Christmastime is here and hundreds of guests will attend your church. I wrote two posts to help you plan and execute a great Christmas guest experience. Read below:
In this post, I reveal the missing ingredient to a great Christmas guest experience. The missing ingredient is easy-to-do, but often missing from the guest experience equation. What is the missing ingredient? FOLLOWING UP with guests.
I’ve shared tons of conversations on how-to “draw” people back after their Christmas service visit. Relevant sermon series, big event, free resource, etc. Rarely do these ideas work.
The best way to ‘draw’ people back to your church after a Christmas visit is through following up with the guests.
Here are ways to follow up with Christmas guests:
1. Personal Phone Call
This is one of the single most effective ways to ensure your guests return for another visit. A simple phone call says the pastor of this church genuinely cares. And that matters, a lot, to your guests because this pastor might someday be their pastor.
If the senior pastor is not available, then a gender specific or stage-of-life pastor from your staff should place this call. If they have lots of kids, perhaps the children’s pastor could call. If it’s a single mom, then the women’s pastor would be a good choice. But a personal call is your first and best follow up method.
2. Sincere Thank You Card
Nothing says “Come Again” like a sincere thank you. A handwritten thank you card is a genuine and unexpected way to say thank you to your first time guests. The thank you card is now a special way of communicating as all other communications are technology driven. This personal investment says you care they visited, and, more importantly, that they visit again.
3. Face-to-Face Meeting
Imagine that your guest is a family, brand new to the area, and someone from your men’s ministry calls and says, “Hey, I’d love to grab coffee with you this week.” During the meeting, spend time learning about the guest and providing information about your church and ways to get involved. Think that family will visit a second time? You can count on it.
4. Door Deliveries
While this method might seem outdated, you’d be surprised at how far a great door delivery will go. There’s a church near us that delivers quality chips and salsa to their first time guests. Nothing says, “Welcome to our church” like a well thought out gift. They keep their door visit short. It’s not a witnessing opportunity. It’s a welcoming one. And it works.
5. Welcome Video
Use the email address identified on the guest information card and send a welcome video the day of the visit. By sending the email with video the day of the visit, the guest will be surprised and valued. Personalize the text of the email and provide an easy way for them to contact your church. The email and video should include why the church exists, the impact your church is making in the lives of people and how the guest can get involved.
6. Social Media Messages
Be sure to ask for Twitter and Facebook user names on your guest information card, and then “follow” or “friend” them. This is an easy way to keep your guests informed in a casual and friendly way. Be intentional and express your gratitude for visiting your church via Facebook and Twitter.
Following up with Christmas guests is crucial. Once they leave your services, they are moving on to Christmas parties, presents and food! Beyond the Christmas holiday, they return to busy school and work schedules.
A personal follow up gesture will go a long way in increasing the ‘odds’ of people returning to your church.