Providing take-aways, or giveaways, for first time guests to your church is a great way to get thought-provoking Gospel materials into the hands of people who are looking for answers to spiritual questions.

I recently visited a church in a different town that inspired me to research this idea of church “swag.” I hadn’t thought much about giving freebies away as a strategy to provoke thought and encourage guests to engage after the service.

The church I was visiting with my family gave away paperback copies of The Case for Faith by Lee Strobel. They had baskets by the exit doors in the back with copies of the paperback. It looked nice, was very simple, and was effective as welcome team members were giving copies out to new faces after the service.

Over at Unseminary, they posted a helpful article, First Time Guest Gifts: 26 Lessons from 33 Churches. I love the photos of the church swag to show concrete examples of what other churches are doing.

Here are 10 nifty ideas for first-time guest giveaways:

1) Free book such as Bible, other Gospel-infused book by well-known and respectable Christian author.

2) Resource created by your church’s pastoral staff such as devotional guide, CD of recent sermon, or original worship CD.

3) Gift card to your on-site coffee shop with invite to text pastor to meet you for a cup of joe.

4) Bible verses on a key chain to keep in the car. Make sure to include church branding and contact info.

5) Establish a VIP guest area that offers a few take-away options along with written information that further explains more about your church’s core values and beliefs.

6) Free coffee or snack at your coffee station or coffee bar.

7) Worship CD mix of current Christian music; include a few songs that your worship team leads with.

8) Swag bag with branded notebook, pen, brochure about church, sermon CD or flash drive.

9) Laminated business card with church name, phone, location, website, social media handles, along with link to free downloadable resource (QR code would work well). Include a Bible verse and make sure card has inspirational feel.

10) Go wild and have custom candy bar wrappers designed to have visitors part with a sweet treat. Include church info, Bible verse, and thank you for visiting.

So there you have ten fun and interesting ways to make first-time guests feel welcome, appreciated, and inspired!

(Article reposted Dec 15)