Got a call last night from a friend in a church I used to pastor. They’d just held their first men’s ministry Wild Game Banquet, complete with moose, elk, bear, deer, cougar and even a “mystery meat” that you don’t want to know about.
It was well-attended, with ninety men filling the meeting hall at the gun range to near capacity. The speaker, a local well-respected businessman simply shared his story. There were outdoors, hunting and fishing related door prizes. For desert they went to the onsite indoor range and allowed people to fire away on handguns, many for the first time. Of those in attendance, about a dozen were from no church.
So what do you do for follow-up of an event like that?
Without getting into an evaluation of the event, and the need to clarify if it is an outreach or fellowship event, and if outreach, what level (cultivating, sowing or reaping) it should function at, let me say a bit about follow-up. And let’s assume it was a sowing level outreach event, designed to plant some seeds and build some relationships but not necessarily call for an immediate response to the Gospel.
First of all, the follow-up needs to be planned pre-event. Part of the ticketing process would include email addresses. The ideal would be to have an online survey that people were asked to do before they left, as well as paper versions for those who preferred. Those who completed neither would be emailed a link to the survey that evening.
The survey would ask for feedback on the event: “We are planning to hold this event again and want to make it the best it can be. Please take a minute to give your feedback…”
One question each about the food, the program and the venue. An open-ended “Any other questions and comments?” and then the really important questions:
Please check as many of the following as you like:
Do you want to be informed when we schedule next year’s Wild Game Banquet?
Would you like to know about other men’s ministry events? [Note that it would be helpful at this point to have a unique name for your men’s min vs just calling it Men’s Ministry.)
Do you want to know more about what the speaker talked about tonight?
Then ask for name and email address.
Anyone who checked off the last point is contacted immediately, within 24 hours of the event, by someone who could indeed share more about what the speaker was saying. One idea is to have a second event for a small group of men where the speaker shares the Gospel on a deeper level. This would be attended by any non-church people who checked off this last item, as well as enough men’s ministry leadership to make a comfortable sized group. Alternatively, they could be offered an email series that they opt into that expands upon the speaker’s message. However I would lean toward the live contact at this point.
Those who check off the second last one are emailed or texted with a link to a page that gives them the chance to opt-in to an email series unpacking men’s ministry events.
Those who indicated a desire to be informed about the next year’s event are put in a list, emailed to let them know they are in the list (with the option of unsubscribing) and not bothered until the next event gets closer, unless they have checked off something else.
This is just one simple approach to follow-up. But note how it follows the principle of getting people’s contact info, with permission, allowing for follow-up appropriate to their current level of interest. And of course any email series the attendees are in will offer other gateways to other content that either moves them towards following Jesus or grows them in their faith.