What to Do Following a Preview Service (Part 2)

I apologize for the length between this post and my last, but wanted to finish my series on what to do following preview services.  In case you missed the first post, you can read it here. Here is a review of the four key things a church planter should do following each of their preview services:

  1. Celebrate
  2. Follow-Up
  3. Analyze
  4. Correct

In this post, I will address the step of “Following-Up”. As is true with most church plant services, at each of your preview services, you will have guests.  Throughout your preview services, you will most likely also have supporters attend.  Each of these two groups are different, but still very important.  In this step, I will address the need to communicate and follow-up with these segments of your preview service attendance.

First, we’ll look at the latter group, the supporters. These are individuals that believe in your church plant invest time, finances, or possibly both but do not necessarily feel led to be part of your church.  Those in this category will most likely attend a few of your preview services, your grand opening and then be gone.  Regardless of the frequency of their attendance, though, it is still crucial to follow-up with them.  I would recommend a nice hand written note and possibly a person phone call thanking them for coming.  This is not a means to ‘butter them up’ but rather to show appreciation for their support, both with their finances and their presence.

Second, is the most important group long-term, your guests. These are individuals that are from your community and are ‘checking out your church’.  I can’t stress how important your follow-up is for this group.  Here are some steps to having effective follow-up for your guests through your preview service phase:

  1. Establish a workable plan for follow-up
    • Create a process that shows guests you value them, appreciated their attendance, and hope to see them again.
    • Do not let this process rest completely on the senior pastor.  This needs to be delegated out – if it is resting on the senior pastor, the chances of it being done in a timely fashion diminish.
  2. Execute the follow-up plan.
    • Make sure this process is workable in a short time period.  Although preview services are usually once a month, don’t take that whole month to follow-up with them.  This should be done within that week.
    • I will not necessarily say what you’re follow-up plan should be, as that can differ depending on your community, I would strongly echo Nelson Searcy’s advice in Launch by saying include a ‘Comeback Event’.  These events are easy-invite events that you can encourage guests to attend and meet others who are part of your new church.  Events could include bowling, a cookout, Monday Night Football, etc.
  3. Evaluate your follow-up plan.
    • This partly ties in with the 3rd item I will be discussing in my next post of ‘Analyze’, but still felt it important to mention here.
    • After you execute your plan, get your key leaders involved with this process and evaluate if it worked.  If something’s broken, fix it.  What better time to identify a broken process then in your preview service phase.  If you fail to do this, you will launch with ineffective systems in place.
    • Here’s a few questions to ask in this step:
      • Are guests returning? Why or why not?
      • Is our process workable with our situation?
      • How can we fix what’s broken?  How can we improve what’s working?

In my next post, I’ll address the 3rd thing a church planter should do following a preview service, Analyze.

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