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Run 4 Experiments This Summer to Help Find Changes in the Church This Fall

Departure Insurance

The people who are with you today won’t necessarily be with you in the future. All leaders are temporary to some extent as people move on for one reason or another. If you have the same host in front of your community all the time, it makes these inevitable transitions more difficult. Sharing the stage exposes people to a range of leaders and can help you down the road when you need to move people to a different seat on the bus. Obviously, you don’t want to put leaders who are a high “flight risk” in front of your people, but having co-hosts helps expand the group of leaders people are used to seeing on weekends.
Looking for more help trying this experiment at your church? Download this PDF on co-hosting announcements that includes tips from a team that’s done it!

Changes in the Church – First-time Guest Gifts

An early step in most churches’ processes for helping new guests get connected is to offer them a free gift in exchange for their contact information. The purpose of these gifts is simply to encourage your guests to “raise their hand” and indicate that they are new. Knowing exactly what gift to offer your guests can be a bit of a mystery, and sometimes it seems much more like an art than a science.

When our church switched from one gift to another we saw a 500 percent increase in the number of first-time guests that submitted their contact information! Clearly, it’s important to get this gift right! However, due to the expense of these items you want to make sure you’ve experimented with a few different gifts to see which one garners the best response.

Perceived Value

At the core of this transaction is the perceived value of the gift that guests will receive in exchange for their contact information. What you’re looking for is high perceived value but lower actual cost. Design and presentation are often factors in this equation.


There is a delicate balance in how this item relates to your brand. Real estate agents are notorious for handing out all kinds of swag to people around town. But ask yourself, when was the last time you wore that t-shirt from them? If the items you give to your guests are overly branded to your church, it won’t feel like a gift but an advertisement.


As a rule of thumb, the number of guests who attend your church in a year should be equal to your average weekend attendance. So, if your church averages about 500 people every weekend, then you should be averaging about 10 first-time guests every weekend. This is important because whatever item you end up choosing to give as a gift, you’ll need lots of them over the course of a year. For this reason, testing the response to the gift is important because you’ll most likely end up investing quite a bit in it.

What if this summer you picked two potential first-time guest gifts and then tried one of them for a month and the other one for the second month? Closely track the feedback on the gifts. Which gift received the higher number of total guests picking it up? Also, listen carefully to the guests’ feedback on the gift at the guest kiosk or wherever the gifts are handed out. Record all the comments that are made throughout the month. After just two months of testing, you should have a better idea of what to give to your guests going forward!

3 Common Items Prevailing Churches Use for First-time Guest Gifts

T-Shirts – People love free t-shirts. It almost seems like it’s embedded in our culture! These relatively low-cost items do carry a high perceived value. The design can be done in such a way that it communicates about your church but doesn’t overwhelm the guest.

Coffee Mugs (& Travel Cups) – Coffee continues to be a culturally acceptable addiction. Many churches make up mugs or travel cups featuring their logo and find that these functional gifts are a hit with their guests.

Water Bottles – Staying hydrated is important! Many churches find that elegantly branded water bottles are a practical gift that their guests love! Looking for more help with gifts for first-time guests? Check out: First Time Guest Gifts: 26 Lessons from 33 Churches