This post concludes our series on implementing The Trellis and the Vine in our churches and deals with effective follow up for churches. Here are the other posts:
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Marty Sweeney: When I read a good book on preaching, the first thing I’m curious about is the guy who wrote the book. I want to listen to one of his sermons. And so, if someone reads a book on ministry, and the person thinks, “What does an everyday guy like Tony Payne going to your church in Australia?” What do you see in your own church that is going well in terms of the trellis and vine mindset?
Tony Payne: As Col and I always say, we are just two very ordinary guys trying to figure it out just like everybody else.
One of the things I noticed a couple of years ago in our church is that the way of following up newcomers who come to church in our context wasn’t very good, it was fairly programmatic. If a newcomer came to church, they would just get an email, get a welcome, they might get a phone call. They’d be invited to various things, but nothing happened with them personally in terms of actual following them through, getting to know them, seeing how each one of those people needed to move to the right.
I wondered if it was possible to do something better for this. We didn’t have the pastoral resources. So, I got together a group of ten people, mature Christians who had been in the church for a while and weren’t really in the mindset of helping others particularly, they were just solid Christians. They wanted to help other people, but weren’t sure how.
So I decided to train that group to be a newcomer follow-up team, who together, would grasp the vision of seeing newcomers move to the right and start to follow those people up. I’ve been working on that for two and a half years, my wife and I run this group, and in God’s providence, it’s been really helpful for our congregation. We now have 8 or 10 people who really know how to visit a new person, think about who they are, keep in touch with them over three, four, five, six months, introduce them to other people, try and work out what their spiritual needs are, maybe read the Bible with them if that’s what they need. We’ve seen real growth in those people’s lives and growth in people staying at church as a result.
It’s a simple thing to do, and it’s taken some persistence. But it is one simple thing that has been good in our congregation over the next couple of years. We’ve seen a much higher level of new people stay and grow and be really helped by the gospel by just following them up personally. That’s a simple thing I think everyone could do.
Related Resource: How to Walk into Church by Tony Payne (Amazon | Matthias Media)
If you’ve been a churchgoer for more than just a few Sundays, walking into church probably doesn’t seem like it deserves its own ‘how to’ manual. Right? In fact, it most likely seems like a pretty straightforward and trivial weekly activity.
But things are rarely as simple as they seem, and how you walk into church reveals a great deal about what you think church is, what it’s for, and what you think you’re doing there.
In How to Walk into Church, Tony Payne helps us think biblically about church. Along with giving plenty of other practical advice, he suggests a way to walk into church that beautifully expresses what church is and why you’re there – a way that every Christian can master.
If you go to church, this Brief Book is for you.
Want to learn more? Join us for Re:Growth – Implementing “The Trellis and the Vine” in your church in Palos Heights, IL on September 11, 2015.