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4 Ways to Inspire Church Visitors To Keep Coming Back

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A positive first-time guest experience should be a primary goal that your church strives to achieve.

Most of us have visited a new church for the first time. It’s a unique experience and one that many churches struggle to perfect.  Thinking through each step that affects a newcomer can be tricky, especially if you have been part of the church for years and know everything there is to know.

However, the fact is that if churches don’t pinpoint crucial steps in the first-time guest experience, it’s likely that they won’t see those faces come through the entrance doors again. Guests want to find a home at your church and when your church is prepared for guests, new people will notice. 

There are some key tips that you can follow to help put your best foot forward when it comes to inspiring church visitors to keep coming back. 

FIRST-TIME GUESTS ARE HERE, WHAT NOW?

You’ve managed to pique the interest of potential guests and now they are in your foyer on Sunday morning. 

Don’t relax now, you haven’t achieved your goal of increasing your membership yet.

We have a list of 4 ways you can inspire these visitors to keep coming back to your church and eventually see their names on your membership list.

4 Ways to Inspire First-Time Guests To Keep Coming Back to Church

1. Provide helpful signs

New people at church need to know that they are wanted and one way you can do this is by making it easy for them to navigate your building. They’ve already taken a big step when they decided to visit your church full of strangers (to them), so don’t force them to find someone unfamiliar and have to ask “where are the restrooms?”

You’ll solve this issue by posting clear and helpful signage throughout your building. Make sure you provide signs for:

  • Welcome table/visitor info
  • Children’s wing and “cry” room
  • Restrooms
  • Coffee Bar and/or socializing area
  • Worship center 

You may think your building is easy to navigate but it’s better to be safe than to make a newcomer feel lost or awkward.

Fact: if churches don’t pinpoint crucial steps in the first-time guest experience, it's likely they won’t see those faces come through their doors again. Are you maximizing opportunities to connect with visitors? Click To Tweet

2. Connection cards

You’ll show guests that you want to see them again if you use connection cards.  These are short forms that ask guests for their names, contact numbers, email addresses, and other information that is important for making a personal connection with them later.  

Never neglect to follow up on every person who fills out a connection card. The very next week after someone fills out their information, one of your team members should be lined up to connect with guests and offer them the opportunity to ask questions about your church over a coffee or a phone call. 

PRO TIP: 

Remember to ask each guest what their preferred form of communication is on your connection card. Not everyone enjoys chatting with strangers on a phone call.

The best next step: Follow Up With Visitors in 6 Effective Steps

3. Visitor gifts

There are few people on this planet who don’t appreciate others being thoughtful. Offering gifts to your first-time guests can show that your church members have already thought about visitors and their experience.  

The key here is to make sure that the gifts you offer are actually gifts. Avoid giving items that will stay in the car and eventually be thrown away during their next car wash.

Some good ideas for church newcomer gifts are:

  • Book – The options are endless but make sure it’s relevant and accessible. You could also have some children’s books available for families.
  • Gift card – Most people are a little hungry and thirsty after a Sunday service. A gift card for a nearby restaurant would really show that you care. Alternatively, the gift card could be for your church’s book shop or cafe. 
  • Local item – A small gift from a local business will show that you are invested in supporting your community and that you’re aware of what is available in your town or city. You could have a few options on the table that cater to a variety of preferences.
If your church uses connection cards for visitors, make sure to ask what their preferred form of communication is. Not everyone enjoys chatting with strangers on a phone call. Click To Tweet
A positive first-time guest experience at your church will see people coming back for more fellowship and worship.

4. Personal connection

This is the most important part of a first-time guest experience and your church must continuously work on this: personal connection.

Help your members find the confidence to invite newcomers to go to lunch, grab a coffee, or swap phone numbers. These personal connections should ideally be scheduled that very week, following the Sunday service they have attended. As time passes, the idea of personal connection can wane and never end up happening. 

If a guest gets to know one person at church, it will make it easier for them to join small groups and attend other events, just because they’ll be able to eye out a familiar face in the crowd and know that there is a person for them to stand or sit next to.

A good point of contact would be the table where you offer gifts for your visitors. After they’ve collected their gift, a church member could introduce themselves and strike up a conversation.

Empower more people: 6 Stages of the Discipleship Journey: Digital and In-Person

INVESTMENT OVER EASE

Of course, it would be easier to neglect this part of ministry and just hope that people like how easy it is to find parking at your church. However, the fact is that people are wanting to feel comfortable and accepted by your church family. And if your church doesn’t intentionally work and plan for this, it won’t always happen. 

If you need more guidance on strategizing how to provide a positive first-time guest experience, we have you covered.

Learn more about getting church visitors to keep coming back when you download The Complete Guide to Getting (and Keeping) Church Visitors

CTT Staff
CTT Staffhttps://churchtechtoday.com
ChurchTechToday is the #1 church technology website for pastors, communicators, and leaders. With the goal to provide insight into a variety of topics including social media, websites, worship, media, mobile, and software, ChurchTechToday aims to shed light on how church technology can empower and position churches for impact and growth.

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