Does your whole church have a philosophy and commitment to investing in and discipling new people, or is it only those in follow-up ministry? If only a handful of people are committed to people, it could be one of the reasons why many people slip through the cracks.
The "Not My Ministry" Mindset ...
I was at a church recently where one of the leaders gathered a group of men together and was appealing for more men to be involved in making the services safe and secure for everyone. He simply asked all the men to keep an eye out for anyone that seemed to be acting suspiciously in the church, and highlight it with one of the ushers or leaders. One man took offense to the suggestion saying: "I'm not an usher. That's not my ministry!!". His thought that he had to be an official member of the Ushering Team in order to do anything more than come to church.
Don't allow your church to become compartmentalized ...
It is very easy for the church to become a number of different ministries and people who are all focused on their particular area of responsibility or interest, but not working towards a common goal. Do not allow it.
When ministries miss the mark ...
The whole purpose of church is to reach the lost and to disciple the saved. Every ministry in church is there to facilitate these two goals. Ministries miss the mark when they become focused on the ministry itself, instead of the ministry's role in fulfilling the purpose of the church. For example, worship misses the mark when the song service is more about having a professional sounding team with the latest songs, instead of creating an environment where new people can come in and sing songs that are easy to learn and unashamedly and blatantly glorify Jesus. Every ministry must be focused on integrating people into the church.
The church still needs many ministries ...
I’m not saying that you should scrap all ministries and only concentrate on follow-up.There are many ministries that are necessary to building a strong church. However, the focus of many ministries may need to change to make them people orientated instead of procedure orientated. A good exercise to do would be to stand back and look at all the ministries in your church and ask the question: "How is this ministry helping to establish a new person or to disciple someone?". If it does not, then tweak it so that it does.
Creating a follow-up church does not mean putting everyone in church into follow-up ministry. It means creating a church where people coming to Jesus is the prize, the purpose and the passion.
The Philosophy. The whole philosophy of the church needs to be people orientated. Everyone in the church should know that this church is about winning the lost and discipling the saved. Reaching out to new people must be seen as a critical responsibility for every established Christian, not just those in follow-up ministry. Everyone has a role to play in establishing new people, not just those in follow-up ministry. This must be preached in the services and taught in the bible studies and become the culture of the church.
The Practise. Walk through the experience of a visitor to your church. For example;
- Arrive at the facility
- Park their vehicle
- Enter the building
- Provided with a seat
- Put children in nursery/Sunday school
- Worship service
- Altar call
- Collect children from nursery/Sunday school
- Refreshments or fellowship
- Purchase a sermon CD
- Leave the building
- Collect vehicle
- Leave the facility
Every minister that the visitor encounters along that journey must have the same mindset and goal for their ministry; to win the lost, to disciple the saved, to help to establish this person in Christ. They must conduct their ministry with those goals as the target.
Every non-minister, but established saint, that the visitor encounters along that journey must have the same mindset and goal for their church; to win the lost, to disciple the saved, to help to establish this person in Christ. You don't have to be in follow-up ministry to sit with a new person who is alone, to go and greet someone, to ask if someone would like refreshments, to talk to them and invite them to the bible study that you attend.
A culture, not a just ministry ...
Let us aim to make follow-up a culture in our church, not just a ministry that people can sign up to. When people who are not in follow-up recognise their responsibility to reach out to new people with love, fellowship, friendship and example, we will see many more people being locked into the church and doing the same.