A First Time Guest Shows Up…Now What?

A pastoral friend of mine recently polled his Facebook followers and asked, “What would turn you off from visiting a church a second time?” It was a fascinating question.

The common thread throughout the comments surprised me. Many people mentioned, “not knowing what to do next” or “not knowing how to connect.”

Several of those comments continue with startling information that included, “I gave my information to the church, but never heard from them.”

As church leaders we spend a lot of time thinking about how to get people in the door. An equally important question is, “How do we connect with first time guests?”

You know your church and you know the people in your area. There are many ways to connect with them. You can learn from other churches, but your connection process should fit the DNA and culture of your church.

4 Guidelines to Think Through Your Process:

  • Think steps, not programs. What is the first step someone should take to get connected to your church? What’s the second? Walk your entire staff through the first time visitor process and how they should connect to your church. You may discover some holes in the process.
  • People may visit for the preaching, music or children’s programs but they will stick because of relationships. How do you connect new people to others at your church?
  • Does everyone know your connection process? As Chris Sonksen often says, “To be unclear is to be unkind.” If the connection process is not clear to those who are going to your church then it’s incredibly fuzzy for those who are new.
  • There are lots of ways for people to get connected, but what are the most important ways for your church? For the church I lead, we have narrowed it down to Volunteering, Small Groups, and Giving. Volunteering is a great first step because it helps people start to have buy-in. It also helps battle against the consumer mindset.

We love helping church leaders. If you have more questions about connecting people we’d love to help you. Let us know in the comments what questions you have.

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