1. Visitors are the life-blood of your church’s growth. A top-down approach to getting and retaining visitors to your church is necessary for growth. The treatment of visitors begins and ends with you, the pastor. Your attitude towards visitors will be felt and emulated by your staff and membership.
2. Focus on visitor retention and new visitors will naturally follow, as your ‘newly retained’ visitors will tell their un-churched friends about your church and its treatment of visitors and new members.
3. Develop a specific plan for greeting, welcoming and incorporation of newcomers.
4. Make following up with visitors a priority. Either block a specific time each week to make contact with last week’s visitors, or delegate this task to another staff member. Put the new person on your e-mail newsletter list. Add them to your mailing list. Growing congregations are those that let people know the congregation cares enough to contact them. The process of turning first-time visitors into active and continuing participants, and hopefully, new members is known as “assimilation”.
5. Consider assigning a sponsor to each visitor. The sponsor can answer questions, make introductions and perform other assimilation tasks.
6. Visit visitors at their home. Have a coffee mug or double-walled plastic mug made. Add the name of your church and, at least, a phone number. On Sunday afternoon or Monday evening, have a layperson deliver the nicely wrapped cup to the home of each local visitor. The purpose of the quick visit is just to leave a gift and express the appreciation of the church for their attendance, and extend an invitation to come again.
7. Decide if yours is a church for the community, or a church for your members.
8. Consider changing your service dates and/or times to attract the people you are trying to reach. For example, do people in your area head to the beach or other vacation spots on weekends? If so, why not try a Thursday night service so they can worship each week?
9. Decide if you want to cultivate an atmosphere that reflects the tone of the “mother church” or the community you’re trying to reach.
10. Do regular, consistent local advertising for service times and directions (newspaper, yellow pages).
11. Use newspaper/radio/TV in advance of special events.
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