You put in a lot of work to attract new people to your church. You’ve made your church a friendly place for newcomers, and you make an effort to engage with them when they arrive. They enjoy the service, receive their welcome gift, and leave your church smiling. Isn’t your work done? Your efforts to make them feel connected should not end after their first visit. You need a strategy in place to follow up with church visitors.

You may have visitors who don’t yet know Christ or have a church home. The way you connect and follow up with them is a way to make the love of Jesus tangible. Approach visitor follow up with the mindset of “How can I make this person feel loved, valued, and included? How can our church help them?” Here are three strategies to follow up with church visitors to encourage them to return.

 

Make a communication plan

 

It is critical to make timely contact with new visitors in order to properly follow up with them. However, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. The way you follow up with new visitors will differ depending on the size of your church, your budget, and the demographics of your guests. The most essential thing is to remember to contact them!

The contact information you have for each visitor is determined by the information requested by your connect card. Email and phone are the most common methods of communication, but you may also know their home address.

Because of the prevalence of mobile phones, texting is a great option for all visitors. You can even forgo traditional connect cards and instead ask visitors to text a keyword to join your list and follow up sequence. They’ll get an instant reply, and you can reach out personally to set up a time to chat. Email, phone calls, and letters can also be included in your plan.

In your follow-up plan, decide how email, texting, phone calls, and postcards will be used. It’s also important to think through the timing. Here’s an example communication for the first week:

After the service: A short text or email to thank them and give an introduction. 

Mid-week: Provide more detail about the church and offer to pray and answer any questions.

End of the week: Invite the visitor to an upcoming event or next church service.

You may not always get a reply to your outreach efforts, but when a visitor does reply, be sure to follow up quickly to develop a deeper relationship and keep the conversation going.

 

Host a welcome lunch

 

An after-service lunch is a great way to welcome visitors. Pastors and staff members have the opportunity to share the heart of the church, answer any questions they may have about its services or history, and inform visitors of ways to get involved.

If hosting a welcome lunch seems like too much work, don’t worry! You only have to do this once per month – and it doesn’t need to be complicated. Just find an organizing committee member who can take care of coordinating food, decorations, set up/clean up duties as well as other details.

 

Plan regular outreach events

 

Scheduling fun outreach events on a semi-regular basis ensures you have a ready-made way to keep visitors engaged. Extending an invitation to the next upcoming event will also help visitors feel welcome and included. Movie nights, family picnics, volunteer events, and new sermon series are all opportunities to invite visitors to return. 

 

Every new person who walks through our church doors is an opportunity to recognize someone as a valuable member of God’s Kingdom and worthy enough for care. What better place for someone to experience this than church?