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“People love you ringing them”

How should you follow up a newcomer to church?

At my church, we send out an email (if we have these contact details), with links to a ‘first impressions’ survey.

At another church I know, the pastor befriends visitors with a message and friend request on Facebook.

I spoke with a pastor recently who follows up newcomers with a phone call. To be honest, I’ve never been a big fan of this approach – mainly because I don’t like unsolicited phone calls and ignore all calls from numbers I don’t recognise.

However, this pastor told me that “people love you ringing them”. In all the time he’s been doing this, he’s never had a bad response. Perhaps this is because people who provide their phone number are people who are willing for a phone call – it’s unlikely they’d provide it if they didn’t want it called.

This was a challenge to me – considering ways to communicate that I personally don’t appreciate, but clearly many others do. It got me wondering if a phone call a more effective method of following up newcomers – it’s certainly more personal and interactive.

So over to you. What does follow-up look like at your church? In your experience, what works and what doesn’t?

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  1. Joanna

    December 19, 2011 at 12:32 pm

    In our my uni ministry, we use both handwritten postcards and phonecalls for all the new people that sign up at our start of year outreaches. We’ve found handwritten postcards are quite popular- maybe because people don’t send much personal mail these days so it is a nice surprise to get one. That people cared enough to write to me personally gave me a really good early impression of the ministry when I started. 

  2. Karl

    December 22, 2011 at 9:44 am

    lunch or dinner for sure!

  3. Andrew

    December 22, 2011 at 11:14 pm

    Maybe it’s because I am in a rural area, but most people here don’t use either Facebook or emails

  4. Kim Webster

    January 11, 2012 at 8:47 am

    I think I’d be a bit taken aback with a facebook request from an individual pastor — it seems pretty presumptuous (what if it’s a non-Christian who has material up they wouldn’t want a pastor to see?) and puts the person in an awkward situation if they don’t want to accept but do want to go back to the church and are afraid they’ll have offended by declining the request.  I think the phone call sounds much better — it’s a much shorter commitment for one thing — especially as I agree that if people provide a number, they’re indicating they’re okay with it being called.

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