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Best Practices for Communicating with Church Newcomers

December 18th 2019

Something no church wants newcomers to feel is anxiety. Churches want people to feel comfortable and welcomed, but unfortunately, that’s not always the case. When a newcomer steps into a new space, they can be filled with worry rather than peace. Add in the fact that as soon as newcomers step into your church they are surrounded by people who already know what to do and where to go, the anxiety can thicken. As a church, you want to work hard to eliminate this feeling. Even though you can’t help every single person’s anxiety who steps in your church’s door, you can make a plan that makes people feel welcomed and safe. 

Here are a few tips to help ensure you are reaching newcomers in the best way possible.

Greet Them By the Door

This may seem like a given in today’s church world, but greeting people at the door can bring a sense of relief to any newcomer. Keep in mind that it’s more than just saying hello. These greeters need to know the layout of the church so they can easily direct people to the places they need to go. Equip them with church maps, bulletins, or the daily agenda of things going on at your church. If you have people in your church who know the majority of your members, ask them to serve as greeters. If they know who the members already are, then they can reach out to those they haven’t seen before. It’s a strategy that works.

Pro Tip

Ensure your greeters stand out from the crowd by wearing a t-shirt that signifies they are part of the church and there to help. Name tags work great, but a common shirt helps people find the help they need even faster.

Use Contact Cards

Contact cards are a great way to ask people for their information. Leave these contact cards in each seat in your congregation as well as in the foyer where people gather. Ask them to fill it out during or after the service and place it in the offering plate or another identified area. The more information you can get from your visitors, the more ways you can follow up with them.

Pro Tip

Give contact cards to the greeters and ensure the greeters are at the door both before and after the service. If they see a visitor leaving, greeters can say a quick thank you and ensure the guest gave their information before leaving. Having someone follow up that quickly after the service can make a big difference and make someone feel noticed and welcomed.

Give Them Something

In the main greeting area at your church, create a welcome center where newcomers can go to to get information about your church. You can create welcome packets that introduce your visitors to your beliefs, events, and staff members. Handing out something personal can help them connect with someone in your church and encourage them to come back the next week.

Pro Tip

Include information that pertains just to the visitor in each welcome packet. Customization is key. The more you can connect them to the ministries that might apply to them in your church, the better.

Follow Up

Following up with those who visit your church is a vital piece to making people feel welcomed. Following up can as simple as sending an email or text to those who visited your church. It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate, just a quick message saying it was nice to have them at your church and hope to see them again. Then, provide the email of someone they can contact if they are interested in learning more about your church or the ministries you provide. Giving them access to someone they can meet with can make a huge impact.

Pro tip

While it can feel daunting to follow up with every visitor at your church, the good news is there are tools that can help. Using your church management software, you can automate some of your follow-up processes. For example, have your system automatically send an email to all first-time guests, and then assign them to minister to reach out for a personal touch. 

Next Steps

Your ChMS doesn’t just make visitor follow-up easy, it has the potential to make so much more of your to-do list easy too. Learn more and even give it a try here.

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