You love your church, its ministries, and the congregation – because you’ve been there for a while, and you know it inside and out. But for first-time guests, a new church can be a bit intimidating.
Your guests are entering a new place with lots of people they’ve never met – maybe even with a service format or ministries they’ve never experienced – all while making an important decision about where to attend church.
It’s up to your ministry teams to make everyone who walks through your doors feel loved and welcomed. We have some ideas to help you do just that. Here are four strategies (PLUS a bonus tip – make sure to read to the end!) that your church can use right now to make new visitors feel right at home:
A first-time visit usually begins days or even weeks before Sunday services, with Google and social media searches for local churches. That means your website will most likely be a potential visitor’s first connection with your church.
It’s important to make a good impression and to provide helpful information guests can use to plan their visit. For a warm virtual welcome, make sure your website offers:
Live streaming is a “new normal” in our post-pandemic world. Many of your first-time guests may decide to take part virtually on a Sunday morning before they visit in person. A fulfilling live stream experience can provide an appealing option to those seeking a new church, so make sure your virtual events are welcoming.
Specifically, your pre-service slides can include a welcoming message to new online guests; details about your website and social media pages; and a QR code viewers can snap to get more details about your church (the code can redirect to a registration form or to the “Plan Your Visit” page mentioned above.). And during the service, when you welcome new visitors in attendance, make sure to also give a shout-out to those watching from home for the first time (and put your QR code and website information on the screen once again, to encourage online visitors to get to know your church).
Someone’s looked up your church, checked out your website, followed you on Facebook, taken in a live stream service, and now they are joining you in person on Sunday morning. This is your chance to make them feel right at home! Here are some ideas:
You’d be amazed at how many churches roll out the red carpet for guests – and then fail to follow up after the service. It’s a huge missed opportunity for ministries everywhere.
Even if someone has a wonderful experience visiting your church, you can’t expect them to automatically come back, or to know exactly how to get more involved. Establish a workflow where all first-time visitors receive follow-up communication – via email, phone, or text based on the information they’ve provided. You can:
When you make first-time visitors feel welcome and eager to return, your church will grow, and your ministries will flourish. Do you feel like you have the resources to make it happen?
Ministry Brands Amplify provides churches with the technology needed to nurture their visitors. For the welcoming strategies that are shared here, we offer:
Start a free trial today and learn how the Ministry Brands team can serve your church!
“What about kids?” – that’s probably one of the first questions you’ll hear from families seeking a new church. In every strategy listed above, parents will want to know how their children will fit into your ministries; and just like adults, kids will want to feel welcome on their first visit.
Make sure that…
So what are you waiting for? Start implementing some of these strategies as soon as you can in your church and start to see more visitors become regulars. You really have nothing to lose.