You’ve heard the saying, “If you build it, they will come.” That’s true when you have the right outreach in place, but it’s not the endgame. Once you have visitors through the door, you need to convince them to make your community their new church home. Here's how to do exactly that...
Provide Plenty of Friendly Faces
Since first-time visitors have never been to your church, they won’t know where to go and what to do. Make sure they feel comfortable by posting volunteers outside the front door to spot newcomers, greet them, and give them a brief tour. That tour should include your fellowship area, information and schedules, your nursery, and restrooms.
Inside your worship space, make sure you’ve got friendly ushers standing by to escort visitors and help them find seats if it’s crowded. Remind your volunteers to be friendly and welcoming, but not smothering. Your guests show up to check you out. Give them space to do so at their own pace. Too much attention can be as harmful as too little in this case.
Show Your Commitment to Caring for Your Youngest Visitors
Parents visiting your church with young children will want to see your facility’s childcare. Make sure the check-in area is easy-to-use, roomy, and staffed adequately. Nurseries should be clean, bright, and stocked with age-appropriate toys and friendly volunteers. Parents will likely be most concerned about the child-to-caregiver ratio in the nursery. If children aren't safe and cared for, parents won’t be comfortable coming to your church.
Encourage Visitors to Linger
People attend church for worship and fellowship. Encourage the latter by setting up a hospitality area stocked with pitchers of ice water, orange juice, and fresh coffee. Provide plenty of seating and a simple assortment of fruit, muffins and donuts if you have the resources to do so.
Make Getting Information Easy
Having a “connection point” kiosk in the lobby makes it easy for visitors to learn more about your church. Remember to provide information on ways for members to get involved, information about upcoming events, and small group opportunities. Station one or two volunteers at the kiosk to answer questions and add to the welcoming vibe.
Continue the Conversation After They Leave
Just as it’s important to make a connection with visitors when they walk through your door, it’s also important to reach out to them after they visit. Post visitor information cards around the church and make an announcement at the beginning of the service to invite guests to fill them out. Then assign volunteers to call or e-mail each visitor to thank them for attending and invite them to return.
You’re new in town and eager to make a difference in your community. Once you have a system in place for getting visitors to your church, the next step is to provide an inviting and welcoming atmosphere and deliver a great worship experience. If you do these things, you’re sure to build a thriving and robust community.