It may be hard to believe, but studies say first-time guests to your church make up their minds whether they’re coming back or not in the first ten minutes of their visit.

Pause and consider that for a moment.

Before they hear the first note of music, before they hear the first word of a sermon, before anyone stands up and says “welcome” in the service, most first-time guests have already made a conscious or subconscious decision about whether they’re coming back.

The keys to helping your first time visitors feel welcomed and returning are simpler than you think. Several things to consider are:

  • Your Parking Lot – Is it easy to find parking?
  • The Cleanliness of Your Facility – Clean bathrooms, nurseries etc...
  • Signage inside Your Facility – Can new folks find the kids areas, bathrooms, information center?
  • Friendly and Helpful Greeters – Not over-friendly, yet available to answer questions
  • Simple Kids Check-In – Safety is very important, but not a long complicated process!

Follow Up is Also Important to Help First Time Visitors to Return

There are many great follow-up strategies; choose one that works well for your church and your attendees. My advice is to get a team together with a heart for follow up and go with the one that fits your church. From there, consistency is key!

Here are some points to consider when it comes to following up:

  • Act – Churches that are effective will follow up within 48 hours. The more time that passes between your guest’s visit and the follow-up, the less meaningful the connection becomes.
  • Engage – One of the best things you and your team can do is to meet visitors in person. Encourage your attenders to introduce their guests to your staff or key volunteers. Consider having a dedicated place or time to connect with your attenders—new and regular. You should have a simple “connection card” for new and regular attenders can be easily and quickly filled out. That way you will have a means to reach out to them later.
  • Learn – The simplest way to make a great impression and show someone how much you value them is to learn and use their name. It can be hard to remember names, especially if that’s a skill that doesn’t come naturally to you. Consider having a place in your phone where you can record their name and a few details about them.

Chances are you’ve spent time and money to attract new people to your church. Don’t let visitors slip through the cracks!

Next week we will talk about connecting and following up with visitors that view your live streaming.

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