Guest Follow-up is always a hot topic among church leaders. As local churches, we minister to the members and regular attenders, but we’re also driven to reach more people. We want to see more people impacted by the saving grace of Jesus. We want to see the church grow, and there’s no doubt God wants to see the church to grow.
For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost. – Luke 19:10
The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. – 2 Peter 3:9
God’s desire is that everybody comes to Him, so it’s natural that we as church leaders are excited when new people visit our churches.
Once somebody visits our church and fills out a guest card, it’s our job to have some kind of guest follow-up plan in place. This will look different from one church to another, and that’s fine. But we need to have a clear plan in place.
What’s the purpose of Guest Follow-Up?
There are several purposes actually, but here are a few:
- To let them know you were glad they attended
- To let them know they are welcome there
- To let them know what their Next Steps are when they’re ready to take them
- To let them know you’re praying for them
- To invite them to come back
There’s a lot of information on the internet about what you should do with your guest follow-up plan. But whether you’re just getting started, or if you have a robust plan in place, here are some quick tips that will help your guest follow-up plan be effective.
3 QUICK TIPS FOR EFFECTIVE GUEST FOLLOW-UP
1. Guest Follow-Up should be Systematic
When I say “systematic” I’m talking about being intentional with the exact steps of your guest follow-up plan.
Here’s a great question to answer with your team: “For every first-time guest we have, what steps will we take to follow-up with them?”
The answer should be clear and easy to understand.
Maybe you want to send a text message one day after their first visit. Great!
Literally write it out on a white board with your team until you are satisfied with the plan.
Get their input, and steal their ideas! They won’t mind at all. : )
Extra Tip: Automate when possible As you write out your plan, think about which steps can be automated.
For example, Faith Teams allows you to automatically send text messages and emails to guests. (See more details)
At our church, we use Faith Teams automated follow-ups to send messages to our guests, but we also get notified when somebody replies to one of the automated texts. Then we can jump in and manually start communicating with them. It’s a VERY powerful tool.
Also note that automation doesn’t have to feel like a robot. With the tools available nowadays, automated messaging can be very personalized. The best follow-up doesn’t feel like follow-up. It feels like someone cares.
As your church grows, using a software to automate some of the work will be extremely helpful for you and your team.
2. Guest Follow-Up should be done Quickly
Whatever your plan is, the first step of it should be done quickly.
Every day you wait to connect with a new guests lowers the effectiveness of it. One study reported that you have a 84% greater chance that a guest will return if you follow-up within 36 hours of their visit.
This is why most churches have some kind of follow-up within the first day after the visit.
For example, at my church, we send a text message to every guest on Monday at 2:00 pm.
Whatever your plan looks like, we strongly encourage you to have a connection of some kind within the first day after their visit.
3. Guest Follow-Up should be done Consistently
This is an important point because it helps us to understand the stewardship side of guest follow-up.
God sent somebody to our church, and it’s up to us how we follow-up.
Let me say it like this, “Random follow-up isn’t good stewardship.”
I don’t say that to beat anybody up, but to challenge us all to be Diligent and Consistent.
It’s also encouraging to understand the power of being consistent in this area, because the Bible tells us in Matthew 25 that when we are faithful over a few things, God will trust us with More.
Prepare and follow-up with guests now (even if you only have a few), and God will reward your efforts and preparation.