Editor’s note: Diana Davis is an author, columnist and minister’s wife. This column appeared in the April 6 Illinois Baptist. Visit Diana’s website at http://www.dianadavis.org.
HEARTLAND | 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’s website. (See a sample survey at dianadavis.org) Carefully study survey responses.
Same-day contact. A specially trained volunteer makes a brief phone call to each guest on Sunday afternoon after they visit your church.
E-mail and/or snail mail. Assign volunteers to send a swift, personal email or 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 the next time they visit.
Coffee, anyone? 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, volunteers deliver a church coffee mug to the guest’s door before they get home from church.
Pastor’s letter. Many pastors prepare a warm letter or e-mail to welcome first-time guests; some even jot a handwritten note. Pastor Ted 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 opportunities.
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).