Easter is one of the most attended Sundays of the year. This is not new information to you. But, how do we make it an awesome experience for everyone walking through the door, including Easter visitors? There are scads of posts and articles out there with advice for capitalizing on the visitor experience, and honestly, there’s some great tips to be gleaned.
But we want to dig into how to be visitor aware. Hopefully, from this point of view, you can make a lasting impact on guests who walk through your Easter Sunday doors.
Easter is a time to celebrate the Resurrection and to welcome new people into the community that takes it identity from the Resurrection.
So, what do we mean by “visitor aware” anyway? We like to think of this as shifting the perspective from one of impressing visitors to one of considering and anticipating their needs. For many of us, it’s probably been awhile since we were church visitors ourselves, so it takes some intentionality to really get in that mindset.
Be aware of not just who your visitors are, but what their needs are.
Consult with your leadership team about the kinds of Easter visitors your church tends to attract. Different visitors will have different needs. Maybe your church gets a lot of families with young children. Or maybe it’s a younger crowd, full of churched and even jaded creatives and young professionals. Maybe your church tends to draw older family members in on Easter? Whatever the demographic mix might be, a visitor-aware leadership team will empathetically put themselves in the visitors’ shoes to make the visitor experience match.
Giving Not Getting
Another stage of the mindset shift requires thinking about what you can give your visitors versus what they will get. A lot of churches provide actual, physical take-away items to their visitors (which is all well and good, who doesn’t love a lily or a coffee mug?) but beyond that, you need to focus on making connection and a lasting impression.
Meaningful impressions happen when we provide a truly welcoming environment to our visitors. When we consider their specific background and expectations, we can more readily prepare to meet their needs and ensure our environments are equipped for that!
So, for your family visitors, you could enrich kids’ ministry with extra volunteers and maybe even an egg hunt or special Easter play. For the millennial masses, you might have greeters skip the small talk and actually engage in some authentic conversation openers while incorporating digital elements into the service. For the visiting and older family members, you could again make sure your talking points are personal and tied to their reasons for being there.
When a meaningful impression is left, you open the door for Easter visitors to become regulars.
Volunteers On Board
The logistics for a meaningful Easter service have to extend beyond yourself and even your leadership team. A team of volunteers will make the Easter visitor experience meaningful and memorable.
With that in mind, it’s clearly crucial to make sure all volunteers are part of the Easter visitor-aware vision. Ideally, your leaders could host ministry-specific training meetings the week before Easter to communicate the message and logistics of being visitor-aware. If you’re crunched for time, an alternative would be to use your church’s preferred communication method, whether it’s a video in an email or through social media or even some phone calls.
Thinking about Easter Sunday from your visitors’ perspectives can help you recognize what expectations are walking through your doors and how to meet them in a positive way. Regardless of what you know they will get when they leave, we encourage you and your volunteers to give a personalized welcoming experience that will show them the heart of your church through the hands of its members.
Join us on Wednesday, March 23 for a live Q&A with Jeff Henderson. Meet other pastors and church leaders who are preparing for Easter and talk about how to make the most of this important day. Register now! (It’s free.)