“But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you”
The Nehemiah Center runs a variety of programs and workshops. One of the first ministry opportunities I was exposed to was the Good Sense personal finance course taught to pastors and ministry leaders. The class required a commitment of 3 consecutive Wednesday mornings to learn the content and converse. Program participants engaged in what had been expected and expressed gratitude for all they had been taught. At the closing of each course, there is a brief graduation of sorts and the participants go their separate ways. The teacher always expresses an open invitation though, to return on established dates for optional follow up mentoring and check ins. To my surprise, almost every participant returned again and again and appreciated the accountability it offered.
This model for our programs does beg the question though, if the Nehemiah Center pours time, money, and resources into offering follow up doesn’t that limit the number of programs they can offer? The simple answer to that would be yes, but the reason and value to why the Nehemiah Center has committed to follow up for each event is a bit more complex.
The first reason is that a class such as the Good Sense program only expects 3 days of in person participation. While some pastors involve themselves in many different programs offered by the Nehemiah Center, not all do and some are completely new faces on day 1. That means by day 3, the new faces have become familiar but not yet an established relationship. By offering the option for more personal mentorship and class check-ins, it allows the participant to stay in touch and stay accountable with what they have learned. This relational focus also allows the Nehemiah Center to place more attention on each participant and adopt a quality over quantity approach to their programs.
The second reason that follow up is valuable in programs is the way it empowers participants. If each person took the course and then was left to completely shift their personal finance habits on their own it might feel overwhelming and be wildly unsuccessful. However, as they walk through the process knowing there will be check-ins, it allows them to gain confidence and be able to articulate their own growth throughout the process. This also inspires those whose lives have been changed to share their experience with others. The Good Sense program even has a further follow up opportunity to engage in a facilitators training module so that they can be certified to teach the course to other ministry leaders or congregation members. By empowering facilitators, the follow up model also proves that quantity is still possible (even with a quality focus) as each participant that becomes a facilitator can then bring 10 to 20 more participants in.
Just as I saw with the openness to check in dates, I witnessed almost every participant of the first Good Sense class sign up to join a facilitator class list. I also had the opportunity to experience it myself as I saw the pastor of my local Nicaraguan church become a facilitator and decide to share his knowledge with us as his congregation. I was blessed with a front row seat to see the expansion of our program and the growth of the Kingdom transformation this class had on the people of Nicaragua.
I believe the third and most important reason the Nehemiah Center chooses to invest in the follow up for each of our programs is the theological significance it holds. Our faith is not a one time decision that makes the rest of our life easy. Rather, our faith is a continual process of walking with the Lord. Jesus himself knew that we would need some guidance, check ins, and prompting along the way and graciously gave us the Holy Spirit to journey with us. In many ways, the Nehemiah Center’s commitment to follow up and develop relationships is a reflection of the Spirit’s work in each of us daily. We believe that the Lord calls us to journey together towards Him and offer encouragement and accountability along the way.