Easter celebrates the very foundation of Christianity: the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Look past the bunnies and chocolates. The pews at your church might suddenly be packed with unfamiliar faces compelled to connect—or reconnect—with the story of this miraculous act that exemplifies God’s love for mankind.
In 2018, a National Retail Federation study showed that about half of Americans planned to attend church on Easter Sunday. That number was down 10 percent from the previous decade, according to a Gallup poll. It is a church’s duty to connect these Easter guests with the message they are seeking—both through your Easter sermon and celebration. An authentic and welcoming follow-up plan encourages guests to grow more deeply in their faith.
To do this effectively, your church needs an Easter follow-up plan, which might be slightly different than your regular guest follow-up plan. At the heart of this plan should be your mission to share Christ’s love.
Here, we’ve developed a 7-step plan for Easter guest follow-up that your church staff can use to make sure everyone feels welcome to return and engage with your ministry.
#1 -Promote your Easter Celebration(s) Well in Advance and Capture Attendance Information
When we think of guest follow-up, we usually start with what happens once we’ve collected visitor information with a connect card or check-in system (see Step 2). By planning ahead, you can promote your celebrations through advertising, social media, and your website. You can not only attract more visitors but also have them let you know they’re coming.
Consider setting up a landing page on your website specifically for your Easter celebrations. Connect it to your church management software (ChMS) and allow people to let you know they’re coming with a registration form. You can ask if they were recommended by a friend, found your event through a Google search, or a pay-per-click advertising campaign you’re running using Google’s church ad grant. You now have their basic contact information in your church management software and will be able to send follow-up communication. This is extremely helpful if your outdoor sunrise service gets rained out and you want to text everyone to say it’s being moved to the sanctuary.
Additionally, you can list your event on Facebook and run ads so that people in your geographic location are aware of what services you’re offering. They can also click to show they are interested in attending, and Facebook will send them reminders closer to the event date. Social algorithms show people what friends have expressed interest in, so now your posts will likely be in their feeds, as well.
#2 – Welcome Easter Guests Authentically so They Will Want you to Follow up
Yes, you’re eager to make sure you capture contact information when a guest enters your church. And, yes, the sheer number of guests at Easter can make the prospect daunting. Focusing on creating an experience that is inviting but not overwhelming will increase the chances that those who attend will want to fill out connect cards and engage with your congregation.
Ideas to consider:
- On Easter, in addition to your welcome desk, place volunteer greeters inside the doors of your church. They can help visitors with maps of your church campus and answering any questions. If you use a ChMS that allows new guest info entry on a device, encourage those greeters to ask for contact information from those guests who actively engage. Most people aren’t comfortable providing this and you want to avoid making visitors feel uncomfortable. Train your volunteers to recognize when this might be appropriate.
- Station those greeters to be in the same spots as people leave service. Having someone available for questions afterward can go a long way. Thank them for attending and invite them back to another event (print a flyer for your next big event that can be handed out).
- Place connect cards on seats. Most people prefer filling out these cards to providing information to a greeter. Announce how happy you are to have them there and encourage them to fill out a card and leave it in their seat. Give them a good reason to fill out the card: “We’d love to invite you to enjoy our upcoming sermon series.”
#3 – Give Easter Guests Something to Take Home
Depending on your church’s budget, you can consider putting together a new guest welcome kit or giveaway. Bonus points if the physical item also encourages their spiritual growth.
Easter giveaway ideas include:
- Small items with your church’s name and logo on them such as pens, notepads, or refrigerator magnets
- A welcome brochure with service times and information, next steps, and upcoming events
- Flyers on various ministries of the church
- A card that promotes your church’s Spotify playlist
- Children’s coloring pages
- A custom printed tote bag
- A small daily devotional book
#4 – Send Emails to Thank Guests for Coming and Invite Them Back
Send a follow-up email to new guests who attended your Easter services. Set up a special automated workflow in your ChMS to trigger an email for new guests who attend any of your Easter services or events. Customize the email to send the day after they attended. Make it timely and relevant: “It was so nice to have you join us for Easter this year.”
Then, invite them to come back by offering an invitation to a sermon series, linking them to your website’s small group page, or sharing some information about an outreach project. Make sure to include your church website URL and link so they can explore and think through how they might want to get involved.
#5 – Assign Specific Ministry Leaders to Reach out to Easter Guests
If someone fills in your connect card and happily provides more than their name and email address—think age, interests in specific ministries, and physical address—this indicates that they are willing to be contacted about these things. Set up automations in your ChMS to assign tasks for the appropriate ministry leaders to reach out to them.
For instance, your children’s ministry could send invitations for upcoming events to families that attend and provide addresses. Your worship leader could call anyone who shows interest in being in the choir. Your outreach coordinator could send an email announcing the progress of all church outreach projects to those who check that they want to know more.
A high-quality church management software will help you sort people into groups and trigger these types of workflows the moment a new person is added. Use a connect card that allows people to show interest in specific ministries. Then you can use automation as a tool to connect them to those ministries.
#6 – Extend Social Media Invitations to Follow up With Easter Guests
During your Easter events, be sure to invite guests to follow your social media accounts. You can display your social media account information on a screen every week before your sermon, or in the bulletin. Social media allows you to maintain regular contact with people throughout the week, not just on Sunday mornings.
If you live stream your services, be sure to promptly push your live stream to the accounts you are telling people to follow. Plan strong social media posts for after the holiday weekend and be sure to list all upcoming events on your pages. This is a great way to engage with Easter guests who might be reluctant to fill out a connect card. If they follow your church on social media, they will then see announcements for ways they can engage.
#7 – Celebrate and Engage with Easter Guests That Return the Following Week
If your first follow-up efforts work and Easter guests return the week after, don’t consider your job done. Now that your pews are less packed and the schedule is less chaotic, it’s time to show these return visitors how much you value them. Help them engage with your ministry. Maybe you want to plan for some specific ministries to set up outside the sanctuary for the weeks following Easter so people can explore their options and ask questions. Maybe you should host a small group expo that weekend. Maybe your preacher can start a really engaging sermon series to start that week. Maybe you want to have early Vacation Bible School sign-ups available.
Consider these choices and other options that would be ideal for your church. Make sure your volunteers and leaders are trained to express, “It’s so nice to have you back,” and mean it. Afterall, the message of Easter should be celebrated every day of the year.
Hoping to put some of these steps into action? An easy-to-use but powerful church management software can make it all much easier. Save time and effort by using one that empowers you with automated workflows that support real human engagement. Make this Easter’s guest follow-up plan your best ever with ShelbyNext Membership Church Management Software. Check out these Then book a call with us so we can help you find the solution that fits your church’s needs.