5 - Follow Up

Plan and Process


People. They’re essential to the success of an online campus because God uses them to spread His gospel. In a previous session, Jason Morris shared some ways to utilize and encourage your online church’s volunteers. This session will focus on how those volunteers can work with a staff team to effectively and efficiently follow up with the hundreds, if not thousands, of people who view your online worship. 

Jay Kranda is Online Campus Pastor at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California. He is also co-host of Social Media Church Podcast and author of Social Media Made Easy: Inexpensive Online Marketing Guide for Non-Profits.



It’s difficult, if not impossible depending on the size of your church, to follow up individually with each person who watches your service, asks you for more information, or submits a prayer request. At the same time, as we learned from both Jan and Jason in previous sessions, each person who worships with you online is significant. God knows them all by name! Your church needs to care for them well. So what’s the solution?

Plan and process. Jay spent this session talking though the specific plan Saddleback has for following up with people on their site and then invited you to consider your own plans and processes.   


Jay said his church’s plan was to have people attend online worship weekly, become a part of Saddleback’s classes and membership processes, and then move into small groups and Christian daily living. What would you say is your church’s plan for online worship at this point?
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Everything the leadership and volunteers do in Saddleback's online church helps funnel people through their process, which is exactly the same as the wider church’s process. Saddleback’s hope is that people will join the church community, not just watch a service online.  

Is your online church plan currently in line with your larger campus? Why or why not? What value do you see in aligning your online campus with your wider church home?
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Processes help make the wider church plan, or vision, happen. Jay offers three ways for church leaders to think so they can create good processes:

  • Think big, therefore scalable.
  • Think smart, leveraging technology.
  • Think empowerment. How can you get other people to help you and excite them for ministry?

Thinking big, therefore scalable, invites you to imagine the growth God can bring to your online campus but also be realistic in how you plan for that growth. Big, scalable leadership utilizes a lot of people to reach a lot of people.  


What do you envision your church’s future to be? About how many people do you think your online services could reach?
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Have you ever thought about how you can intentionally, personally reach each of those people?
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Knowing your church’s mission and what you hope for your online church, what do you need to do to plan for meaningful, relational ministry to such a large group of people?
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You’ve written down names of potential volunteers throughout this course, but there are likely more. Who are some more individuals or groups in your church you can talk to about being a part of your online ministry as it grows? What roles would these people play, especially considering follow up? (Consider various biblical spiritual gifts you think are needed.)
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Thinking smart encourages you to leverage technology in ways that automate your followup process. Jay offered a few resources they’ve used at Saddleback that have helped him send mass emails to new converts, mobilize their prayer team, and let people know the church is glad to meet them online. He said that smart processes are quicker, easier, faster, and more manageable.  

Is your church in need of quicker, easier, faster, and/or more manageable ministry? In what ways?
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What smart followup processes, if any, does your physical church campus currently have? Are there ways your online campus can duplicate these in order to simplify your process?
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Several of the leaders in these sessions have talked about certain buttons on their sites to trigger follow-up. (e.g. membership class, baptism, prayer requests, etc.) What are the different follow-up buttons you’d like to see on your church online site?
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Jay told us the process for various types of follow up at Saddleback: automated emails, videos, weekly email, phone calls, utilizing a prayer team, etc. What might work for your church? (Consider new believers, first time guests, prayer requests, and other needs that come to mind.)
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All of us would love to simplify life and work a bit. But does the idea of making church visitor followup “quicker, easier, faster, and more manageable” make you uncomfortable at all? Why or why not?
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At one point in this session Jay said, “Not everything can be automated.” What things do you think are not meant to be automated when it comes to online church? Why?
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Thinking empowerment means going beyond mere volunteer recruitment. It involves people and allows them to use their spiritual gifts for ministry:

  • Know some people with the gift of administration? Invite them to manage your software that sends out followup emails or tickets. 
  • Have some prayer groups at church? Utilize them in your online prayer ministry. 
  • Who are the Bible gurus? Put them on camera to talk about small groups!

Empowering others to help you expands your online community’s reach and makes things easier and more manageable for the community’s leadership.  


Does your church currently empower people to serve, or are you more concerned with filling volunteer slots?
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Jay reminded us that the goal of online church is not to simply live stream church services—it’s to create a community of believers who care for each other and minister to one another out of Christ’s love. When you are able to create simple strategies that make sense, invite people to help you, and make it easy for people to grow deeper in their relationships with Christ, you’ve been successful. To that end, continue learning, doing research, and pursuing your plan for success!