When God sends guests to your church, you must see them as a gift from God and treat them as such. Your reaction to them and response to their visit largely determine whether or not they will be your guest again. Be sure to call them “guests” and not “visitor.” A visitor is usually someone who comes one time, but a guest is someone who enjoys their time with you and comes often. Thus your task is to have a plan of action (a protocol) to assimilate them into your church. We consider a guest assimilated when they are connected to an adult Sunday school class.
I would like to share eight ideas that we have found useful when assimilating guests:
1. Every Guest Should Be Surrounded with Friendly People Welcoming Them to Church
Teach your people what to do during a greeting time, and how to address a guest. They can politely ask questions, but do not drill a guest for information. Kind words are always well received: “Hello, my name is ____________. We are so honored to have you as our guest today.” “Welcome to our church, my name is ____________. What are your names? Wonderful! Bill and Barbara, we are so glad to have you as our guests today. Thank you for being with us today.” Small talk is always appropriate as long as it is kept brief.
2. Every Guest Should Have at Least One or Two Staff Members Write down Their Names on a 3x5 Card
Guests only become friends if you learn their names. The most important step in assimilating a guest into your membership is to learn and use their names.
3. Your Church Should Send Every Guest a Letter on Monday Morning
It is good to send them an email as well.
4. Every Guest Should Be Called on Tuesday
Have someone from your church make a friendly call and ask a few simple questions to discern if the guest is a prospect.
5. Every Guest Should Be Sent a Handwritten Note by the
Pastor with a Gift
Usually a Starbucks gift card will be readily received. Have some half page stationary printed just for these handwritten letters. You will have to schedule an hour or so to write these letters by hand.
6. Every Prospective Guest Should Be Visited By a Staff Member
One staff member should be responsible for scheduling and spreading the visits out among the pastoral staff. Otherwise, the pastor should make a visit.
7. Every Prospective Guest Should Be Visited in Their Home on Saturday
Bring a plate of homemade cookies or a restaurant pie to their home. This would be a great ministry for members who have been trained how to make these visits.
8. Every Second Time Guest Should Be Sent a Second Handwritten Note by the Pastor
This note should include a second gift card, a membership booklet, and a church pen or other gift.