Follow-up is a big deal.
Whether someone is a new guest, new giver, or new Christian, you need to do something on the back end that affirms their step and connects them more closely with your church.
WAY #1: EMAIL
This may sound overly-simplistic, but it’s a huge deal for hundreds of reasons…
Have people fill out a card.
When people fill out a card, they’re telling you three things…
- They made some type of decision.
- They’re okay with you contacting them. (Everybody understands this when they give you their email address.)
- The best email address to use in communicating with them.
Having updated email information from people is vital for things like…
- Last-minute announcements (church is snowed out Sunday!)
- Congregation tragedies or urgent prayer requests.
- Special offerings to which people can give digitally.
- Big campaigns or events.
- Unexpected changes (like staff change, alterations in pre-school check-in policies, etc.)
- Promoting upcoming series or programs.
This list could go on for days.
Bottom line: updated email addresses allow you to keep your congregation connected to what’s happening at your church.
You don’t want to exhaust people and turn your emails into white noise. But you certainly want to be able to get their attention when you need to.
After all, people don’t think about your church a tenth as much as you do throughout the week. And they certainly don’t show up at church as consistently as you do.
➔ But let’s not turn inconsistent into disconnected!
So when it comes to first time-guests, make sure they have an opportunity to fill out information cards and drop them in the offering plate. At a bare minimum, have them available at your information table.
They could be as simple as a card like this…
Also, if someone visits the information table, the volunteer who works that station should look (if possible) for an opportunity to get their email address.
Here’s a sample response email you can send that week…
Thank you for visiting our church family this week! I know it isn’t always easy to step into a new place, but I want you to know that we will do everything we can to ensure that this is a great experience for you.
I think you’ll love the connections you can make with people here. It truly is a community of people who are committed to each other!
**(Note: if they filled out a card pertaining to a particular program or initiative). Also, thank you for taking a step and expressing interest in ________. You’ll hear back very soon from ___________, who knows all about that area. They’re looking forward to connecting with you.
If you have any additional questions at all, feel free to email me at this address. We look forward to seeing you again soon.
Thanks again for visiting us!
WAY #2: HANDWRITTEN CARD
When it comes to any step a person takes at your church…
- Joining a small group or Sunday School class
You have to say thank you! (And yes, this list could go on for days as well.)
If you do all the hard work of getting people to take a next step, but you neglect saying thank you, the step is still lacking.
I can’t overemphasize how important this is: FEELING GRATEFUL IS DIFFERENT FROM ACTUALLY SAYING “THANK YOU.”
You need to say it! Thank anyone who is moving forward at your church.
Handwritten cards go a long way. It’s rare these days, which makes people notice it. They appreciate the time and effort it took to get a card, stamp, and envelope. And they recognize how infrequently they actually sit down and write things out.
Here’s an example of a thank-you card you could write to people who have signed up for automated, recurring donations through your online tithing platform on your website…
Thank You Card
Thank you so much for taking your generosity to the next level by moving to automated online giving. Your commitment to giving is going to help us reach more people. We’re so excited to see how this sparks growth in and around our church, and we recognize that it wouldn’t be possible without you. So THANK YOU!
You could modify this to any step people took at your church. Think about it…
- People in your congregation took hard-earned dollars out of their bank accounts and agreed to donate to your church.
- Or they took their precious Sundays, and instead of sleeping in or playing golf, they came to your church.
- Or they took the courageous step of putting their trust and belief in the person of Jesus Christ and what He did for them through His death and resurrection.
YES, GOD INSTRUCTS PEOPLE TO DO ALL OF THIS. BUT THAT SHOULDN’T MAKE THE CELEBRATION ANY LESS WHEN THEY DO!
WAY #3: HUDDLE
Right after church is a great time to set up a consistent gathering for new guests. It doesn’t have to be only for people who are there for the first time. But let people know that this meeting is for people who have questions about the church, want to get connected, or want to know some of the next steps your church offers.
Whether you call this a First-Timers Class, a Meet & Greet, or a Next Steps Meeting, it has five purposes…
- Make a relational connection with people who visited your church.
- If you have the budget, give them a gift (even if you don’t have budget for gifts, consider writing them a personal note).
- Answer any questions they have.
- Help people take a next step and get connected and involved in your church.
- Learn what you’re doing right and wrong as a church when it comes to creating a great guest experience.
Here’s a sample script, which also walks through the flow of the meeting (it doesn’t need to last long at all)…
Hey everyone, my name is Steve. I’ve been a part of this church family for ____ years. Thank you so much for coming here today. I recognize that you take a chance anytime you try out a new church. However you got here, I’m glad you made it! I hope it was a great experience for you and your family. If not, we’d love to know what we can do to make it better for first-time guests like you.
Also, thank you for taking time to come to this quick little gathering. I want to be respectful of your time, so I won’t keep you here long. The main point of this is just to connect with you guys and see if you have any questions. We don’t put people on the spot or pressure them. We simply want to know you to the extent that you want to be known.
So if you have any questions, I’ll do my best to answer them. After that, I’d love to meet you. But again, no pressure.
Anyone have questions or comments?
(Allow time for people to share and ask questions).
Again, thanks for showing up today. I know you’re all busy. I appreciate you doing the hard work of getting your family to church. If there’s anything we can do for you, please let us know. And hopefully we’ll see you guys next week!
You can also use this format to create a huddle for people who put their trust in Christ for the first time. Or for people who have questions about giving at your church.
Think about people you know…
- People who coach your kids’ teams
- Neighborhood friends
- People who share the same hobbies at you
At some point, you moved beyond the acquaintance stage. This involved getting phone numbers, texting, deeper face-to-face conversations, invitations to events, etc.
The church is a family. It’s a body of believers. It’s a gathering of people around one unified idea. The process of following up is really the same process of going deeper in a relationship. It just happens one small step at a time.
- Do you have a process for getting contact information?
- Do you have a process for knowing if someone made a commitment (or wants to make a commitment)?
- Do you have a process for following up?
This is more than a one-man job. You need help if you want to follow up effectively!
★★ Get the tools in your pocket to connect with people quickly! It’s one of the most important things you can do to foster long-term engagement!
Check out NEXT! When people visit your church, make a donation for the first time, or decide to follow Jesus, this resource will give you practical help on how to follow up!
YOU’LL WALK AWAY FROM THIS PRODUCT WITH OVER 14 RESOURCES THAT HELP YOU ENGAGE PEOPLE AS YOU WALK THEM TOWARDS THEIR NEXT STEP IN YOUR CHURCH BODY.
TAKE A LOOK HERE
This resource includes…
- A 14-page eBook in PDF format
- Written follow up processes
- MP3 of new Christian CD
- Second time giver letter
- Pre/post service playlist philosophy
- Official guide to the welcome
- Now What – a 4-page document for new Christians
- New Christian letter and email
- Guest services training manual
- Six month guest letter
- Four week guest letter
- Baptism letter
- Baptism checklist
- Sample connection cards