A few days ago, I ran across this blog post from ChurchMag on tips for bringing your branding full circle to engage first-time visitors to church. There was a lot of great information, and the one thing that stood out most were two statistics about first-time visitors:
Almost 90% of guests will return to visit a second time if someone follows up with them on the same day of that first visit.
While most of us would find the first statistic to be encouraging, I couldn’t help but be a little disappointed in the second. For me this is indicative of the fact that many churches don't do the follow-up thing well. I'm guessing that, as a reader of this blog, you either do this well or desire to. So, what can we learn from these statistics, and how can we improve the return rate of first-time visitors?
1. Leverage the 90% Statistic
If your church is willing to engage and follow up with a first-time visitor that same day, it is almost guaranteed they will come back. If you want to improve this area of your ministry, here are 7 steps your church can take to engage first-time guests and accelerate church growth.
2. Embrace Technology
Another asset many churches can use for effective connections is technology. Many church leaders think that utilizing technology means you’re substituting it for real-life interaction. But technology is not about stripping the humanity out of community. Instead, it is about giving leaders confidence that their process is functional and effective. It offers the chance to regularly measure, manage, and adjust the processes to ensure no one is overlooked due to a breakdown within the connections strategy. Here’s a great case study about three churches that effectively utilized technology to improve connections.
3. Start Engaging the Inconsistent Members
More than likely, your inconsistent members haven’t been attending your church their entire life. This means that at one point in time, they were first-time visitors. We all know that it’s hard work to stay connected with members. Some churches might even question whether or not it’s worth the effort. But you need to bridge the gap between first-time guests and long-term, involved church goers. If you follow these 4 keys to engaging inconsistent church attenders, you’ll begin to see a higher percentage of first-time attendees become consistent attenders—and growing disciples.
My hope is that churches across the country would see more than 10% of their first-time visitors become actively engaged in their churches. It may seem challenging at first, but the statistics show that it’s not as difficult as we make it. The key is to engage first-time guests in a timely manner and develop the systems and processes to connect them to the church community.
What was your initial reaction to those statistics? What is your church doing to move first-time visitors into involved members?