Creating a Follow-Up Culture
What do you do as an evangelist when people make the decision to follow Christ? This is the moment on which the whole of evangelistic ministry turns, and yet, sometimes little thought is given to what happens afterwards.
Good follow-up is critical to a fruitful ministry. While every ministry’s follow-up process may look different, here is a look into the process of Faith 2 Faith Ministries (f2fmi), a ministry in Connecticut “"spreading the gospel through youth focused, community based outreach in partnership with the church."
Kate was 13 year old when she heard the gospel presented passionately at a time in her life when she was really questioning God and whether or not the gospel story was real. This experience, in part, led to her own faith encounter and then going on to dedicate her life in Christian service by becoming an officer for the Salvation Army.
Kyle was a 15-year-old student that grew up in the church. Health and family circumstances caused him to take his faith seriously at a young age. He fell in love with evangelistic events and avidly attended and volunteered at as many events as often as he could. After high school, Kyle would escalate those experiences by answering the call to be a missionary in Ostroda, Poland.
Erin was 16 when God got a hold of her. She was not walking with the Lord and her rebellion had reached a place that left her feeling empty and broken. After she gave her life to Christ, she began fearlessly sharing the Gospel with her friends. Now, as a soon-to-be mom, Erin invests herself in the life of middle school students that were just like her by volunteering as a mentor.
What do all three of these students have in common?
Kate, Kyle and Erin grew up attending Faith 2 Faith events and eventually became a part of our team. They served the ministry as student leaders all before graduating high school. In their early 20’s, all three returned as staff members. And they are not alone. In fact, we have seen other students come back to work with us and even more are praying about working with us one day. For us, these stories are at the core of creating a culture of follow up.
Working Backward and Forward
It all starts with that moment of decision, when the invitation is given to follow Christ. From there, our team works both directions on the timeline. Whether we are planning a big event or a smaller event like Alpha, the process is the same.
- Who will present the message?
- Who will we use to draw an audience and where will we draw them from?
- What kinds of marketing strategies will we use?
- Where will they go directly after responding to the message and what materials will we have prepared for them?
- When and where will they have their next encounter with us?
- Who are they friends with, what are their interests, skills and talents?
Capturing Key Moments
While Kate, Kyle and Erin all made decisions for Christ at our events; it was not in the sense of the three checkboxes offered at traditional evangelistic events. Their faith journey has been catalogued through our discipleship-on-mission strategy using the conversion continuum that is based on thought leadership provided by our friends at Intervarsity, which we continue to develop in our outreach and follow up.
Response data goes into software known as a CRM (Contact Relationship Manager). Our team uses Salesforce to keep tabs on anyone our team has a relationship with, not just our donors. The more recorded responses, the more data. Thus, we can monitor the spiritual life of our attendees and have some insight as to whether or not they are drawing closer to God or moving away from Him.
Give Them Something Important to Do
When the f2fmi team calls a student to follow up, we aren’t simply hoping to drive them to our next event. Of course, we want them to attend! However, we want to make them a part of something bigger than themselves and create upward movement. We call them to invite them to take the next step of faith and help us reach their friends. It is vital to mobilize students to become advocates in the next campaign. They need to have important roles and given responsibility.
The f2fmi team has gone through great pains to win students for Christ and then put them to work as soon as possible. We look to retain their imagination, energy and influence and use it to reach other students. We recognize that there is no stronger influence in the life of a student than a trusted peer. Therefore, partnering with students is essential to reaching other students.
We also recognize the best gift we can offer them is excellent training, which is the linchpin to our follow up strategy.
Our team is committed to lifelong learning. Our process is continually evolving as we experiment with new methods, evaluate and explore what others are doing. We’d love to hear what you’re doing. Comment below and share what you have learned!
Tom Miyashiro (@trmbomb) founded Faith 2 Faith Ministries (f2fmi) in 2001. F2fmi is spreading the Gospel in New England through youth focused, community based outreach in partnership with the Church. Their heart is to understand youth culture and operate within its context, and to present Christ in a language teenagers can understand. Through innovative approaches, connections across denominational lines and equipping Christian teens to share Christ with their friends, their goal is to make Jesus famous again in one of the least-reached areas in America.