New visitors are crucial to growing your church. However, the way you welcome new attendees determines how likely they are to become members.
With the right welcome plan, it’s easy to learn more about your new guests and even follow-up with them later on. After all, making an effort to connect is a great way to show visitors you care about them.
The one thing to always remember is to make every new attendee feel special and like a welcome part of the community from their very first visit.
Have A Welcome Team
Every church, no matter how big or small, needs a welcome team. Sometimes new attendees have questions about where to go and if no one’s there to greet them, they might think your church isn’t interested in new members right now.
Ask your church members to volunteer to welcome new attendees at all entrances. They could even wear a badge or vest to identify them. Plus, your welcome team will help with all the other tips on this list.
Collect Visitor Information
This is one of the most important things you should to do welcome new attendees and keep them coming back. This post from Grow A Healthy Church shows just how important a sign-up list actually is to retaining new attendees. The writer posed as a sort of mystery shopper at a new church. Not only was he made to feel like a stranger, but no one took the time to get any contact information. At no one point was he made to feel valuable.
Ensure your welcome team has visitor cards to get the contact details of new attendees. You can also make an announcement during the service to ask any new visitors to provide their details if they’d like. Get a name, phone number, email address and/or an address. The idea is to have information in order to contact them later.
Provide A Welcome Packet
Outside of attending one service, what do visitors actually know about your church? Welcome new attendees with a welcome packet. This could be a pamphlet or just a single sheet of paper with details about services, church website, social media accounts, contact information, volunteer opportunities, church programs and more. It’s something simple, but highly effective in letting new attendees see if your church is right for them.
Encourage Members To Introduce Themselves
Thom S. Rainer addresses reasons why new visitors don’t come back and the top two reasons were:
- Having a stand-up and greet one another time in the worship service.
- Unfriendly church members.
While it’s important to welcome new attendees, it’s uncomfortable to be asked to stand up in front of a large group of people. It’s just as awkward if church members never even acknowledge new visitors.
Instead, encourage members to go up to new attendees and welcome them to the church. They could even ask the visitors if they have any questions. It’s more personable and doesn’t put the visitors in the spotlight.
Follow Up With New Attendees, But Don’t Pressure
It’s important to send a follow-up to welcome new attendees. This is why you want to get their contact details. For instance, send a “thank you for attending” text or an email with details about the church. Encourage them to return or contact you if they have any questions.
While you may want them to become members, remember that it’s possible that your new attendees just aren’t the right fit for your church and vice versa. Only send a few messages during the first month. After that, only send out messages about special events. Always offer a way to opt out of receiving additional emails, texts or snail mail. It’s a way to offer a friendly reminder to come back without pressuring anyone.
Include A Welcome Area On Your Website
Finally, welcome new attendees on your website. Some attendees might sneak out quickly before you’re able to talk them or get any contact information. However, they might look up your church online to learn more. Include a special welcome page for new visitors. This page should also include a form to sign up for emails and contact details for the church.
Eager to start welcoming new attendees and gaining new members? Start with adding a welcome page to your website today.