It’s hard to believe, but Easter is just right around the corner.
(Cue Rocky theme music.)
We know that you and your team have been hard at work getting things ready for your Good Friday and Easter services and that you’re reaching out to people in your community. But what do you do with first-time guests after your service?
Related: 8 Tips for Growing Your Church by Reaching and Retaining CHREASTERS This Holiday Season
To encourage your visitors to return for another visit, it’s essential for you to have a plan in place. Some of your visitors may come back on their own even if you never followed up. But most people will be inclined to revisit you and your church by just following up with them to let them know you care.
Getting more people to visit your church isn’t about padding your stats. Leading people to get connected with your church is about giving them the opportunity to hear the gospel, get plugged into Christian community, and grow in their faith in Christ.
Alright, to help you get ready for your guests this Easter, here are the five steps you’ll want to take.
#1. Create a great first impression
If you’ve lived long enough, then you’ve had at least one bad experience at a restaurant, movie theater, or new purchase. How do you usually respond to these situations?
Do you visit the same restaurant over and over again that has terrible service?
Do you continue to purchase the same device that gives you such a headache?
Depending on the circumstance, you may give a service another try or repurchase the same product, but there’s a good chance you won’t, either. The same holds true for people visiting your church.
The first impression your church makes with a new visitor is essential to whether or not they’ll consider revisiting. If you make a bad first impression with guests during Easter, then your follow up efforts may fall on deaf ears.
As you prepare for Easter, don’t overlook creating a great first impression on your visitors.
#2. Show guests the next step
What’s the next step someone visiting your church should take? Naturally, you'll want to invite your guests to attend your church next week. But what’s the one thing a visitor can do to get connected with your church?
For some churches, this is small groups. For other churches, this may be a special event you have planned. For other churches, your focus may be on a new sermon series you’re launching.
Related: How You Can Reach and Retain New People at Your Church
Identify what the next step a visitor should take, and make sure that your church knows the step a guest should consider, too. Informing your church with this information will help everyone—not just your leadership or volunteers—know how to encourage guests to get plugged-in.
#3. Follow up (really) soon
To help your guests feel welcomed and wanted, be sure to have a follow-up plan.
Assuming you collected your guests contact information during their visit, prepare to follow up with him or her as soon as you can after your Easter service. Pastor Rick Warren suggests following up within 48 hours, and others recommend following up after your service with a text message.
Regardless of the approach you take, the main thing to point out is that you follow up with your guests soon.
Lead your visitors to sign up for Tithe.ly, and consider sending them a push notification with our custom Church app after the service as a way of saying “thanks for visiting."
If you don’t have a follow-up plan in place, here’s something you can consider to do at a minimum:
- Send a handwritten note
- Make a phone call
- Send an email
Work with your church’s leadership or volunteer team to not only map out your plan but to invite members of your church to volunteer to follow up with guests. What is more, be sure to space out these touch-points with your guests to make sure that you don’t overwhelm them after Easter.
#4. Invite guests to volunteer
Does your church have opportunities for visitors to volunteer? Getting your first-time guests plugged into volunteering goes a long way in encouraging them to stay around.
Before you get ahead of yourself, we’re not suggesting to place people you may not know in positions of leadership, in areas of service that require him or her to be a member, or in sensitive areas that need more care, such as your children’s area.
But we do suggest for you and your church to identify ways people new can volunteer. For context, this can be a long process, so don’t get distracted from leading people to take the first step you identified above.
#5. Say “thanks”
Don’t forget that preparing for your Easter service and following up afterward takes a lot of time. Many people in your church have volunteered many hours of their time to help you reach people with the gospel of Jesus Christ. So, don’t forget to say “thanks,” and even consider doing something special for volunteers a few weeks after Easter.
How does your church follow up with guests? Share your tips in the comments below.