How to Make a Great First Impression on Your Guests
You’ve launched a successful campaign and you’ve begun to see new faces in your church. That’s when the real work of fellowship begins. At New Song, we encourage our people to welcome newcomers into the church like they would welcome guests into their homes. You want to make your guest feel welcome and not just point them to the auditorium door.
“At New Song, we encourage our people to welcome newcomers into the church like they would welcome guests into their homes.”
Preparing for Visitors
There are six factors that bring people back to your church: friendliness, cleanliness, quality of the worship service, quality of your childcare, finding someone like them, and personable and impressive post-service contact.
- Friendliness: A friendly greeting is one that’s genuine, but not over the top. People want to be welcomed, but not accosted. Another thing that immediately increases a church’s likeability factor is if they offer a free gift to their guests. We offer every guests a copy of the gift edition of The God Questions. For just $2 a piece, they significantly increase the first impression factor for every guest.
- Cleanliness: This one is quite simple! Always keep the bathrooms in top condition and always ensure that the church is tidy and decluttered.
- Quality of Service: The first thing they’ll experience in terms of your formal service is your worship leader. Is he prepared and eager to lead? Does the sermon raise a need and meet it? Relevant sermons and positive personal contact will create return visitors and future members.
- Quality of Childcare: Parents want to know three things about their children: Were they safe? Did they have fun? Is there evidence they learned something?
- Finding Someone Like Them: On their way in, without realizing it, every newcomer is unconsciously asking, “Did I dress okay?” and “Are there people here like me?” Help them by putting pictures of people at church on your website to give them an idea of dress, ages, etc. Put every kind of person at your doors and on your stage.
- Post-service Contact: Remember, it’s really important to have a system and plan for continuing the conversation with your guests once they’ve left the service on Sunday. Let’s take a look at some of our most successful tips for turning visitors into members and followers of Christ.
Turning Visitors into Members
The goal of your direct mail piece is to get people to visit. But once they visit, you want them to keep visiting, until they come to Christ and become members of your church. What will induce them to come back and become part of your church? Here’s what we’ve done:
- Coffee and donuts are available after the service.
- Every guest gets a gift before they leave the church. At New Song, we give them a book that answers major questions people have about God (Is God real? Is the Bible true? Don’t all religions lead to the same place? And if God is so good, how come there is so much suffering in this world?
- Every newcomer should receive a welcome call by Monday night.
- Every newcomer receives an email from the pastor between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Monday.
- Everyone who checks a need-based box on their Connection Card gets a call from someone in that ministry by Tuesday night.
- Every newcomer gets a hand-written note in the mail by Wednesday.
- Enter every newcomer into the church’s database.
- Everyone in the database gets an email on Friday about the weekend service.
- Every second-time guest gets a hand-written note from a volunteer.
- Each newcomer gets a call for our Catch the Vision luncheon, inviting them to attend.
- Finally, every newcomer gets a check-up phone call 30 days after they visit.
Conclusion: Optimizing Your Church Outreach Using Direct Mail
In conclusion, direct mail offers an excellent opportunity to reach out to your community and begin building lasting relationships. Remember, there are many hearts and minds in your community that are open to eternal hope found in the truth of Christ’s love—and you can be a part of helping them find their way.
Get the word out about your church through strategic outreach planning. Always use your regular seasonal events to promote your church through direct mail postcards, doorhangers, personal cards and other ministry tools. This will help your community know you’re out there and ready to serve them. Also, create a positive, welcoming environment that makes your church feel like a place they can attend every Sunday. And never forget the personal touches that show them that they will be valued and cherished as members.
Following these steps will help you develop an effective campaign that leaves a lasting first impression. But, most importantly, you will be helping others experience a new (or renewed) relationship with Christ, which is the greatest gift of all.