I’ve even heard it said that when we tell people about Jesus, but do not follow up and plug them in, it is like we are inoculating them AGAINST Jesus because they hear the message over and over and over without any tangible life change, so they start to believe they are somehow right with God. Scary! Your church should be growing through the outreaches you are doing. I have advised churches NOT to do certain outreaches if they do not have a clear plan for follow up. What’s your plan for bringing these kids and families BACK and plugging them in to your church? This is the downfall of too many church events- tons of planning, sweat, hard work, tears, budget dollars and all those new people never come back to visit your church. The number of people who come back and eventually begin to attend your church is called RETENTION. How important is retention? It should be your top priority and your main goal of any outreach that you and your team invest yourselves in.
   A child or a parent who accepts Christ as Savior at your outreach has a MUCH better chance of keeping their faith and growing in their walk if they get plugged into a home church. So are you and your church doing a vbs or other outreach this summer? Here are a few tips for better retention:

A. I suggest having every person register at the door, with name, address and email. 
B. Intentionally block off time with you and your team right after the event (despite your exhaustion) to follow up on each and every visitor.
C. Send out a welcome letter to new families letting them know what you have coming up next and what you have to offer their whole family!
D. Intentionally tie in your outreach event with what you are already doing week to week. For example, you can say, “Come back this weekend to see your favorite puppet, costume character, game, song etc”. People like to know what to expect and to see at least a few familiar things when visiting a church.
E. Craft those weeks right after your outreach to cater to new families and help them “stick”. That is when they ate most likely to visit, so be prepared with extra smiley greeters, lots of coffee and opportunities to jump in.

Remember: Finishing the event itself is not End Zone -so to speak. When you finished your event your team brought the ball really far down the field;  But the game’s not over yet. Now your follow up will either kick you that field goal or fumble. Your follow-up will help new families find their church home to be planted and grow for the long haul. Retention for the win!!