the next sentence – part two

We had a newcomer lunch. We wanted to have something for people who have started coming to church services here within the last year. It’s the first event like that we’ve had around here in at least 13 years.

It seemed like it would make sense to help people get connected, to find out more about who we are and what we believe.

We announced it out loud. We put it in our publications. We sent invitations to everyone we knew of that fit in that demographic.

We had between 20 and 30 people signed up to come. We invited a bunch of staff and a couple elders and the fellowship committee. We had 75 people. We had a great time.

And then I started thinking about the next sentence. I realized I needed to take a next step with that event. So I created a postcard to send to them with four questions.

Thanks for coming to the Newcomer Lunch. 
Those of us who are oldtimers enjoyed it. We hope you did, too.
Because this was the first time we’ve done this,
we would appreciate your help. Would you answer
these questions and drop this card in the offering plate
the next time you come to church? (or hand it to
a staff member or mail it in or attach it to a homing pigeon) 
Pastor Jon Swanson
Our goal was to help you get a clearer picture of Grabill Missionary Church.
1. Given that goal, what was the most helpful part of the hour?

2. Given that goal, what one thing could we do that would make Newcomer Lunches more effective?

3. What were you expecting that we didn’t do?

4. Should we keep doing this?  Yes No
Name (optional)

It was a simple card, inviting another level of involvement.

And then we started looking for addresses. And we realized that we didn’t have a list of the people who showed up. And we didn’t have the list of people who had said they were coming. And we didn’t remember to have people sign a sheet when they filled out a name tag.

We had a great event, we had people wanting to do it again, but we had no way to follow up.

Since then, we’ve been able to build a list of the newcomers. Our people did a wonderful job of mingling and talking and learning names and building connections. And we have already gotten back several cards, with very positive comments.

The lesson? Think about what comes after the thing that you are doing now. After this story, what’s the moral? After this presentation, what’s the followup? After this lesson, what’s the application?

So what’s your story about missing out on the next sentence?


Coming up next in this series, what keeps us from thinking about the next sentence?


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2 responses to “the next sentence – part two

  1. My story about missing out on the next sentence is sad. As a student leader in our college InterVarsity chapter, I realized too late that we failed to prepare and train the next batch of leaders. More to say on that when you talk about what keeps us from thinking about the next sentence. (BTW–I feel, at the very least, an e-book coming on from this series….)

  2. I’m looking forward to your contribution. I think that it’s right on target.