Following up Your Secular Readers
This MTI blog series aims to help you and your readers sharpen your skills in communicating faith matters to secular readers – skeptics, seekers, and the spiritually disinterested.

So, you have a vision to communicate Christ to secular readers, some great topic ideas, and plans for outreach articles.  But doesn’t all good outreach require follow-up to answer inquirers’ questions, lead people to faith, and help them grow spiritually?  How does the Christian writer or publisher accomplish this?

Over many years on the lecture circuit, I’ve presented biblical outreach speeches to secular audiences worldwide on university campuses, to executives, diplomats, military leaders, professional athletes, and others.  Attendees desiring to know more can indicate that on a comment card.  Host workers contact inquirers personally.

Personal follow-up is important with outreach articles, too.  Where possible and appropriate, it’s wise to provide interested readers with options for learning more.

The scope and impact of your follow-up plan will hinge on several factors:  Who publishes your article (a Christian or secular publisher), the article theme, and the size of your network of follow-up workers.

Christian publishers with successful follow-up strategies

Some of my Christian publishing partners have sophisticated follow-up systems in place, with technology and workers. Trained staff and volunteers contact inquirers, seek to answer questions, lead readers to faith, encourage people toward spiritual growth, and connect them with a local church.

Some examples:

Half the world is online.

As of today, that’s over three billion people. And they’re turning to the Internet for answers, for some kind of hope. They’re looking for people who understand and can offer love and support. So Digital Strategies helps them know Jesus. They start by telling compelling stories that get right at the need people are experiencing. Then they encourage people to talk to an online mentor.

Digital Strategies equips and mobilizes over 1,000 online mentors to walk with people throughout their spiritual journey toward Jesus, both online and in person, and also partners with churches and ministries to do the same.

Because the world is online, that’s where Digital Strategies is too. They’re helping people know Jesus, one conversation at a time.

P2C’s Issues I Face website engages readers and stimulates interest.  Over the years, P2C has featured various Rusty Wright Communications articles.  I don’t have the resources or personnel to follow up everyone who reads my articles and wants to know more.  It’s great knowing that P2C inquirers are in the capable hands of a solid and well-respected ministry.

“Thank you Jesus for Dying for me . . . Let me become your true friend.”  – Regina, South Sudan

“Thanks for so many wise and beautiful writings.”  – Eli, Norway

“I feel so blessed!”  – Mark, Philippines

These are real people – just like you and me – who needed God and found him through an online article.  Angels have rejoiced as other people around the world have indicated decisions for Christ via these resources, people like Lordita in the Philippines, Tandi in South Africa, Ponco in Indonesia, Jean in the USA, Bimal in Nepal, Godwin in Ghana, Baudouin in France, Carlo in Puerto Rico, BachLam in Vietnam, and others… each name, a person Jesus loves.

We want to do whatever we can to meet interested readers’ needs, connect them with God, and help them grow.

Different closings

I’m very happy that what I write can send inquirers to my partner Christian publishers.  I thank God for their vision and service.   Different publishers prefer different closings.  Some of our outreach articles on Christian websites include a sample prayer to receive Christ and an invitation to request more information.  Some of our Christian publishers prefer not to include a complete Gospel presentation and sample prayer but rather focus on connecting the reader with a mentor for personal online interaction.

For examples, see these two versions of the Dynamic Sex: Unlocking the Secret to Love article on different websites.  One includes a clear Gospel presentation with a prayer; another does not but seeks to “salt” readers and make them thirsty for mentor connection.  Similarly, these two closings for the How to be Successful and Satisfied article: with Gospel and prayer; without.

Christian publishers will want to prayerfully consider their audience, topic, culture, and other variables as they choose a closing approach.

Do follow-up mailings work?

Does follow-up material sent to inquirers work?  Of course, spiritual growth depends on many factors, including the recipient’s desire to know more plus their willingness to read and apply what they receive.

In 1970, as a university student, I attended a peace festival at the University of North Carolina.  The primary emphasis was protesting the Vietnam war.  But Christians had a “Prince of Peace” booth, promoting the ideas that war’s root cause is human self-centeredness, and that Jesus could change people’s hearts, helping provide inner and interpersonal peace.

We had good conversations, but I don’t remember any university students that day placing their faith in God.  On the way back to the parking lot at day’s end, I encountered a 14-year-old boy, shared the Gospel with him, and he trusted Christ as Savior.

I offered to have Campus Crusade for Christ (now Cru) mail him some free material, a series of letters, to help him grow in faith.  He accepted and gave me his address.

Five or six years later, as a traveling speaker, I was presenting at an outreach meeting at North Carolina State University.  An NCSU student approached me with “Hi. Remember me?”  It was the young boy who had trusted Christ with me that 1970 afternoon at UNC.  He told me he had appreciated the growing-in-faith letters.  He now was exploring ways to grow spiritually as a university student.

Yes, God can use follow-up correspondence.

If you are a Christian publisher, you can develop tech, enlist and train volunteers for follow-up.

Limited resources?

What if you lack the resources (funding, technology, trained workers) to faithfully follow up readers of your articles in your publication(s)?  All is not lost.  You can try some of the methods mentioned in the discussion below about publishing in secular publications.

Also, realize that no speaker, writer, publisher or ministry will be able to personally follow up every interested person from outreach events, publications or programs.  Should we stop outreach until we have sufficient follow-up resources?  My bias would be on continuing outreach, as the Holy Spirit can provide the right person at the right time to answer questions.

Remember the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8 who had difficulty understanding Isaiah 53.  At just the right time, the Holy Spirit sent him Philip, who could answer his questions and lead him to Jesus.  Then the Holy Spirit “snatched Philip away.”

Publishing in secular publications

If you are writing an article for a secular publication, rarely will it be appropriate to include a prayer to trust Christ and an offer to sign up for spiritual growth info.  Such content seems foreign to many secular publishers and the way they perceive their work and audience.

But you can include hyperlinks in key words in your article that take interested readers to presentations of Jesus’ message on websites that offer more info if they desire it.

For instance, in this article, I wrote that a man who came to faith “eagerly spread the good news about his life’s new meaning and purpose.”  The link is to a “knowing God personally” presentation on, a Cru website filled with helpful resources and follow-up offers.

Global Media Outreach also has many excellent outreach resources and faith presentations with follow-up connection opportunities.  Your article on a secular website could link to GMO.

For more examples of RWC faith-related stories in secular publications, check here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.  We are grateful that, by God’s grace, some of our publishers have a wide reach:  Washington Examiner website has 15 million monthly unique has “nearly half a billion monthly unique visitors.”

I pray that God guides you as you seek to craft articles for secular readers, place them purposefully, and aid inquirers.

by Rusty Wright. Rusty is an author and lecturer who has spoken on six continents.  He holds Bachelor of Science (psychology) and Master of Theology degrees from Duke and Oxford universities, respectively.

Copyright © 2024 Rusty Wright

Photo by Taylor Smith on Unsplash

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