Over the last couple of decades of working with many great churches in the area of discipling new believers, I wanted to pass along some key things that will help you create a great new believers packet and reach, connect and disciple new believers.
A few years ago, we released a resource book for new believers called “Following Jesus,” which is a short, fresh looking book that targets the seven initial key steps for a new believer to follow.
Many churches around the globe have started implementing the book into their discipleship strategy. This has allowed me to get to engage with a lot of great churches on an effective approach to discipleship and creating new believer packets and the overall assimilation and discipleship strategy.
It’s also important to note that before we get into the below how-to section, that the most important thing after a new believer comes to Christ is for them to feel that hospitality and connection to the family of God. So, the packet is not the focus; it is a tool to connect with the new believer and get them on the next steps of following Jesus.
So, here are a few key things to consider as you put together a great new believers packet.
1. What do you put into the New Believers Packet?
As you’re putting together a packet, don’t overthink it, it’s better to have something than to wait too long because you want to make it perfect or you’re waiting for the budget. Also, sometimes, people will do a packet that connects with both the visiting guest and a new believer, and some do them separately.
When putting the packet together, consider your ability to continue using it, so don’t make it so complicated or so expensive that you can’t sustain it after a month.
Key Things to Put into a New Believers Packet:
- Physical copy of the Bible or YouVersion Bible App info
- Letter/postcard/message from the pastors
- Following Jesus book (or other discipleship tools)
- Optional additional gift: Like a free coffee voucher for your church or Starbucks. Coffee tumbler. Or a journal and pen. (Branded for your church is great for these gifts but not essential)
- Clear next step direction. This could be in the same letter/postcard as the letter from the pastors, but something that makes sure they know what’s next. Like do you want them to come to a small group, a growth track of some kind, a new believers course?
How to get the packet into a new believer’s hands
The greatest new believers packet in the world doesn’t help if you don’t get it into the hands of new believers. Below I’ll list a few key ways that churches attempt to connect with new believers, but first, I want to note that I highly encourage a genuine and passionate call to be given in every service for people to choose to put their faith in Jesus!
Whether your church style is to invite people to come forward to the altar or keep people in their seats, the key is to create a decisive moment for everyone to get the opportunity to hear and answer that question of whether or not they will choose to follow Jesus.
Once the call has been given, we then have to make sure to provide them with clear and simple next step that guides them to connect with you so that you can get the discipleship tools into their hands and make that crucial relational connection.
Here are a few ways people do it:
- Hand out the new believers packet in service when they raise their hand or come forward.
- Have a clear place out in the lobby that they can go to and pick up their new believers packet and other guest info if they’re new. (We have Following Jesus banners to help with this)
- Text in services. Have a screen up that has instructions on a text-in number that then allows you to follow up with people.
- Remind them at the end of the service again what the simple next step is for a new believer (and for a guest)
- If you invite new believers to raise their hands, also have a team in the auditorium that are watching and then kindly come up to them after service to get the book into their hands.
3. Following up with New Believers
This is a key part of the process like we already noted, you can have the best packet, get it to them, but at the end of the day, you want to be sure you make the connection and do your best to get them connected and start the discipleship process.
Here are a few things to remember in follow up:
- Always do your best to gather contact information from any new believer, especially if they grab a packet. (Don’t need to ask for too much info, but enough for your church database system to be able to email/call them.
- Have an automatic system of follow up as the base of your follow up. So, if you get their email, have a series of a few emails that welcome them to the family and gives them the next steps and links to helpful resources. If you gather their cell, have an auto-text go out. This helps to make sure you’ll know that there was some initial connection and exchange with all guests and new believers.
- Make the next step simple, clear, and consistent. If you have 3+ things you’re trying to get a new believer to do, they most likely won’t do any of them. So, make sure that you identify which you want them to go to first. Is it a small group, is there a growth track or new believers Sunday school type class. What it is, is less important as the need for it to be clear.
- Make it as relational as possible, so while you want to gather their data and get them into the follow-up systems. Make it the goal to make an excellent relational connection the day they make that decision for Christ.
Praying for you as you work towards being more effective as a church in connecting with and discipling the new believers that God is bringing to your church family. Again for more Following Jesus discipleship resource check out: followingjesusbook.com and use the coupon ministryvoice to get 10% off the Following Jesus Book. Watch a short video about the Following Jesus Book below.
Any other questions, don’t hesitate to reach out!