In an ideal world, every person we invite to make a decision of faith has already been integrated into our communities, and we invite them to make a decision about Jesus as a natural part of developing life-long relationships. In reality, good follow up requires us to help new believers to interpret their decision - something that's difficult to measure.
HOW DO WE KNOW IF WE’RE DOING A GOOD JOB WITH FOLLOWUP?
You build time into your schedule to do follow up. Aim to have follow up conversations with at least 80% of the people who make decisions. *We say 80% because 20% might not return or reciprocate the efforts. This does not invalidate the decision of faith, but it does mean that we won’t be able to walk with that person in their next steps.
You debrief the decision with the person. Don’t assume that the decision makes sense or that the person knows what to do next. Interpret their experience, and help them understand what this decision means for them in in terms of next steps.
You connect the person to a community of believers. Faith is not a solo journey, and the new believer needs to grow in their faith in fellowship with others. Connect the person to a small group, a church, and a community that can help them grow. Invite the person to a small group (maybe yours!) and accompany them to whatever new community experience they are trying out as a new Christian.
HOW DO WE KEEP TRACK OF FAITH DECISIONS?
When our calls to faith surprise us with more decisions than we expect, it’s important to have a system ready to make sure every new believer is followed-up with.
We need more than just names and numbers - we want to recognize what God is doing in our community, celebrate appropriately, and faithfully act.
Create a spreadsheet, and be sure to include:
Who are we following up with?
When did they make a decision of faith?
In what context did they make a decision of faith?
Who is meeting up with them to discuss follow-up steps?
How often have they met up?
A decision is someone who is making a first time commitment to follow Jesus or is recommitting their life to follow Jesus.
*Remember to count recommitment decisions. They are just as impactful and transformational as first-time ones and are equally valuable and significant.
*Some folks grow up culturally or nominally Christian (they might come to church, but they don’t have a relationship with Jesus). When such a person decides to follow Jesus, this is actually a conversion because they own their faith in a new and deeper way.