Every so often, it’s helpful to look at your church through the eyes of a visitor. After all, first impressions are powerful when it comes to growing your church family. While 83% of people searching for a new place of worship note the quality of sermons is the most impactful, many other factors are considered. Even if you already pay close attention to first-time visitors, by applying these 4 tips to elevate the relationship, you can make the experience even more enjoyable (and keep them coming back!).
1. Make the first 10 minutes easy on guests
Many new visitors make the decision whether they are coming back based on those first few moments before church service even starts. If parking is difficult, they get lost looking for the children’s church, or they’re unsure where to sit, it can make them uneasy before the sermon begins.
Elevate first-time visitor relationships by making the first 10 minutes easy on visitors every Sunday (not just high attendance services). Have clear signs or volunteers to help people park. Station volunteers and church staff members at doors and welcome booths to guide people to their seats and assist those finding their way around. Take a few moments to make sure your church’s environment is friendly, and there is plenty of signage to guide new guests if ushers and staff are assisting someone else.
2. Keep your website updated
In many cases, first-time visitors look at your website before they ever step foot inside the church. People seeking a new place of worship search for directions, church activities, services times, ways to give, and more online before deciding where to visit. Keep your website updated with photos and accurate information. Also, keep social media up to date and filled with pictures of your church family making a difference in the community.
3. Get everyone involved in welcoming new faces
Making new guests feel welcomed is essential if your goal is to elevate first-time visitor relationships. Every now and then remind members to be on the lookout for new faces and to warmly greet them, even if it’s just with a hello and a smile. Enlist the friendliest members of your church to be unofficial greeters for the few minutes before and after service.
Be sure that leaders are involved in welcoming new visitors as well. Studies show that 79% of people say feeling welcomed by leaders is a top reason they chose to attend the church on a regular basis.
4. Follow up with first-time visitors quickly
Don’t wait to follow up with new guests. New visitor retention rate is highest when you follow up within 2 days. By thanking guests for visiting and inviting them back while the experience is still fresh on their mind, they feel special and appreciated. Have a system in place to collect contact information such as giving kiosks at sign-in stations and contact cards in welcome packets. While it only takes a few moments to reach out, know that the increase in growth and giving can be significant.
easyTithe can help you elevate first-time visitor relationships with quick and secure ways to give online! If you have questions about giving kiosks and online giving features, reach out at 1-888-778-4843 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.