How To Create An Effective Follow-up System In Your Church: The Thankless Task.

Follow-up Thankless Task

One of the most discouraging things in life is when your efforts and labours are not recognised or rewarded. Follow-up can be like that, it can often feel like a thankless task.

Follow-up Thankless Job

The hidden ministry ...

I was not in follow-up for very long before I realised one of the major frustrations of the ministry. Follow-up is what I call a "Hidden Ministry". What I mean by this is that the follow-up minister's work often goes unseen by the congregation. Most ministries in church are visible to the congregation to a large extent; preaching, praise and worship, ushering, musicians, greeters, Sunday school, children's church, transport. Follow-up ministry is different, most of the work happens outside of the church, where the congregation does not see it;

  • Praying for the convert

  • Calling

  • Messaging

  • Fellowships

  • Visits

I have never seen follow-up workers publicly commended ...

I have been in many church settings where various ministries have been highlighted and commended. I have been in conferences where thanks and recognition is given to ushers, car park attendants, nursery workers and others. But I have never seen follow-up ministry highlighted and the labourers commended.

Follow-up Nobody Notices What I Do

You only notice some things when they are not working ...

Sometimes things are only noticable when there is a problem. If you watch football matches you hardly notice the referee and his assistants when they are doing a good job. You normally notice them when they make a bad decision. If there is an incorrect offside call, or a penalty is awarded or denied incorrectly, or a player gets sent off harshly or escapes punishment for a foul, that is when we notice the referee and his team. Follow-up can be like that, when it works well and converts are being helped there is no recognition, but when a convert fails to come to church it is highlighted and investigated.

Follow-up Not About The Limelight

No-one should join follow-up for recognition ...

Now let's be clear, no-one should join follow-up because they desire recognition. I quickly learned that follow-up is about sacrificing yourself so that a new convert can be established, and you will not get recognised for much of that sacrifice.

Follow-up Keep Calm And Sacrifice

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Much of the sacrifice goes unnoticed ...

About one year into follow-up I was working with a young man that had recently prayed to receive Christ. I invited him over for Sunday dinner after church and told him we would cook something that he liked. Knowing he liked lamb, I bought a large leg of lamb and my wife prepared a very nice meal for him. We waited for him to arrive for dinner, but he never came. He did not call or message. I later found out that he had gone to the home of one of the sisters in church, as a few people had gone there. What was our response? We invited him for dinner the next week and cooked another meal for him. Much of your efforts and sacrifice in follow-up can go unrecognised and unappreciated.

Follow-up I Need Motivation

Everyone needs motivation ...

Having said that, everyone needs motivation. This is where leadership comes in. I am currently studying a course in Leadership and Management, and in one of the lessons it was stated that research has shown that seventy percent of people leave their job because of poor leadership. Specifically because their labours and efforts were not recognised or rewarded. In follow-up ministry it is vital that successes and labours of the team are recognised by the leaders, as even good workers become disillusioned when their efforts are constantly overlooked. Leaders must take time to thank the team and recognise their efforts. When was the last time a leader in your church called out a follow-up worker and said: "I appreciate your labours with that convert. I know it's not easy, but you're doing a great job!"?

Follow-up Labour of Love

Follow-up must be done as a thank you, not for a thank you ...

The reality of follow-up is that it must be done as a thank you, not for a thank you. Working with converts must be done as a labour of love and an offering to God, thanking him for persevering with you and establishing you, with a desire to be used to achieve the same in others. But even when we do things for the right reason and with the right heart, a little "Thank you" now and again does not hurt, does it?

Follow-up Your Success Is My Reward

Your reward comes from being used to establish converts ...

Ultimately, the reward for your labours is found in converts being established. When in Namibia as a missionary a lady came to the church and prayed to receive Christ. She attended for a few services and then disappeared from church for the next year. During that year I continued to contact her, send encouragements, invite her to concerts and church events. After a year she returned to church, was radically touched by God, and became a fruitful and committed member. On her return she came to me and said: “Thank you for not giving up on me. I appreciate all the messages and encouragements you sent to me, even though I never responded to any of them. I just wasn’t ready to make the commitment to Jesus at that time”. Seeing her established and fruitful in church was my reward.

Follow-up Your Labour Is Not In Vain

Your labour is not in vain ...

Although follow-up may seem like a thankless task at times, your labour is not in vain, and there are many that are thankful for your efforts, even if they never come and tell you personally.

Check out these helpful articles;

How I Motivated My Staff

Why Is It Important To Be Thankful?

Your Labor For The Lord Is Not In Vain

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