Easter weekend will create one of the best opportunities for your church to connect with new visitors and irregular attenders. That's nothing new. My question is this: in the midst of the planning, preparation and prayer, have you given any thought to ways you can reach those in the margins (i.e. not members or regular attenders) after the celebration of Easter is over?
If you haven't, you are missing a huge opportunity to build community and grow your church.
The process of identifying these folks used to be a largely manual effort. Ushers would walk the isles handing out visitor packs and collecting visitor cards. Today, people are more reluctant to give away their information, especially to people they don't know or trust. You have to get creative and develop some new processes if you aren't going to miss the new or occasional faces walking through your doors.
Here are seven things you can do to ensure a few more of those Easter guests return to your church.
- Capture email addresses.
Encourage everyone to visit the mobile version of your website where they can learn more about the church. Create a simple QR Code-based form where people can sign up for a digital copy of the message. Give them a compelling reason or two to give you their email addresses. People don't want more inbox clutter, but this might be your first measurable sign of interest in or need for your church.
- Present opportunities for generosity.
People are much more likely to give when you tell them a story about life change. This Easter, highlight a Kingdom impact your church is making. Thank everyone for the generosity that made the story possible. A check or online gift from an inspired first-time visitor is another indicator that someone may be ready to go to a deeper level of engagement with you.
- Offer an easy path to engagement.
Churches often feel they have to do a total data dump on people so they find something that interests them. Stop! Don't present a massive list of ministry opportunities. Give them two or three ideas for how to take the next step. Simple is always better.
- Perfect the child check-in experience.
This is a great opportunity to provide a positive experience for families who are already stressed about getting to church. Make it easy, quick, and simple. They will be very impressed. And, it's a terrific way to capture contact information!
- Implement a basic connections process.
As I stated in 7 ways effective connections will impact your church, a well-designed connections process can make a huge impact on helping people engage and stick long-term. If you aren't doing this, Easter Sunday is a great time to start.
I know this sounds silly but I serve on the Guest Services Team at my church and I can't tell you how many people tell us how much they appreciate a friendly face greeting them at the doors and in the lobby. Apparently, many churches in Colorado Springs are inhabited by ogres. Seriously, how hard is it to mobilize some warm and cordial volunteers who truly seem to like people?
- Leverage technology.
Your Church Management Software System (ChMS) should easily support almost every strategy listed here. When you see this tool as a critical system to support your processes instead of a digital Rolodex, you will be amazed at the exponential benefits.
Thoughtful processes can help you maximize the encounters you'll have with those not already connected to your church. If they've made the effort to visit or attend your church, it's now your responsibility to acknowledge them and help them take the next step.
What other strategies will you be utilizing this Easter weekend to engage more people and build your church community?