Follow Up: A Key to Growth

Well this week is our annual VBS at Sugar Creek. It is a highly validated event that brings in over 2,000 children into our ministry space, many of whom are from families whoa are not connecting regularly with our ministry. So by the end of our time we’ll potentially have several hundred new families for follow up.

In business one of the primary goals is to turn new customers into repeat customers. Repeat customers spend about 33% more than the same number of new customers.

For churches our bottom line is different. We shouldn’t be measuring things by how much someone “spends” or “gives” monetarily, but we should be measuring successes in terms of connection and involvement. The metrics are different but the goal is the same: assimilation.

Churches of all kinds see visitors and guests throughout the year. If you haven’t seen any for a while something is clearly wrong. No ministry is sustainable over the long term if there aren’t new guests and visitors, and it is even less sustainable if there is a lack of new people period. When we do see guests and visitors our primary obligation to them in the following week is to follow up and at least extend a welcoming greeting to let them know that our church is unique and might be a good place for them to return and check out.

From week to week one of the key activities a church staff should be involved in is the appropriate follow up with new guests and visitors.

There are some outstanding books and talks out there. Two that I recommend are: Fusion, by Nelson Searcy and Beyond the First Visit by Gary McIntosh. While there are others out there, including some great thoughts on first impressions ministry, these are a helpful way to get started. Some things that I’ve found work well with guests and visitors:

  • A handwritten thank you card with a $5 gas card. 
  • Having a person from a life stage appropriate group contact them and invite them to a group time.
  • Sending them a short 5 question, anonymous survey about their experience.
  • Snail Mailing a letter and short info guide about your church.
  • Phone call (even if voicemail) thanking them and letting them know we’re here to minister to them.

 

For many guests and visitors our facility is new and confusing. Clear signage and helpful welcoming people are going to be key in directing them to a comfortable place of worship. Being careful not to be too forceful while also caring enough to guide them is a great balance for ministry.

Summer is a great time to follow up with new guests and families. We should leverage this time wisely and find a treasure trove of new guests and visitors who can, through a couple easy moves, become engaged members.

How are you doing follow up? What are some successes you’ve had? Where do we all miss connecting with guests and visitors?