While we can do a lot to care for people when they visit our church, what we do next can prove equally important. So let’s consider how we follow-up with a guest after their visit.
I often reflect on how my wife hosts people in our home. The day after she has hosted a dinner event with new friends, my wife pens a little note to our guests, thanking them for accepting our invitation and reflecting on the wonderful evening we shared. She’ll usually say something that indicates our desire to continue deepening the friendship and the hope that we can “do it again” soon.
That’s not a bad approach for church either.
Why not handwrite a note on Sunday afternoon that extends a hope of continued friendship? Doing so will have it ready to drop in Monday’s mail so the friendly reminder of Sunday morning will arrive early in the week.
Many consultants recommend some sort of guest contact within the first 36 hours after someone has visited. This may mean an email, text, or phone call—whichever makes the most sense in your cultural setting. When you make contact by Monday night, even in the simplest way, you significantly increase the likelihood of a second visit. Some have suggested that later likelihood doubles with such an early contact.
Now, you may have a more elaborate follow-up plan scheduled for a bit later in the week. Perhaps you’re community makes a home visit possible. Some bake cookies or prepare some other type of gift for a quick drop-by. I would suggest that you never go to someone’s home empty-handed. Take them something they’ll enjoy and don’t plan on entering the house unless specifically invited to do so. A sincere “just wanted to stop by and say hi” is usually the best approach.
On the subject of gifts, did you give them something when they visited on Sunday? Many churches have a welcome gift, usually given in exchange for a completed guest card. This can be very effective and fun, especially if you give them something the guest will actually want. Coffee cups may be a bit overdone (I have dozens). Be creative. Try to think of a way to keep your church name in their home for awhile.
So a gift during the visit, a handwritten card from the pastor, an early week contact and a midweek drop by, and you’ve really done a great job of making someone glad they came by. I would recommend that you choose three of these four approaches to implement in your effort to answer that critical question, How will we treat guests when they come through our doors? Whatever you approach you choose, make sure it provides an on-ramp for relationship with people in your church.
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