Yesterday I had two great conversations with a couple of people about their journey to involvement at the Summit.  It’s conversations like that on a week like this that give clarity and energy to what we’re doing.  You’ve heard by now that we had 399 people identified as First Time Guests at the Summit last Sunday.  399 divided by the staff and deacons who are following up = three or four nights worth of phone calls.  Sometimes I’m asked: “Franks, is this stuff really worth it?  Do these people even care that we’re checking in to see how their experience was?  I don’t really even like calling people.  I don’t like people, period.”

And I always reply, “But J.D., you’re the pastor, you have to like people.”

(Just kidding.  It’s not J.D.  It’s Jason Gaston.)

Anyway, back to the follow up.  Conversation #1 was with a guy who was reminiscing on his very first visit to the Summit over a year ago.  He and his wife lived in Garner, and although they like the church, they were convinced they couldn’t find community in a church that large and that far away.

And then came Monday night, where they received a phone call from one of our pastors checking in to see how their experience was, if they had questions, etc.  Matt said that was the tipping point that convinced them the Summit was the place to be.  They returned, they continued to get plugged in…and we hired him.  He he now serves on staff with our Summit Kids ministry.  Score.

Story #2 happened with a guy who has been around for a few months now.  David told me that he had looked for a church in the RDU area for more than two years, but nothing fit.  In every church, he felt like community and the personal touch was lacking.  Although many of the churches he visited were great churches, he didn’t feel like he ever “cracked the code” to be an insider.

And then came the first visit, where several people (not just the folks with a First Impressions name tag on) came up and said hello.  And the second visit, when some of those same people sought him out, remembered his name, and did what they could to make him feel like family.  David stuck…and now he’s finishing up the Starting Point process and exploring the possibility of serving with Summit Students and our First Impressions Team.  Score, again.

These are two of hundreds of stories that could be told.  Is follow up important?  In the words of Sarah Palin, you betcha.  And although my dialing fingers are beginning to cramp up, I’ll continue to call our first time guests tonight, because although it might be old hat to me, it could mean the difference between staying and leaving for them.