A few days ago, Em got a postcard in the mail from a church down the street. Here is the card (edited without personal info, click for larger size) "...Remember to attend Sunday school and church and have your mommy or daddy call us to let us know how you are doing."
Now I'm not into churches sending out mail at all. I think churches should grow subversively, from word of mouth and relationships, not mass marketing. But despite my opinion, I thought the card was really, really thoughtful. They were really thinking about Em. For people that are not connected to a church, wouldn't it be cool to feel like, "Wow, they are thinking about me."
The card came about from Em raising her hand at the DC Festival. (See D's post about it here and mine here.) This is a great example of the staff and volunteers of the Festival implementing a viable followup strategy. They must have rotated the response cards from the event to local churches by geography and then empowered those churches to follow up with specific people. Actually doing the ministry activity is one thing - implementing and executing a follow up strategy is just as difficult if not more.
A viable follow up strategy is one element we strive to have with SPACE mission trips. If there isn't a viable strategy, we will try to avoid the experience. Some examples of good strategies that I have seen:
- a missionary family continues to build relationships with students they met from a summer team visiting
- continued presence by a local, indigenous ministry in parks after we spent an afternoon hanging out with little kids
- skatepark outreach with follow up being a weekly drop in skate center at a local church