are 9 reasons I can think of why we don’t delegate.
- Not Enough Time
It’s ironic, but true. The very thing we don’t have time to do is what will eventually give us more time. Getting started is often the hardest part. When will we find the time to recruit, train & keep track of what others are doing? Honestly, I wonder if it’s not really that we don’t have the time. Perhaps it’s simply that we haven’t made delegation a priority? Just a thought.
- Losing Control
When we invest a lot of time, energy & passion into a project or ministry, it can simply be real hard to let it go. Delegation requires some calculated risk-taking. It means we won’t be holding the steering wheel anymore. Which also means we won’t be able to control how things are done. Of course, when we give into this fear, what we’re really saying is that nobody can do it better than us – which probably isn’t really true. Giving up control is a basic ingredient of leadership. If you can’t do it, you’re not leading.
- Not Getting Credit
I don’t know anyone who doesn’t enjoy some praise every once in a while. For some of us, this is more important than others. But ultimately, this motivation is simply self-centered. If I’m not releasing others to lead, manage or ‘do’ because I’m addicted to back patting, then what I’m really saying is that I’m more important than the potential team I have sitting around me.
- Losing Tasks You Love
This is a more complicated excuse for not delegating. On the one hand, I could argue that it’s self-centered to keep the tasks we love for ourselves. However, it could be that the reason you love to do them is because it’s what God has for you. I know people who have intentionally refused promotions in the workplace simply because they don’t believe the next rung in the ladder is what God has called them to do. That said, when this is the challenge we face, I believe hitting the floor and submitting the issue to God is the best solution you can find.
- You Can Do It Better
At the beginning, this is almost always true. It’s also probably the number one reason why we don’t delegate. Years ago, a mentor told me this. If someone else can do it 80% as well as you, it’s probably worth releasing it to them. Here’s the key: as long as I’m committed to equipping and training them, this can work. Over the years I’ve watched a lot of great people rise far above their leaders. But they rarely began that way. It didn’t happen until those leaders took the risk and let them struggle and fail at times.
- Delegated Out of a Job
Every once in a while our reasons might be purely due to the worry that, if I give away my responsibilities, maybe I might find myself out of a job. I have two thoughts about this. First, maybe that’s true. If so, then I can only assume that it’s for the best. If others can do what you’re doing better, then it may be time to trust the Lord’s leading for both you and where you are working. This releases you to find the place where you can shine. Second, and this is more likely to be true, if you can successfully delegate leadership to others, you will very likely prove your value to your leaders. True leaders rarely get rid of others who know how to lead.
- You Don’t Trust Others
It’s a fact of life. Other people are sometimes not trustworthy. It’s very important that, when we delegate, we do so to the RIGHT people. That said, often our mistrust of others can end up crippling our leadership. We can end up ‘throwing the baby out with the bathwater’ if we’re not careful. Leaders take calculated risks. So calculate and take some risks.
- Saying ‘No’ For Them
In my 20+ years of ministry I’ve heard more reasons why people CAN’T do things than I have ever heard why they can. What’s ironic is that it’s not the actual person who had those reasons. It was the leadership team that was considering calling and asking them to get involved! We sit around and tell ourselves, “They’re too busy.” or “They’ve been going through a hard time.” or “They are already involved somewhere else.” When we do that, we are stripping those people from the very opportunities they may unknowingly be waiting for. Don’t say no for others, let them do it instead, if they want to.
- You Don’t Know How
It’s hard to recruit and delegate others. In ministry, we tend to assume that if I’m the leader or director of the ministry then I should know how to recruit others to join the team. That’s presumptuous. Businesses spend millions of dollars every year training and paying for professional communicators to promote and recruit people to their causes. I recommend you stop assuming everyone knows how to recruit & delegate and begin getting books, articles and speakers in to train your team instead. A great little book you might consider starting with is Andy Stanley’s, “Making Vision Stick“.
What other reasons can you think of why we don’t delegate?
A couple years ago I remember my wife and I discussing the idea of picking up a particular toy for one of our gradeschool kids for Christmas. We looked it up and saw that there were a few available. The problem was that we hadn’t decided if we wanted to get it or not. So we waited. And we missed our opportunity. A few days later, they were out of stock and we were hard-pressed to find it anywhere at the price we could afford. It was a serious bummer.
Believe it or not, YOUR church is likely in that same place.
You have a very UNIQUE opportunity to get something for your church, right now, that may not be available later. This past July, the ‘powers that be’ in the internet world, released a new web domain to the public. A web domain is the last few letters of your website, after the dot. So .org is the domain of my website here: www.waynehedlund.ORG.
What’s cool is that you can now get a .CHURCH domain. And if you’re quick, you can get “JUST THE RIGHT ONE”. I suspect some of you still don’t get why this is cool. Let me give you a couple of examples of real churches I know of right now.
|Current Web Address (as of today)||Could Actually Be:|
By adding the .church domain, you are pretty much giving your community the literal name of your church. It looks professional and sounds good.
What about all the people who are used to our current web address?
Not a problem. You can still keep your current web address. Many people don’t realize it, but you can actually have SEVERAL web addresses and have them all point to one real address. So you could own www.yourchurchname.com, www.yourchurchname.net and www.yourchurchname.church all point to www.yourchurchname.church. If anyone typed in any of those three, the web will automatically redirect them to the one you prefer.
Why do I have to hurry?
It’s pretty simple. Eventually, a lot of churches will also figure this out. If they have the same name church as you’re church and they get the .church before you, then you missed it. After all, you probably don’t want to have your website named: www.elimgrace2.church!
So if it’s still available, you should grab it up before someone else does. For all that matters, you DON’T EVEN HAVE TO USE IT right now if you want. Just get it so nobody else can snatch it first! This is called ‘Brand Protection.’ With an entire globe having access to .church domains, there’s a good chance someone, somewhere beats you to it if you don’t leap soon.
How much will it cost?
It will probably cost you between $20-$30 for the first year. After that, you might have to pay as much as $50/year. Hopefully, those prices will get lower as time goes on. But if you wait until they’re ‘lower’, you still might miss out.
Where do I go to buy it?
As of the time of this writing, 1and1.com is offering a special discount, allowing you to get your .church domain for $19.99 for the first year. I recommend you check them out at www.1and1.com/church-domain.
What do I do next?
After you’ve bought your new domain, you’ll want to talk to your web programmer or someone in your church who understands this stuff, and ask them to set it up for you. It’ll be up to you how much you want to promote the new domain name or not. For instance, do you want to replace all of your promotional material with that new name? Food for thought.
Here’s another idea for you. If your whole website is in need of an upgrade anyway, perhaps it would be a good time to give your whole website a facelift. Check out my website services, created specifically to help churches with their web presence, at www.tlsites.com.
Years ago I heard a story about a man who tried to steal an ATM machine. His plan was to rip the ATM out of the wall of a store-front by chaining it to the back bumper of his pick-up truck. After securing the chain, the incompetent thief got in his truck and hit the gas. A few seconds later, he heard a loud noise and the truck suddenly lurched ahead. Frantic and scared he would soon be caught, he quickly hit the brakes and ran around to claim his prize. Appalled, he discovered the ATM machine was still secured to the building. Lying on the ground in front of him was the truck’s back bumper which had been ripped off. Scared and frustrated, the man got in the truck and went home. Hours later, the police showed up at his door and arrested him for attempted robbery. He was easy to find. The police just checked the license plate on the bumper left chained to the ATM. I don’t know how true the story is, but it makes me chuckle and I wouldn’t be surprised if it actually happened.
It is incredibly easy to make daily choices without really thinking things through first. Something unexpected happens and we either react (which I’m pretty sure is the basest form of thinking) or we do the first thing that comes to mind that seems halfway reasonable. Often, it’s a shot in the dark whether our half-baked decision will come back and bite us or not.
The old saying “When you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.” has its roots in Scriptures. Psalm 7:15 says, “He who digs a hole and scoops it out falls into the pit he has made.” Humanity has made a lot of holes throughout history and, unfortunately, we don’t always learn from our mistakes.
A Quick Example
Consider the Children’s Ministry Director who is faced with a dilemma. A Sunday School volunteer calls 15 minutes before church to explain that she won’t be able to teach the preschool class. The director is now in a quandary. There will be several families showing up in a matter of minutes and something needs to be done quickly.
He may react and grab the first warm body he sees to fill in; or perhaps he quickly decides to let the teen assistant teach the class alone. Either way, with a little more thinking before leaping he might have come up with several more viable options. Of course, we only ever say, “hindsight is 20/20” when we discover our hasty decision created bigger problems. In our example with the absent Sunday School teacher, the spontaneous and untrained sub might have ended up yelling at the children or left them alone for several minutes for a bathroom break. Not good for the new families who then leave the church with a bad taste in their mouths unnecessarily.
We are often fine with quick, reactive thinking because it usually gets us by. Anyone with a head on their shoulders, a little experience, and common sense can make a halfway decent decision that saves the day most of the time. So this way of thinking becomes the standard simply because it often works!
In the above example, the quick thinking of that director would have saved the day if nothing went wrong. Instead, it ended in disaster and, in hind-sight, he probably wished he had thought things through more thoroughly. An extra 4 minutes probably would have sufficed!
Those extra moments thinking things through woul likely have led to several safer and potentially more appropriate options. Was there another trusted person serving that morning who could have filled in for a while? Could the director himself have filled in? Maybe a sign on the door apologizing and saying the room would open in 10 minutes – to give more time to find a good solution. Could two classes be combined?
The act of simply stopping and thinking through options before deciding can make a huge difference – in both ministry and life!
There’s a better way.
I believe we can learn to think better. To be able to view a problem from different angles & perspectives. To see possibilities and solutions where they may not be so obvious initially. Generally speaking, this activity is called “Critical Thinking.”
For years I assumed most people knew how to think and make good choices. But after watching people make seemingly obvious mistakes over and over, I began to realize that it’s a learned skill – one in which I was unknowingly trained in during my early tenure in leadership & ministry. Understand, I’m still guilty of making some stupid choices. I certainly haven’t arrived! But I do understand some key principles that will help me make choices that are hopefully more wise than I would have years and years ago.
Over the next few posts, I will explore more thoroughly, how we can all learn to think differently.
Check out the next post in this series: Critical Thinking 101 – Seek God
In July of 2010 I took the leap and became a blogger.
My first post was entitled, “Lids, Levels & Leadership.” I didn’t know what I was doing and I didn’t know if my attempts at reaching out to the larger christian community would succeed. All I knew was that I had sensed the gentle nudging from the Holy Spirit to step out in faith and see what would happen. I heard that ‘still, small voice’ speak to me at a Leadership Conference and a mentor in my life confirmed it just a few weeks later. I started blogging the very next week.
Little did I realize the ramifications of that one act of obedience.
I had no clue that just 4 years later I would be spending the bulk of my time helping churches, organizations (including Elim Fellowship where I now work) and leaders through coaching & speaking. I would have never envisioned starting a small business dedicated to helping local churches & ministries launch new websites. Four years doesn’t seem all that long of a time, but it feels like 8 years have gone by since I began this journey.
And it has been an awesome journey.
That same year, Pastor Phil Taylor from Grace Fellowship Church was the very first person who asked me to coach him. I remember him saying to me, “Why don’t you practice your new coaching career on me?” Remarkably, he and I have maintained that coaching relationship from that time to this. We still meet, faithfully, each month to discuss leadership and church ministry. He and his family have become dear friends to my wife & I.
In that short time I’ve also been privileged to work with some amazing christian leaders, like Pastors Bill King & Jonathan Evans, Pastors Tony Martorana & Bryan Kenville, Pastors Jim Crowley, Laurie Bolton & Don Buongiorne, Pastors Randy & David Jackson, Pastors Ralph VanAuken & Mark DeCorey, Pastors Ron & Judy Burgio, Pastors Dan & Debbie Colton, Pastors Phil Underwood & Ryan Reese, Pastors Rick Rohlin & Tim Smart, Pastor Mike Wing, Chris Zeiglar & Jon Burgio and of course the leaders at both Elim Fellowship & Elim Bible Institute. It has been both amazing and an honor.
Where do I go from here?
I recently heard a similar God-sized whisper like the one from four years ago. I can only assume that it means God is continuing my journey in ways I can still not fully comprehend. Among other things, I believe God told me to relaunch my ministry with a new blog & website right here at www.waynehedlund.org. Other than that, all I know is that I’m to continue to do more of what I’ve done these past years. I hope I will do so with a greater anointing, inspiring excellence and increased expertise than I’ve done in the past. Of course, with God, anything is possible. We’ll see!
Three ways you can partner with me today.
I wonder if you might be willing to help me along on this ongoing journey today? You may do so in one of three ways (that I can think of, anyway).
- Subscribe to my blog.
It is one of the greatest joys in my life to be able to impart to others what I’m learning and have discovered about ministry & leadership. It would be an honor to be able to share these things with you too. Would you consider subscribing to my blog right now? It will only take about a minute.
- Tell someone else about this blog.
One of the best ways you can partner with me is by getting the word out about my ministry and services. If you would be willing to let other ministry leaders know about waynehedlund.org I would be super-grateful. Alternatively, you are also welcome to simply give me a few contacts you think might be interested in me, and I’ll introduce myself to them. Simply shoot me an email with their names and contact information. Thanks!
- Make a donation.
If you have the faith and the finances to invest in this ministry God has given me, I would be negligent to not give you the opportunity to do so. You are welcome to make a donation by personal check made out to ‘Wayne Hedlund’ and mailed to my work address at: Elim Fellowship; 1703 Dalton Rd; Lima, NY 14485. You may also make a donation via PayPal or credit/debit by visiting my Donations page right now.
Every once in a while I like to post some great articles I’ve stumbled across on the web that I think will be helpful to my readers. Here are some great ones for you to consider looking over! Enjoy!
Twelve Ways Pastors Went from Burnout to Vision by Thom S. Rainer
There are few vocations that can engender burnout like the pastorate. The demands on a pastor’s time, emotions, and energy can be overwhelming. When I was a pastor, I often felt at least the symptoms of burnout. I recently spoke with 17 pastors who had experienced burnout, or who felt they came precariously close to burnout. The good news about these pastors is that they moved out of burnout; and now they are re-engaging in exciting and visionary ministries. Read More.
10 Symptoms of an Inwardly-Focused Church by Tony Morgan
Can you imagine a business that never focused on reaching new customers? Imagine Apple saying, “We have no plans to sell phones, tablets and computers to new customers in the future. We’re going to focus solely on our existing customers from now on.” For a season Apple would likely continue to thrive because it has plenty of existing customers. But, over time, Apple would slowly lose it’s customer base until eventually everyone has either started purchasing products from other companies or passed away. Read More.
Gather Stories as If Lives Are in the Balance by Mark Howell
As important as quantitative measurement is, today we need to talk about gathering stories, the qualitative aspect of small group ministry. Why? Let’s just say that while your ministry intelligence depends on the numbers we gathered yesterday, lives actually hang in the balance and depend on the stories you gather. Read More.
Never Start a Ministry Without a Minister by Rick Warren
Saddleback didn’t have an organized youth ministry until we had 500 in attendance at the church. We didn’t have a singles ministry until we had 1,000 people in attendance. And I’m glad we didn’t. It’s not because those ministries aren’t important. They’re vital! But God hadn’t provided anyone to lead them. Never create a ministry position and then fill it. Read More.
3 BIG Reasons People Leave Your Church by Dan Reiland
Why do you think people leave your church? Why do you think people leave churches in general? We’ve read reasons (and I’ve written about these too) like: “I just didn’t get anything out of the messages.” Read More.
Leadership Development Insights From Ephesians 4 by Aubrey Malphurs
One of the constant struggles church leaders face is determining how to achieve alignment between congregational and pastoral expectations. If you are reading this, you likely are a Christian leader. You also are likely to attend a church that expects the pastors to do the ministry of the church (most do). After all, that’s what they hired you for, right? Wrong! Kind of… Many churches hire their pastor looking for someone to do the ministry. People are busy, and the other staff is overloaded. Read More.
Preaching Without Words: 10 Things To Consider When Using Visuals by Troy Page
Many of us grew up in a church where children and student ministry was fun, creative and caught our attention. Then as we grew older and started attending “big” church, everything seemed to get boring! Thankfully during the last twenty plus years, there has been a wave of new churches who place a value to make things more creative, exciting and interesting. One way this is done is when speakers use visuals such as props and videos to capture the attention of the audience. Read More.
The Lonely Pastor: Nine Observations by Thom S. Rainer
The conversation took place just yesterday. A young man told me his dad, a pastor, recently committed suicide. He talked about the pain his father experienced in ministry as well as the intense loneliness. Though suicide is not an inevitable outcome, I do know the number of pastors experiencing loneliness is high—very high. Read More.
3 Pieces of Advice from a Church Planter to Church Planters by Ed Stetzer
Church planting is difficult, but a few simple actions can make it a bit easier. When I planted my first church in Buffalo in 1988, I was considered strange. People asked why I was planting a new church instead of pastoring an established one and wondered aloud if maybe I couldn’t land a real ministry job. Read More.
A wise man has great power, and a man of knowledge increases strength; for waging war you need guidance, and for victory many advisers. Proverbs 24:5-6
There is very little that will frustrate a true leader more than lack of knowledge. Knowledge, when wielded by the right individual, is like a sharp sword that is capable of cutting through confusion to find truth and wisdom. Lack of knowledge leaves us whacking away at ghosts in the darkness, hoping we will stumble upon the right path. Empires have fallen because of lack of knowledge. Relationships have come to ruin. Bank accounts have run dry. Employment opportunities have passed people by. All because someone didn’t have the information needed to make a wise choice.
The church world is not exempt from this truth. When leaders have access to the right information, it empowers them to make wise choices. Those wise choices ultimately lead to transformation in the lives of the broken and hurting people in that community.
Proverbs 24 (quoted above), reminds us that leaders can have ‘great power’ and ‘increased strength’, which can lead to ‘guidance’ when facing battles. In other words, we have a greater chance of victory than we did without them (wisdom & knowledge); we are ’empowered.’
If wisdom were a fire keeping us warm and giving us light, knowledge would be the wood and fuel feeding that fire. Of course, knowledge must be given to the right person, a wise person, in order for it to make a difference. Otherwise, it is simply wood sitting in a pile on the floor.
Charles Spurgeon said it this way: “Wisdom is the right use of knowledge. To know is not to be wise. Many men know a great deal, and are all the greater fools for it. There is no fool so great a fool as a knowing fool. But to know how to use knowledge is to have wisdom.”
Knowledge is not our ONLY source of wisdom. There are other sources as well, the most important Source being God Himself, who promises to give wisdom to all who ask it (James 1:5.) But I suspect that knowledge is one of the primary tools God gives us to make wise choices.
How does this apply to you today? What area of your life or ministry are you struggling with? What challenge are you facing that seems overwhelming and insurmountable? I recommend you start with prayer and then begin asking lots of questions. Go on a treasure hunt. Look for answers and don’t stop until you’ve found them.
I recently visited a church for the first time with my family. I had a great experience. We were welcomed at the door, handed materials at a Guest Services table and told what to expect and where to go. The people seemed friendly and interested in us, without being pushy or fake. The service was interesting and engaging. We were even ‘greeted’ after the service by a few random people as well as one of the pastoral staff. My wife and I left that afternoon encouraged and relaxed.
We also proceeded to do what nearly all other guests do after their first visit to a local church. We went to work, shopped at the store, fixed dinner, put kids to bed, took the car to the shop, mowed the lawn, watched some tv, cleaned the house, went for a walk, bused our kids all over the place, worked on our budget, and a million other little things. In other words, we got back to our daily lives. Our church experience became a back-burner memory that we might drudge up again that next weekend, if we weren’t too busy with other things.
Which is why we were so impressed when we received a personal letter from the pastor later that week. Not just a cookie-cutter letter with the same three paragraphs I’d expect to see on a thousand other church follow-up letters. No. A personal letter. It may have been typed up nice and neat on church letterhead, but we couldn’t miss the fact that the pastor mentioned my wife and I by name in the letter as well as all four of our kids, by name. He also made mention of a conversation we had together for our brief moment together that previous Sunday morning. It was personal and real.
The letter was an invitation to join them again at church. It wasn’t pushy. It was just a simple note to let us know he’d love to have us come back to church. And he told us about a couple other things happening in upcoming weeks we might be interested in.
Truth be told, we decided to make another visit to the church that very next week.
Guest follow-up isn’t the answer to all your assimilation problems, but it is one proven strategy that will help you along the way. You might want to consider checking out my other posts about the Guest Friendly Church right here.
Here are a few ideas to help you with your guest follow-up.
- Treat your guests like VIP’s when they visit.
It doesn’t matter what kind of follow-up you have, if your guests don’t feel noticed and valued, if they don’t have a positive experience at your church, then they’re not going to be interested in returning. Think of that restaurant you visited for the first time who gave you bad service. You never went back. Neither will they.
- Give them something to take home.
I’m not talking about your Sunday morning bulletin. Ideally, you’ll give them some sort of gift and a little information about the church. It’s icing on the cake if you also give them some information about an upcoming activity that might interest them. Make it look clean and nice and keep it simple. There’s always a chance your guest will pick that up off the kitchen counter during the week and look it over. It’s an indirect way to encourage your guests to think about you again that week, and come back.
- Get contact information when people visit.
It’s kind of hard to follow-up with your guests if you don’t know their names, email address and/or physical address. You need to strategize how you will collect their information when they visit. This can be a challenging task, but it is possible. Stay tuned for further posts recommending ideas on this topic.
- Send a note.
It can be an email, a letter in the mailbox, even a Facebook message, but find a way to send a note to your guests letting them know you’re thinking of them.
- Keep it simple.
Don’t try to say everything in the note and don’t preach. Just acknowledge their presence that previous Sunday. Let them know you are glad they got to join you. Communicate that you are available if they have any questions about the church or their experience on Sunday. And invite them to come back again sometime. No pressure. Just an invitation.
- Keep it real.
The note needs to be personal. Not the whole thing, but at least the opening and closing couple of sentences. Your guests need to know you took time out of your day specifically for them. They need to feel special. Acknowledge them by name, not just in the ‘Dear’ line. If you can, mention their kids. Mention something about that past Sunday that either happened during the service or that you talked with them about personally.
- Send it from the preacher.
Notice I didn’t say from the ‘Pastor’. I said from the preacher. That is, from whoever spoke that Sunday, unless it was a guest speaker. Your guests will connect best with the person they heard from in the pulpit. If it’s possible, let that person be the one to send the note. If not, then let it be from the Lead Pastor.
- Send it soon.
Statistics seem to indicate that the sooner first time guests receive a note from the church, the more likely it is that they will return. It is often recommended that the follow-up happen with 24 hours of the Sunday morning experience, or by Monday afternoon.
What other ways can you invite your guests to come back?