I am currently reading a book by Nelson Searcy called FUSION. It is all about what is involved in getting visitors to your church to move beyond just visiting to becoming eventually fully devoted followers of Christ, which is our ultimate hope and desire.
I have attended workshops and seminars on the subject for years and years. I have read countless articles and books that address what to do and what not to do when it comes to connecting with guests that visit church for the first time.
This book has reminded me of something I have heard numerous times before but is so easy to forget or let slip and that is this, “Everything affects first time guests—Everything.” Did you get the message? Everything affects guests when they visit the church-everything. Some times it is a positive effect and sometimes it is negative, but it does have an effect.
For that reason it is our responsibility to handle the guests God sends our way with the greatest care so they can go away with a positive and enjoyable visit and thereby make plans to return again the next week or very soon.
All of this leads me to ask and I would hope all of us would ask, “What can we do to make the visit of first time guests more positive and pleasing?” Here are a couple things all of us can have a part in.
Smile: nothing is more powerful than a smile. Many of those who come are coming out of duress or in great stress or distress and the one thing that can make such a powerful difference from the very beginning is a look in the eye and a genuine, warm smile. The affect of a smile is unlimited.
Take them instead of show them: A second thing we can all do is take them to where they need to go instead of point to the location. Take them over to the coffee table, children’s check-in table, the auditorium or wherever else they might need to go. If it is a person they are looking for, try to locate the person and take them to that individual.
Everyone involved in the experience: A third thing that will make a powerful impact on our guests is when everyone of us is involved in smiling, greeting and connecting with the new people who come our way. Don’t leave the welcoming to the few designated people who might be on duty that day. Take it upon yourself to have a positive part in their visit to the church.
Nothing we can do will make first time guests more pleased and excited about returning than these few suggestions that we can all have a part in. it’s not about a lot of high dollar stuff. It’s about high value connections.
EVERYTHING AFFECTS FIRST TIME GUESTS—EVERYTHING. Let’s do EVERYTHING in our power to make it a positive visit that highly increases the chances of a second one.