The Lord gave us a phenomenal Sunday yesterday, and how we praise Him for it! I preached a message from Luke 16 about the rich man and Lazareth and the need to consider eternity. What a privilege to preach Jesus and lift up the cross! God blessed as scores of people responded during the invitations and trusted Christ as their Saviour.
After a Sunday of such abundant fruitfulness, I not only feel grateful, I also feel very responsible. I want to follow up on guests and nurture young Christians to grow in Christ.
I believe that “big days” of ministry must be just the starting point for continued discipleship and training. Aggressive soulwinning must be followed with aggressive discipleship. Second Timothy 2:2 makes it clear that our job is to “teach others also” in the things we have learned.
So how do we practically do that? Below are five ways to follow up on guests and new Christians after a special Sunday of outreach:
- Make follow-up calls. By Sunday evening, make plans to follow up on the guests that you brought to church on Sunday. As visitor cards are collected, there may be more follow-up visits given out early in the week. Be sure to make those visits. I assume that if someone comes to a service, God is already working in his heart and that he has at least some level of a spiritual hunger for Him. When I make a follow-up call, I try to be friendly and even folksy, but I do bring the conversation to a spiritual focus—that’s why I’m making the visit in the first place.
- Biblically explain baptism. If your visit is to someone who has just been saved, take a few minutes to ask him what he understands about baptism and to explain its biblical significance from God’s Word. Let him know that it is the first step of obedience to Christ after salvation. Take time to listen and to be sure he understands that while baptism is not part of salvation, it is also not an option, but rather a command for an obedient child of God. (Striving Together Publications has a baptism brochure that we use in our ministry.)
- Extend hospitality. Encourage a guest to return by inviting him to your home (or offering to purchase his meal at a restaurant) after service the following Sunday. This is also a great time to invite others over, possibly another family who has something in common with your guest, so your guest gets acquainted with others in the church.
- Include guests in an adult Bible class. Some guests, especially on their first Sunday, will come to the worship service but not a Sunday school class. Inviting them to come to a class is a great lead-in when you make a follow-up visit. It is also an important aspect to facilitate their forming relationships within the church. If you lead an adult Bible class, plan a class activity to take place two to three weeks after a special Sunday at church. This is a great way to include those newer to the church (as well as to reach out to brand-new guests).
- Be diligent and kindly persistent. Whether it be a new convert or an unsaved person on your prospect list, patience is the key. Perhaps they will not come to church the first time they commit to come, or perhaps they won’t trust Christ the first time they hear the gospel, but they may respond the third time…or the eighth! Be prayerful and patient.