In the last post I listed five steps that we believe most people who are seeking are going to fall into.
How we use the 5 Steps:
When we meet on Wednesday night we do two things with those five steps. First, we get new names by asking those who attend the class who they know who are in each step and pray for the people they mention. The names they mentioned are written down and organized into the appropriate step so we can start reaching out to them.
Getting names from the Wednesday class accomplishes a few things.
- Practically, it gets more names and connections into our five steps.
- Second, it gets them thinking through and praying about who they know they can reach out to
- Third, it motivates them to get more intentional. If you are going to say you want to reach out to your neighbor, the lightbulb comes on that no one else is going to do that for you but you. Things get real, fast.
Next, we work through the list of names that we have already accumulated from past meetings, visitor cards, etc that have already been inputted into the steps database (more on that later). They are asked if they know them and we get someone to contact them given the step they are in and the that come with that step. Sometimes we have visitors no one has met. We ask if anyone has met them to try to figure out who they are. This is where the rubber meets the road. We are connecting our visitors with real people by taking the initiative and contacting them through the week. This also gets our members to start looking for new people Sunday-Saturday they can connect with and inform us of in the meeting.
Encourage the natural connection/avoid artificiality when possible:
We are trying to encourage what is already naturally happening. If a visitor already has a natural connection with the congregation we are going through that channel first. If they don’t then we are having someone they don’t know contact them and invite them to small group, bible class, Bible study, etc (depending on the step). Honestly, I thought we might get some negative feedback from people who don’t want to be contacted but what we are starting to see is that people want to be wanted. People want someone to be thinking about them, praying for them and contacting them. We may offend 2% but why miss out on the 98% who want our attention and love to avoid offending a few?
Changing the Culture:
We are also trying to change the culture of the congregation. We are trying to change the way our members see what happens on Sunday, Wednesday, in small group but more than all of that…on Monday-Saturday in the world around them. The more we ask about people in our Wednesday night class and the more they think about and pray about people they can reach out to, our hope is that the culture changes. Our hope is that people get ministry and outreach minded. Honestly, this is as much about involving our members in ministry as it is about the actual evangelism that is taking place.
One way we are trying to get people to think like this is repeating the steps. We launched this with a combined adult Bible class. We laid it all out there. We explained it again the first two Wednesday night classes. What is more, as we work through the names the reality is it is not just being explained, the model is being demonstrated over and over again with real people week in and week out.
So all in all, the five steps becomes the way the meeting/class on Wednesday is organized as we gather and give information and delegate responsibility and needs for our members to take on themselves.
We have met twice so far and I have to say the emails, calls and conversations I have had as follow up with those who are reaching out and connecting has been fantastic. I am keeping all the emails I get in a file in hotmail so that I can look back and remember the successes. I haven’t mentioned this yet but we are allowing time each week to tell stories of victory and success from the previous week. Now that is exciting to hear!
Sometimes when you are so close to something you get blind spots so please tell me if any of this is leaving you scratching your head. One reason I am writing this here is to help me understand how to communicate what we are doing and the principles behind it as much as helping other people read through these ideas and taking what they can and using it.