Easter is right around the corner and for most churches that means their biggest attendance of the year. In the church I serve, it’s not uncommon for our attendance to double on Easter weekend. That means lots of new faces and lots of excitement. It also means you have a great opportunity to see new people get connected to your church.
But it doesn’t happen by accident.
If you really want to see new people come back after Easter, you have to be intentional with everything you do.
Here are a few areas in which you can capitalize.
No matter what size your church is, I believe you can see huge benefits by having volunteers in the parking lot. At the church I serve, we have special parking just for first time guests. This does two things: it makes them feel appreciated, and it also helps us identify those who are new. Our parking volunteers greet them and then walk them to our host tent.
You may call this the guest tent, VIP tent, it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t even have to be a tent. The important thing is you have a specific area for first time guests to go, where you gather their information, answer any questions they may have, and offer to show them around the church. You gain bonus points if you also offer them a gift. Something as simple as a coffee mug or t-shirt goes a long way in making people feel special.
Churches make a huge mistake when they ask guests to stand up or raise their hand. This make them feel uncomfortable, but on the flip side of that, you also don’t want to ignore them. So, make sure you welcome them from the stage. It can be as simple as, “I want to welcome all of our guests today and say thank you for being here. Make sure to stop by the host tent to pick up your free gift before you leave.”
Once guests leave the church property, most churches don’t really think about them anymore. But that shouldn’t be the case for you. You’re going to write each one of these guests a handwritten note thanking them for spending Easter at your church, and reminding them about the series/message you will be beginning the next Sunday.
Hopefully, if you’ve been savvy enough at the host tent, you’re not only going to have their mailing address but also their email. Email addresses are extremely valuable because they are an open door to communication. So, not only are you sending a letter, you’re also sending them an email thanking them again, and letting them know what’s coming up at your church that they may be interested in.
I know not every guest is going to return to my church or yours, but it would be foolish of us not to try everything in our power to make them feel welcome and invite them back.
What would you add to this list? I’d love to hear what’s been working for you. Leave a comment below, and don’t forget to subscribe to the blog to get tips on church growth, leadership, and more delivered to your inbox each week.