The Pastor's Toolbox: Fruitful Follow-Up

Dr. R.B. Ouellette

While we all wish to give the Gospel to everyone we can, most of us are burdened to see more of our converts come to church. Here are a couple of simple thoughts that I’ve found helpful in this endeavor.

What to Say after Salvation.

I observed years ago an interesting phenomenon. After someone accepted Christ, I would begin to encourage him to get baptized, read the Bible, and attend church. When I did, the entire atmosphere changed. Up until this point, I had been trying to do something for the individual. Now it seemed to them I was trying to get something from him. So I learned a very helpful technique to avoid them feeling pressured:

After a person has trusted Christ, and I have explained assurance of salvation to them, I say something like this: “I’m so glad you’ve trusted Christ. It is the most important decision you will ever make. I have seen people who make this decision have wonderful blessings in their lives. I have seen others with not such obvious results. The difference is in what they did with what God gave them. On a scale of one to ten, where would you like to be in your Christian life six months from now?” (Most people will answer somewhere in the seven to ten range.)

I then say, “That’s great. Would you mind if I shared a few thoughts to help you reach your goal of being an eight in your Christian life six months from now?”

Notice what changed. I am now giving them instruction by permission in order to help them reach their goal. Then I share with them the importance of reading the Bible, praying, attending church and letting others know they have trusted Christ.

Building Relationships through Indefinite Follow-Up.

One of the best pieces of advice Dr. Chappell and others have given for soulwinners is to keep an active prospect list. This is a list of ten to twenty people who need to be saved, baptized, or join the church. I have found that if I contact them each week trying to get them to church, I’m back to the same dynamic I mentioned earlier—getting them to do something for me. Because of this, I have taken a different approach.

When I call them, I ask if I can pray for any needs they have. I keep their requests on my prayer list. When I go back the next week, I ask if there is anything else for which I can pray. You would be shocked how many times people will say at this point, “Well, just pray that we get in church!” It is much more powerful when they tell me they need to be in church than when I tell them they need to come.

It is important to keep this relationship with new Christians for an indefinite period of time. Some may not come for months or even years. As long as there seems to be a good reception, continue to contact them until they come.