People seek value… Whether they search for it in relationships, investments, or even in accomplishments, people return when they find value - and for church visitors that means building meaningful relationships.
Here are the 6 steps for churches to create a culture and establish systems that help follow up with visitors and ultimately transform them into engaged members.
Step 1: VIP Treatment
Treat every person who walks through the door like a guest of honor. Visitors want to feel known and be introduced to other people and small group leaders. They want to meet the pastor and know that their kids are well taken care of.
Step 2: Make Visitors Feel like Insiders
Although it is great that your current members spend time catching up with one another on Sunday mornings, it is essential that they also open up their circle to visitors. Guests expect greeters to talk to them at the door but it is important that everyone in church is intentional to engage your visitors.
Step 3: Connect Guests to People with the Same Interests
There is no better way to start off a friendship than bonding over a similar interest. People who think alike or come from a similar background are much more likely to connect on a personal level. If your current members meet a visitor who has just moved to town, come from the military, or has children of the same age, connect them with someone who can easily relate.
Step 4: Establish Your Follow-Up Process
People Flows is a feature from Elvanto that helps you create a step-by-step process to follow up with your visitors. For example, a first step may be to send them a welcoming email or invite them to a meet and greet with the pastors and leadership. The next step may be to call them or invite them to join a small group, and thirdly you may want to grab a coffee with them to see how they’re doing. This process helps you keep track of your visitors while being intentional to engage them and guide them through the membership process.
Step 5: Get their Contact Details
Church Management Software comes real handy when it comes to getting your guests’ contact information. Data collection can be done at kids’ church, in welcome areas or via visitor cards. A check-in system is a fast and reliable way to gather information from newcomers. You can also set up a visitor’s area where people can mingle, learn more about your church, and fill in their contact information. Another way to gather their details is by asking them to fill in visitor cards.
Step 6: Review Guests’ Details
Assign a certain person or team to go over guests’ information. Their role could include overseeing the People Flows Process in Elvanto or just passing the information to the relevant people in charge of the process.
Here are some simple, yet practical ways you can reach out to visitors and involving them in the follow-up process:
Send a handwritten note thanking them for supporting your church vision. Snail mail is rare and handwritten notes will most likely be opened.
Send an email or postcard to welcome them. Make sure that you send these within the next 36 hours after church.
Gifts for guests:
If you’d like to give out gifts to your visitors, make it available for them in the lobby after service. A meaningful book, a journal or a mug with your church label with information helping them feel appreciated and welcomed.
Gifts for kids:
The best way to make an impression is by handing out gifts to the kids. For example you can give them a goodie bag with a small New Testament Bible, snack and a craft.
The best way for visitors to connect and feel involved is by creating opportunities for them to meet other people in the church. Schedule a small meet and greet each month where guests can meet the leadership and members and build meaningful relationships. Use the opportunity to share your church’s vision with them and inviting them to volunteer or serve.
Chris from the Evangelism Coach quoted that:
- Your Church Visitor retention rate is highest when you follow-up with visitors within 48 hours.
- Retention rates of a first time visitor is 34%, 2nd time visitors 51% and 3rd time is 78% in fast growing churches.
So by creating a followup process that is intentional and genuine you can create an atmosphere that welcomes guests and encourage them to become part of a church where family comes first.
In the words of Jesus Himself,“By this everyone will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”