Probably the most important thing you can do for your guests is follow up with them.
It can also be the most awkward.
It's important to find the balance.
The percentage of 1st time guests returning to your church is small. But it's there! That's why Hospitality Ministries are so key to church growth. Getting them in the doors the first time is a good chunk of the battle, but getting them back is another big chunk. Your people have to ease the guests' burden from "the streets to the seats" (Searcy, Fusion) and then back out again. Then, after they've gone home and started their week, research says they'll share their experience at your church about 8 times.
Your circle of influence is ever widening!
Follow up is so crucial to them returning.
You can do several things:
1) Provide easy ways to get guests' information to be able to contact them: Connection Cards in or attached to the bulletin and have them put it in the offering as it is passed. Make this process as easy, accessible, and as private as possible. If it is public, it may seem threatening and you may miss the opportunity for follow up with guests.
2) The pastor sends an email/ handwritten card (whhaattt?!?!)
3) The Host Team Coordinator sends an email*/handwritten card.
4) Automated but personalized text message. These are becoming more popular but they need to be accompanied by a more personal form of contact at some point in the week!
5) Phone call from any staff member. But, know when to stop. I heard a crazy story today from my neighbors who said they visited a church one time and the church continued to call them two times a week for six months. You could say this freaked them out.
6) Home visit with baked goods - old school and so impactful. My sweet friends had this happen to them recently and they immediately felt wanted, included, accepted, and valued!
7) Comment with other ideas!
* Emails ideas: "5 Reasons You Should Come Back on Sunday!"; "Meet the Pastor", Guest Experience Survey
When you talk to them:
1)Give them ONE CLEAR next step.
(a) meet you at the Connections/Welcome desk and ask for you.
(b) Invite them to come to a class that talks about how to get connected and how to become a member.
2) After, you can also mention other church-wide events coming up (ladies night, men's night, church at the park night, etc).
3) If they came with a friend, follow up with the friend.
4) Invite them to a meet and greet with the pastor after the service and give them a certain room.
5) Ask if you can pray with them over the phone.
6) Comment with other ideas!
Passionate about Jesus and people, I've added this blog to communicate strategy and thoughts about Biblical Hospitality and The Church as a movement, rather than just people in a building once a week. It seems like everyone is blogging these days, (which is awesome!) and I know that there are always better and more insightful thoughts, but God is leading this so I'm just writing in obedience.