Home Pastors Articles for Pastors First-Time Guest Gifts: 26 Lessons From 33 Churches

First-Time Guest Gifts: 26 Lessons From 33 Churches

First-Time Guest

Recently, I connected with church leaders from 33 churches from across North America and asked them to share with me what they are doing for first-time guest gifts. This continues in a series where I’ve asked other church leaders to help us learn what is happening at their church … earlier I’ve done posts on church bulletins, adding new services and the “other holy days.”

I’m thankful for the leaders who took time out to help us all learn!

6 reasons your church should give first-time guest gifts.

1. Shows guests that you expected them.

Think about the last time you were invited over to a friend’s house … did they get their place ready for you to arrive? Good friends do! We set out a few snacks, have the drinks cooled, light some candles … all signs to our guests that we expected them.

You are inviting guests to come to your church, and a great way to indicate to them that you expected them is to have a gift ready just for them. As a thank you for taking the risk to come and visit you!

2. First impressions count.

When people are new at your church, they notice everything … the grass growing up in the parking lot, the unclear signage, that funky smell in your kids space …

A well-thought-out first-time guest gift creates a great initial experience for your guests. It creates a “moment” that has potential to say a lot about your church. Think through what first impression you want to give to your guests and build your gift around that.

3. Extend the experience beyond the weekend.

Why do people buy t-shirts at a concert when they could probably get the same t-shirt for much less online? Why does every major ride at your favorite theme park exit out through the gift shop?

People are looking for souvenirs from experiences that matter to them. It’s a way for them to take a piece of the experience with them back into their “normal life.” When you give people a gift to take home, it has the potential to help them recall the positive time they had at your church and implicitly invites them to return.

4. Clearer explanation of who you are.

Although when people come to your weekend service they will get a good idea of what is important to you … chances are every weekend doesn’t represent the entire picture.

First-time guest gifts for your guests gives you the opportunity to explain what makes your church tick … you can give them an inside look at what it means to be a part of your community. It’s a perfect opportunity to define the “next step” for them as they are just entering community.

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Rich serves as Operations Pastor at Liquid Church in the Manhattan facing suburbs of New Jersey. He blogs at UnSeminary.com and is a sought after speaker and consultant on multisite, pastoral productivity and communications.