Anticipation? Expectation? A little bit of nausea? A combination of the three? First-time church visitors can experience a wide variety of feelings and emotions as they enter the unknown abyss.
Will they know anyone? Will the things they’ve heard about your church prove true, or will they be surprised by something different?
As church leaders, it is paramount that we develop healthy, organic responses to first-time church visitors within our church family.
Here’s a brilliant thought…
Your church cannot possibly grow unless it has first-time visitors that come back.
So how will you handle them? Will it be an obligation or a delight? Will it be accidental or intentional?
Encouraging First-Time Church Visitors to Return
In your quest for church growth, here are seven simple but attainable ways to make sure those first-time church visitors don’t become one-time church visitors.
1. Remember their names.
I’ll admit it, I stink at this. I will literally ask a visitor for their name, and by the end of the conversation I will have forgotten.
Unless, of course, I’m intentional with my memory. If I walk into the introduction with the goal of remembering their name, it’s much more likely to happen.
Do whatever it takes. Write it down, tap it into your smartphone notes, record a voice memo, etc. If you greeted that guest on their way in, and you say goodbye to them by name on the way out, it speaks volumes. It says, “You’re not a number, you’re a life, and you matter to us.”
2. Give attention to the workflow.
This is such a key point. We’ve got to think through the visitor workflow in our churches. Are we saving our best parking spots for them? What questions will they have upon arrival? What are their needs? How will we interact with them?
Take the time to think it through, plan it and empower your church to live it out.
Determine where the potential snags are in your visitor workflow. Where could they potentially get “stuck”? Then, plan on ironing out those friction points to maintain a smooth journey.