Easter is probably still your church’s most attended service. Here are six steps to effectively follow up with Easter guests.
*Acknowledge your guest’s presence. Be sure to take time during the service to publicly acknowledge your guests in the service. Do not point them out personally, but let them know that you appreciate their presence. This will also serve as a reminder to your members that they are to be on the lookout for guests that they can warmly welcome.
*Get your guest’s contact information. Invite everyone to participate. Beyond just acknowledging that guests are with you, make sure you have a clear “call to action” during the service for them to respond to. Have something specific that you ask them to do that doesn’t embarrass them!
The best way to get your guest’s contact information is to make sure you get everyone’s contact information. Communicate to your members how important it is that when you ask folks to complete the welcome card, that everyone completes the welcome card. And if you’re using a prayer/registration card, you should be able to get nearly everyone writing something on the card and placing it in the offering basket. This releaves the guest of the pressure to put money in the offering . Ask them to at the end of the service to come to your Information Center in the lobby where they can receive the gift you said you have for them. Choose your gift wisely. Be sure to give them something that your guests would really like. (don’t be chintzy when it comes to a gift.) When we started putting a logoed t-shirts and/or travel mugs in a gift bag, many more guests stopped to pick one up. The gift bags are also a visual reminder to your members that they need to reach out to those who are holding a bag. You can include in the bag some basic information about your church and a preview of coming attractions.
*Collect, sort, and distribute copies of the welcome cards. This is a critical step for effective and efficient follow-up. Designate someone to sort through the cards prior to the close of the service in order to expedite your first-time visitor follow-up. The first-time visitor cards should be handed over to the follow-up team immediately following worship. The office should keep a copy of the cards so that the pastor can do some follow up as well during the week. On Sunday afternoon have members of your follow up team send a text message to your guest. Make it a quick “Thank you for worshipping with us today, acknowledge any comments or prayer requests they may have put on their card, and then invite them back.
*On Monday send a follow-up email and a handwritten note. (which will take a day or two to be delivered) make sure it is personal by intentionally mentioning something that lets the guest know you were remember them. An example would be sending them a handwritten note that addresses them by name and says something that is unique about them like, “It was great meeting you at the door last Sunday”, or, “I hope your kids enjoyed children’s church)
If a new kid checks into your Children’s program, have your Children’s Director write out a special note or postcard for them. Nothing says welcome to a new family like having their kids honored with a kid friendly note in the mail.
*Give them a reason to come back. Many churches strategically plan special series or events the first few weeks after Easter. Starting a relevant teaching topic for adults or an exciting new series for kids the week following Easter is a good example. Another great way to invite guests back is offering them a gift on their next visit. In my follow up e-mails I would tell newcomers that I had a small gift awaiting them at the Welcome Center that would help them grow. I would buy in bulk paperback booklets on Christian living (usually around $1) and put a sticky note on the front of it with the newcomer’s name on it. In your letter and e-mail, invite your newcomers to the upcoming series as well as a reception geared for them. This gives you something to be talking to them about in all your other communications and provides a great next step for guests. I used to call mine “Pizza with the Pastor”
*Mid week, make a phone call. When speaking to the newcomer thank them for coming, see if they have any questions and invite them to return. It’s OK if you leave a voice mail if they are not available. At the end of the week send another e-mail inviting the newcomer to services that weekend. Be sure to include your message theme and an reminder of your upcoming newcomers gathering.
By making a habit out of these six steps you will create a system of follow up that will let your newcomers know that they are special and that you are eager to have them return after Easter or on any given Sunday.
Here’s a freebie for you: The Easter Worship Visitor Retention Checklist. A free PDF Workbook to help you turn your Easter visitors into returning guests.
And it’s free. No strings attached. [Click Here to Grab Your Copy]
And if you like that content, you’re going to LOVE the new Facebook Group I’m starting after Easter.
I’m creating the Next Level with Bill T-B Facebook Group because I know how important community and connection is. In fact, I want to get even MORE connected with you than I already am. So, after Easter, I’m publicly launching the Next Level with Bill T-B group so you can grab free resources like the one above, hang out and support other church pastors and staff, and pick our brains about all things church growth.
Like I said, I’m not publicly opening the group until after Easter, but if you’re a church pastor or staff member who’s in a hurry to get started with the Next Level with Bill T-B Facbook Group, you can click the link here and get started early. There’s already some Gold Content in there … including the Easter Visitor Retention Checklist and more.