We get asked about how to turn visitors into returning guests pretty regularly. Over the years, we’ve been gathering some of the best ideas we’ve seen. Recently, I put together a string of some of the best practices from first visit to membership for a pastoral student and thought it might be helpful here.
- Visitor is greeted at the door (we recommend having outside greeters).
- If the guest is recognized as a visitor, the greeters walk with them and introduce them to someone in the lobby (who takes over the hospitality piece).
- Visitors are invited to have coffee/tea/hot cocoa and refreshments (always available) in the lobby. More introductions are made.
- During worship, the Connection Card is introduced and the $5 gift to the food bank for completed first-time visitor cards is emphasized (every week).
- Visitor is introduced to the pastor at the close of service by whomever was last contact.
- IF the visitor filled out the Connection Card, write a Thank You note on Sunday afternoon and use a wax seal on the envelope. The address is emailed to the gift delivery team and they take a branded bag with a branded Honey Pot, flashlight, pen, and info about the church that afternoon.
- On Monday, the visitor’s email address is entered into a MailChimp that triggers a series of five emails that go out over the next three weeks.
- On Monday, the note the pastor wrote goes into the mail.
- On Thursday, a member writes a note to the visitor inviting them to return.
- If the guest returns the following week, a member of the Lunch Team invites them to lunch that week or the following week.
- If they return a third time, they’re invited to the next Getting Acquainted Class with the pastor and staff.
- If they attend the Getting Acquainted Class, they hear the gospel and are given a no-pressure invitation to make some sort of a decision about baptism, membership, enrolling in a Life Group, getting into a discipleship mentoring relationship, or getting involved in some other way.
This process doesn’t always turn visitors into returning guests, but processes like this improve the odds … a lot.
What would you add? Let us know in the Comment Section below.