3 Ways to Move 1st-Time Guests to Regular Attenders
Another Easter is over and gone, and if you’re like most churches, you saw a surge in guests.
But the real challenge is bringing those guests back, especially since many only go to church on the big 2: Easter and Christmas.
At the church I serve at we’re determined to make families at least think twice before they leave their ritual church visit in the rearview mirror because we believe they have a much better chance of having a meaningful experience with God and beginning a real relationship with Him in the local church.
Here’s 3 things we started doing to create an experience that brings back guests.
We’re still developing it, but beyond the things we do, my biggest desire is that it will help you think about the experience first-time guests have in your church’s Kid’s Ministry.
Be friendly to guests in a blatantly outsider-focused kind of way
You would probably say your church is friendly.
If it wasn’t, you would do something about it.
But if you look closely, you may find that the true “I care about you” friendliness is mostly extended to insiders, while guests are given courtesy, a smile and a cursory “how ya doing.”
And there’s a reason for that: church members have relationships over time and they know each other better, so it’s more natural.
But that same insider friendliness needs to be extended to first-time guests as well, and it takes intentionality.
When a guest arrives, make sure they don’t get 2 steps into the kid’s area (or check-in area) before they’re greeted by someone with a relational personality who asks their names, how they’re doing, answers questions they have and stays with them through the registration process right to walking the parents to the adult service.
It shows that you care about them, the outsider, and not only the insiders.
Let guests know you’re all about giving not taking
For a lot of guests, especially if they’re unchurched or de-churched, it’s a scary experience coming into a religious building like church.
And they may be wondering how many times you’re gonna ask for their money.
But you can reverse those expectations and make a big impact with a small investment into families.
At the church where I serve we give families a card thanking them for all they do as parents with a Redbox code for a free rental.
Then we give new kids a pin that says VIP, which also let’s all our volunteers know to give them an extra special welcome.
It costs about $1.50/family, but it makes a huge impact.
Add value to guests
And once you start giving, don’t stop.
Guests are there because they’re searching for something: they don’t know how to help their kids follow God, they feel inadequate as parents, they’re looking for relationships and community.
Whatever it is, make sure you have things in place to let them know you can be a partner with them in different ways.
It all begins with creating a great, fun, spiritually meaningful experience for their kids, but it needs to go much further.
To partner with families in helping their kids follow God, give them something like a weekly devotional that goes with the lesson (Here’s an example: https://cldup.com/kJjYiRBGMp.pdf).
To help families who feel inadequate as parents, give them something like a weekly parenting article (Here’s an example: http://us2.campaign-archive1.com/?u=9fb648e88891fb93480ab9e52&id=7d68f89834)
To help families looking for relationships and community, make sure you have volunteers who are super relational in the check-in area before and after service during check-in/out.
This is what we do to connect with first-time guests and bring them back.
What are some things you do to bring back guests at your church?
Please leave a comment, seriously!
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