You talk with your congregation on Sundays and maybe set up a one-on-one meetings during the week.
But what about the rest of the time?
Is there a way to know if your message has hit home or if some members of your congregation need extra support?
As a pastor, having a follow up strategy is one of the keys to an effective ministry. Follow ups can be as simple as a quick phone call after an important meeting. Or they can be a multi-stage email campaign to generate interest in new programming.
Thanks to technology, there are now ways to conduct follow ups that fit almost every situation, and being a more productive pastor involves putting the right technique to use for each situation.Below, we've highlighted the ten best ways for a pastor to conduct a follow up. Whether you use every method or just choose the few that make the most sense for your ministry, starting a habit of effective follow ups will make a significant difference for your ministry in the long run.
Email is still by far the best method for conducting a follow up with your congregation. Thanks to the popularity of smartphones, most people check their email multiple times every day. Emailing is designed to give you the power to message multiple people at once while still making the message seem personal They are also an easy way to attach relevant files, website addresses and other pertinent information you want to share.
As an added advantage, people tend to refer to emails more often than text messages, and they let you provide as much information as you want without space constraints.
2. SMS Text Messaging
If a simple, informal method of following up is preferred, nothing can beat the simplicity of a text message. This style of communication works best when you are only trying to communicate with an individual or small group, and tends to work best for coordinating details about availability for meetings or events.
3. Native Mobile App - PUSH Notifications
Does your church have a mobile app? You're missing out if you haven't activated push notifications. When used correctly, these notifications with keep your phone-addicted congregation aware of every message that you send out while increasing their engagement on your app. Best of all, each user can "opt-out" of these notifications if they choose, meaning you don't have to worry about annoying people with too many updates.
4. Website PUSH Notifications
Just like mobile app notifications, website PUSH notifications alert your members to any updates on your site, as long as they choose to opt in. These notifications will give them an alert on their computers when you change something on your site, allowing those who allow the notifications to always be in the loop.
5. Facebook Posts
Every contemporary ministry should have a Facebook page. Keeping your page updated lets you follow up on events for your congregation. Facebook is a great tool for posting pictures, drawing attention to ministry opportunities, and even setting up fundraising opportunities.
You can use Facebook to its best advantage by sending out 'follow' requests to every member of your congregation who is online.
6. Facebook Messaging
If you want to start a casual, yet private conversation online, Facebook Messenger is the smart way to do it. This program is used by millions of people, especially those who are under 40, and can be a great way to connect with anyone who's a millennial or younger.
7. ReTargeting Ads on Facebook
Want to get the attention of your local community? Facebook ads can help. You can target these ads to connect with people within a particular geographic region, ensuring that the message reaches those who have the most potential to get involved with the activities you're offering.
8. Google Retargeting Ads
Just like Facebook ads, Google Ads are a great way to get the attention of people geographically close to you or with web searches that match with what you provide. Most ad programs allow you to specifically target individuals who have done certain online searches, making it easier to get your message to the right demographic for the results you want.
9. Phone Calls
Some conversations are better made personally, which is why phone calls are still an essential for a strategic follow up session. Phone calls are especially beneficial for following up after an intimate one on one conversation when emails for Facebook messages would feel too impersonal.
10. Snail Mail
As old school as it might seem, regular mail still has a place in effective ministry follow up campaigns. A portion of your congregation will only ever respond to physical mail, so cutting this technique out of your strategy will alienate them.
The Impact of Follow Ups for Your Church Ministry
No matter what method you choose to implement, following up as a pastor is essential for maintaining relationships with your congregation. Feel free to experiment with multiple options on this list until you find what works for you!