Success Is In The Follow Up

Over the next few days many churches will be having some sort of halloween alternative. I started this week asking the question, “Does a Crowd Equal Success?” Yesterday I shared some thoughts on how to make your even more Gospel focused. As we all make those last minute preparations for what is the biggest event of the year for many of us, I want to share one more thought.

Success is in the follow-up.

This one event is easier to draw a crowd than perhaps any other we do. For this one night the community is looking for us to give them a reason to come to our church. If we are not careful we can look at the crowd that attends and consider the event a success. This excitement quickly wears off as we get to Sunday and few, if any, of the people that attended the event come for church. Our discouragement can grow over the coming weeks as we tally up the how much money was spend, how much work was done and how little return we see.

Be encouraged. Before we look at how to improve the “return” let me take a moment to encourage you. Paul said, “I planted and Apollos watered, but GOD provides the increase.” There are times when we are sowers. There are times when we are waterers. There are times when we are harvesters. Harvesting is fun and very rewarding. But, it doesn’t happen without sowing or watering. So, even if you don’t FEEL the return know that if you shared the gospel and the Word of God, then you have done well.

So, how do I get them to church? Well, first let me say that some of them simply are not going to come. That being said we have to remember that nothing happens by coincident. The people that attended were there because God wanted them there. Still, we can not assume that simply because they were at the event that they will take the open invitation to then attend church. It is what happens AFTER the event that will bring most of the people to church.

Follow-up is key. What is your plan for follow-up? How are you going to thank your guests for attending and how are you going to invite them to attend church? If you don’t have a plan, take heart, it’s not too late. Talk to your leadership and some key members of your team. Put together a plan. My recommendation would be that you shoot for putting your plan into action on Monday. There are any number of options. Here are some things that we are doing:

  • Door prize: The winner is to be notified by mail. This helps us to get accurate mailing addresses. We can then use these addresses to send thank you and invitations to our guests.
  • Photo booth: We have a photographer coming for a Photo Booth. The pictures will be emailed after the event. This encourages people to give us accurate email addresses.

Other options.

  • Sunday Door prize: At your event tell people that you will be giving away a special prize the following Sunday, but you have to be in attendance to win. I have a friend that is giving away a popular video game console.
  • Phone calls: Early in my minister I HATED making these kinds of phone calls. I felt like a telemarketer and everybody hates telemarketers. But,I later realized that these people have already shown an interest in our “product” simply by showing up. This is not a cold-call. We have to remember that it is God who calls people to Himself. So, if God is calling someone then they will be open to the phone call. If He is not, then we have lost nothing by calling them. After all, as a friend once told me, “you can’t push them further into hell.”

At the end of the day the exact method you chose will depend on your culture, resources, and abilities. The point is YOU HAVE TO FOLLOW UP. It is this next step that will take many people from casual event guests to church attendance. But, without it many will not come back. While there is no guarantee that follow-up will bring any specific person to your church, are you willing to run the risk that follow-up is the thing that WILL bring some of them back?

Matt Norman

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Making Your Event More Gospel Focused

fish-and-cross pumpkinLet’s face it we all WANT our events to have a real gospel presence. But, with the planning and work that goes into a major, often settle for just getting through it. But, as I wrote in my last post HERE, if we intend to share the gospel, but all we do is draw a crowd then we can’t really call the event successful. Let’s look at one way to make your event more gospel focused?

What I learned at camp. This summer I had my first experience with CentriKid camps. If you have not checked them out you should –  HERE. One thing that really impressed me was how intentional they were. Every moment that they had with kids was used. Meals became a chance for staffers to connect with kids. Free time became a chance for staffers to play with kids, thus deepening the connection. What impressed me even more was that all of their tracks were teaching moments. From archery to arts and crafts to baseball they gave ALL of them a Bible connection.

How’d they do it? Towards the end of each track time the leader would gather all the kids together. He or she would then have a devotional time with them. BUT, they used the activity that they had just completed to point kids to the Bible. It was beautiful and genius. On the surface this seems simple, but it takes some planning. This meant that they had to carefully plan devotions for each day for each activity and make sure that it tied in with the message for the day. I know it can be hard enough to tie a single activity into what you are teaching. They did it with a wide variety of activities.

What I plan to do. Tomorrow is our Trunk or Treat. During the event I will be manning our Fire Truck booth. We recently purchased an old firetruck to use for outreach. I plan to play a fire fighter themed game. I will do it in such a manner that 3 – 8 kids (maybe more) are playing at one time. Then after we have a winner, BEFORE they get any candy, I’m gonna sit them down and give a quick gospel presentation taking off of the firetruck/firefighter theme.

Won’t that mean fewer kids at my booth? Yes, this may mean fewer kids through my booth. But, I’m willing to take that risk knowing that the kids that do come through my booth WILL hear the gospel. This does mean that some will skip my booth to go for the quicker prize. I am praying, and trusting, that God will send the right ones to my booth.

Planning for next year. As I plan for next year I hope to take this a step further. You see, my booth will be a bit of an experiment. My hope is that next year I can expand this to most, if not all, of our game booths. Certainly there will be some that just want to buzz through and get as much candy as possible and move on. For those we still have the trunks handing out candy. But, for those that are willing to take the time we will have the potential for a much greater impact in their lives.

What are you doing to make your event(s) more gospel focused?

Matt Norman

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Does a Crowd Equal Success

CrowdThis week brings us Halloween. With this comes a variety of Fall Festival/ Harvest Party/Trunk or Treat, Halloween alternative events. With these events comes the annual discussion on whether or not we should do these events or if they are even effective. This discussion is healthy and, I believe, necessary. As the church we should constantly be looking at what we do and why and tweaking our methods in order to reach more people. This had me thinking:

Is a big crowd the measure of success?

There can be a tendency to measure the success of our events on the number of people that show up. Certainly this is a concern. I mean if we put a lot of effort and money into an event and no one shows up, then I think we can say that this event was not as successful as we would have hoped, BUT if we get a big crowd can we walk away happy and call it successful?

It depends.

If the only goal was to draw a big crowd, then congratulations. BUT, that should NEVER be our only goal in the church. If 100 or 1000 or 10,000 people show up, but the gospel is not shared, then I would argue that the event was a failure. So, let’s look at some better ways to measure success:

  • Was the Gospel shared? This can be a hard one because the fruit is often not immediately measurable. But that’s ok. You see Paul wrote that he planted and Apollos watered, but that GOD provided the increase. It is not our job to try to make the seed grow. It it our job to plant it. So, let’s be honest with ourselves. Was the Gospel shared? I’m not talking about tracts that are given in a registration packet. Most of these probably end up in the trash. There is value in them. God cause them to reach the ones that bother to read them. But, I’m talking about an actual person-to-person, verbal, in real time, while there still at your event sharing of the gospel. If your event is outreached minded and the gospel is not being shared, then regardless of the polarity of the event it was not successful.
  • Are you connecting? Are the people of your church taking time to have conversations with the people in attendance? More than anything else you do at your event, THIS will be what brings people back to visit your church. We need to plan our events in such a way that there is opportunity for conversation between the church people and the attendees.
  • What’s your plan for follow up? If a great many people come, but that is the only contact you have with them, then it is less likely that they will come to a service at your church. It is too late on the Monday after your event to start thinking about how you will follow up. You need to have a plan NOW for how you will follow up with the people that attended your event. Consider the demographic you are seeking to reach, or the one you are reaching and aim your follow up at them. If your reaching children with young children, then inform them about what it is that you do for children in your church. Invite them to another children’s event. Tell them about your children’s church if you have one. The bottom line is that you have to have a follow up plan BEFORE the event.
  • Were YOUR goals reached? What was the purpose of this event? If you aren’t sure, then you need to take a step back and start with that. Decide what you want to accomplish with this event and then work towards that. Afterwards evaluate your event based on this goal and not simply on the numbers.

It is human nature, I believe, to look at a BIG even and feel that it was a raging success. But, we need to avoid that tendency and look at the things that matter more.

Other than numbers what ways do YOU measure success for an event?

Matt Norman

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Broken, Burned-out and Bored in Kidmin

If I had to pick one favorite breakout session it would definitely be this one lead by Danielle Bell. Let’s be honest, ministry is HARD. We are constantly pouring into other people and seldom have people pouring into us. We are constantly there for other people. Listening to their stories and their pain. Being their shoulder to cry on. Basically doing what God called us to do. BUT, in the midst of all that there is often no one that is doing the same for us. Ministry is one of those situations where you can be completely surrounded by people and still fell all alone. The purpose of this session was to help those that are currently BROKEN, BURNED-OUT or BORED to overcome it and move forward and to help those who are not there yet keep from getting to that point.

Before I share my notes from the session I wanted to share some other related thoughts.

There should have been more people. I walked into the session early. Danielle and I had connected on Twitter, both being in Alabama. We had tried to catch up with earlier, but had not been able to. So, I arrived early to have the chance to introduce myself and connect. We chatted and as it came time for the session to start I sat down in the front row. The session began and the impact on me, personally, was amazing from the very beginning. However, it was not until about half way through the session that I had opportunity to look around the room and realize that most of the seats were empty. I have been in ministry for around 7 years. I know and have spent time with many ministry leaders. I know that this is something that nearly every one of us faces. At the very least it is an ever-present threat to all of us. Yet I look around and find most of the room empty.

Why weren’t there more people?

  • Guilt. I remember the first time I went to a conference for the hospital I worked for. The hospital had spent quite a bit of money to get me into the conference, to fly me out to Scottsdale, AZ and put my up in the fancy resort that was hosting the conference. Because of this I felt the need to be in every possible session. I felt guilty at the very thought of skipping a session. This carried over as God moved me into ministry and I started attending kidmin conferences. I get it. Your church is paying FOR you to be there and maybe even paying YOU to be there. So you want to get the most out of it. But, you must also remember that you are of greatest value to your church when you are healthy. This may mean skipping a session to rest.
  • Dedication. When I started going to conferences for the hospital I was managing the computer system in the emergency department. I was still quite new to that position and to that type of work. I thought it was cool and could really see the potential of it. For these reasons I wanted to learn everything I could. I wanted to be in every possible session. I think that many people feel the same way at kidmin conferences. They want to learn all they can to be better at what they do. In some cases they may be feeling overwhelmed in their ministry and are desperate for help. This leads them to urgently run from one session to the next afraid to miss that one nugget of wisdom that is going to forever change their ministry. One of the best sessions I have ever attended at a conference was one I skipped. During a breakout session at the Orange conference a couple years ago I had a chance to chat with Amy Dolan. We met up and found one of the conference rooms that was not being. We spent the entire hour chatting. It was at least as impactful as any session I DID attend.

I was the ONLY guy.  I have spent most of my adult life working in a hospital setting. As a male nurse I am completely comfortable being the only guy in the room. I am comfortable working with and around women. In fact early in my nursing career there were many nights when I was the rooster; the only man in the ER other than the doctors. What bothered me was that I KNOW I was NOT the only man at the conference that needed this session. As I mentioned above I have been in ministry a while and have talked to many ministry leaders. I know that there are many men in ministry that are hurting. I know that there are many who are experiencing exactly what this session addressed. I know that there are many more that are on the verge of this or are heading in that direction.

Why weren’t there more men.There are a number of possible reasons for this. Some of them are addressed above. Certainly, the things discussed below can apply to both men and women. But, I am a man. As such I understand men a little better than I understand women. (ok a LOT better). Furthermore, as a man, I can speak for men, but I would never presume to speak for women.

  • Pride. Certainly pride is not uniquely a man’s problem. Many women struggle with this as well, especially today.  But, I do think that it is something that men struggle with more. This inability or unwillingness to admit, even to yourself, that you have a problem can keep many out of a session like this. Unfortunately, it also keeps them from the help they need.
  • Shame. There is a sense in ministry that all the people around us have it all together. When you believe this, then your own brokenness can cause shame. After all, if THEY have it all together, what’s wrong with YOU?
  • Fear. There can be this thought that to attend a session such as this one is a show of weakness. We think that this shows that we have a problem that we can’t handle on our own and are therefore weak. The truth is that being willing to walk into this type of session says a couple other things:
    • Your just as messed up as the rest of us.
    • You know it.
    • You’re STRONG enough to publicly face it, regardless of what others may think.

Did YOU need this session? Are you reading this and realizing that you probably should have been in this session? Maybe you were not able to attend the conference, but this title and post resinate with you. If so, please be encouraged. I would love to talk with you to share what was covered in this session and to help you work through whatever your going through. Next week I will share my notes from the session and expound on them a little bit. Watch for that post. Use the box to the right to subscribe to the blog and ensure that you don’t miss that post or any other. Feel free to email me and tell me your story. Let’s work through our stuff together. As God intended.

Matt Norman

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KMC14 – 10 Steps to Family Ministry That Works

Heidi Hensley


  • Families spend only 8 hours per week together.
  • Weekend is at best 2 hour twenty minutes devoted to the family each day.
  • During the week the amount of times shrinks to just 36 minutes on average each day.

All this is true and yet we, as the church, are trying to claim part of that time.

  1. Know your families
    1. There is no longer the “average family”
    2. Be a communicator
  2. Remind them to have fun!
    1. It’s Biblical! Ecclesiastes 8:15
    2. At home and at church
      1. events are necessary, but they should not be the staple of your ministry.
    3. Provide the occasional escape route
  3. Equip them
    1. Don’t assume that parents know the basics
      1. send home papers should be easy enough that kids can understand it and work through it. This way if the parents have not been in church, then the kids can do it on there own. If the parents work with the kids on it, then they can help the kids and they can actually learn from it.
    2. Get them connected (inside and out)
    3. Provide an educational component
      1. Not all parents were ready to step into an adult Sunday School class.
    4. Realistic Family Discipleship
      1. Don’t over complicate it.
      2. Teach parents to use life’s moment.
        1. Teaching them what the Bible says about gossip, pornography, etc. helps parents to be ready to use life’s moments as spiritually teachable moments.
      3. Build on what you have.
    5. Let families serve together.
      1. Kids will value what their parents value
      2. Create opportunities (for families to serve together)
    6. Family worship
      1. When do your kids enter the sanctuary?
      2. Multi-generational worship
      3. How do your families worship as a family?
        1. family worship service?
    7. Equip parents for Spiritual moments
      1. Teach them to pray with their kids
        1. Pinterest – Creative prayers for kids
      2. Teach them to share their testimony
        1. invite parents into your class to tell their testimony
      3. Teach parents what your church believes about baptism and communion
    8. Make marriage a priority
      1. offer a date night
      2. offer a marriage class
      3. Remind them of the importance
    9. Kid’s ministry is Family ministry
      1. involve parents
        1. they are involved in the kids lives, involve them in our ministry.
      2. schools have the right idea
        1. PTA – what kind of things are they doing that we could also do in ministry
      3. Do your parents know what their kids are learning?
    10. Get started
      1. Work with what you’ve got
      2. Make a vision list
      3. Form an action plan
      4. Get leadership on board
Matt Norman

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