by Diana Davis
When a first-time guest completes a guest registration card at your church, what happens next? The most common answer to that question: absolutely nothing. No, it’s not an intentional oversight, but without an ongoing, immediate follow-up plan, your church may miss the opportunity to reach guests for Christ and include them in your church family.
Need fresh ideas? Tweak some of these to fit your unique church:
- First-Time-Guest Online Survey. People love to give an opinion! Create a brief survey on your church website. (See a sample survey at dianadavis.org)
- Same Day Contact. A specially trained volunteer can make a brief phone call to each guest on the Sunday afternoon they visit your church.
- Email + Snail Mail. Assign volunteers to send a swift, personal email or handwritten card to each first-time guest.
- Small Group Personal Invitation. Provide contact info to an appropriate small group or Sunday School class for each family member. A member of that small group may offer to meet the guest at a specific door to escort them to class.
- A Personal Touch. Examples: An Indiana church delivers three coupons for a free drink in their coffee area, encouraging the guest to return for three consecutive Sundays. In a different church, their volunteers deliver a church coffee mug to the guest’s door before they get home from church. A baking volunteer at First Baptist Garland TX prepares fresh homemade cookies for each first-time guest, then a delivery volunteer simply knocks on their door and gives them delicious cookies and a goodie-bag of church info.
- Pastor’s letter. Many pastors prepare a warm letter or email to welcome first-time guests; some even jot a handwritten note. Pastor Traylor at Olive Baptist, Pensacola, often texts or phones first-time guests on Saturdays, inviting them to come back on Sunday.
Notice that church members—not just ministry staff—accomplish the majority of follow-up. Newcomers want to hear what you love about your church. They desire relationships, and relationships provide evangelistic opportunity.
When God brings a first-time guest to your church this Sunday and they complete a guest registration card, what will happen next?
“The harvest is abundant…pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.” Luke 10:2
© Diana Davis is an author, columnist and minister’s wife. www.dianadavis.org