We can’t underestimate the importance of guiding people into a deeper relationship with Christ.
At the same time, I’m a little concerned that the words “next steps” seem to be more and more generic with less and less meaning. Similar to the 250-word mission statement and the random core values hidden on the back of a webpage, strategies and systems can become irrelevant and even distracting when they are used halfheartedly.
Shouldn’t “next steps” be more than a few action points tacked on to the end of a sermon? Should they be more helpful than a fill-in-the-blank? Maybe it’s time for us to rethink the next steps we are offering.
When developing next steps:
1. Engage with people before planning next steps for their lives.
Too many churches try to force feed their next steps. Without listening and engaging, how can you know where someone is trying to go? What has tripped them up in the past? What are their specific goals?
Failure is destined to happen if everyone is not aligned.
2. Make it easy to get started.
Nothing is more frustrating than wanting to take a next step while not understanding how. In the business world, this concept is called providing low barriers to entry.
If you are challenging someone to take a next step, make sure the right tools are available.
3. Give a clear call to action.
Next steps should be worthwhile. Why ask someone to do something that is not going to have a major impact on his or her life?
Challenge people to take steps that will provide remarkable results.
4. Share success stories.
If someone sees how a particular next step benefitted another person, then they are more likely to participate. There is nothing like providing examples that say, “I tried this next step and here is what happened in my life.”
Too many times we challenge people to volunteer time, give money and develop spiritual habits without taking time to show that success is possible.
5. Decide on “next steps.”
Next steps should constantly be evolving. People don’t “graduate” in their spiritual walk. They don’t earn a diploma or finally arrive.
Great churches constantly evaluate innovative ways to encourage spiritual growth.
How do you offer next steps in your ministry to help people gain traction in their faith journeys?