Indeed 'Follow Up' might not be the best name. It makes it sound like an afterthought. You know ... you go to the doctor for a life-saving operation - and then you are scheduled for a 'follow-up visit'. It's a minor event - just to make sure that everything is going okay.
I worry that this same thinking can translate into our disciple-making. That is, the “follow-up” ministry is just a tacked-on extra. Just to make sure that it’s still going okay, and that nothing’s gone wrong.
Nothing could be further from the truth! As important as the initial evangelism is, the ministry that we have after that (the “follow-up ministry”) is absolutely crucial to producing lasting disciples. Indeed, I believe that the missing ingredient in producing world-changing disciples is an under-valuing of this crucial follow-up ministry.
So - in the first 7 days - here are 7 steps to make your follow up more effective:
1. Make the follow up phone call immediately
- Always make contact within 48 hours
- Check how they're going. Assure them of your support. Pray with them
- Plan the first personal contact. Don’t finish your phone conversation until you have locked in a date that week for the two of you to catch up face-to-face.
2. Have your first face-to-face contact within the first week
- Follow-up everything you said in your phone call.
- Read the bible with the new believer.
- Make sure you pray with them.
- Be ready for lots of questions.
- Plan the first christian event that this new believer will attend.
3. Take another believer along with you
- St your first face-to-face meeting, have someone else there who can learn what you are doing.
- This is a crucial discipleship lesson for the “other Christian” that you have taken along with you. This is where they will learn how to follow-up a new believer. And how will they learn that? By watching you!
- Ideally, who should this “other Christian” be? Someone whom you are already discipling! Someone who was in the place of the new believer just a short time ago.
4. Help the new believer with good resources
- Don't overwhelm them with too much! But here's what you could start with ...
- A bible with a personal bible-reading plan. (or, for a younger person, just a gospel)
- A short pamphlet which outlines the step they took in saying “yes” to Jesus.
- A pamphlet or booklet which outlines the basic steps of Christian growth.
- A good Christian book to read
5. Bring the new believer to a christian event
- Notice the emphasis on bring.
- Don’t just invite them and hope they’ll make it. Go out of your way, pick them up from their house, have a cuppa with them first, do whatever it takes so they don’t have to arrive at your Christian event all alone.
6. Get the new believer started in ministry
- When do you get a new believer started in ministry? The moment they come to Jesus! Being a disciple means being a disciple-maker. The two are synonymous! You can’t have one without the other!
- And I don't mean "Get them on the morning tea roster". I mean - help them to share their faith with someone else and continue and accelerate the whole disciple-making process
- New Christians are absolutely the best at bringing new people along to things. New people bring new people. Get them started right away.
7. Plan your regular follow-up
- The key ministry that you really want to start is this: that you will plug the new believer into their strategic ongoing follow-up ministry. This follow-up group might be the regular small bible study group or home fellowship that you attend; or it might be a special group for new believers.
- Whatever it is, it is crucial that within the first week you plan this ongoing meeting. Your new believer needs to understand that they need to be coached about how to live as a disciple. They need to know there is a whole new life to learn about. They need to know that we’re going to walk with them every step of the way. They need to know that they are on a journey to become a world-changing disciple.
For more info:
Check out Chapters 9-13 of 'Disciples Who Will Last'