9 Ways You Can Connect With New People
Today’s church leaders know they need to connect with people personally and develop those relationships to change lives with the power of the gospel. A part of that growth and connection process is encouraging people to provide their contact information, as discussed last week. Regardless of how your church gathers, many potential visitors will start online as a part of getting to know the church. How can you connect personally with someone you can’t see? You prayerfully consider the needs of those your God has called your church to serve. And then you serve them.
You may recognize that this is a digital version of what churches have done for decades now to collect name/address/phone numbers. The visitor gifts, connect cards, and prayer cards all provide different ways for a visitor to interact with a church. Taking that step indicates an openness to learn more. This is an innovation of that same idea.
Different people still have different needs and appreciate different things. Some will respond to a call for prayer. Others will take action for a free gift. That’s why below you’ll find a list of nine different ways you can encourage people to connect with you.
When you consider what people may need and seek to serve them, they’ll respond. And you’ll both be on the way to getting to know each other.
Ready to get started?
1. Send reminders about upcoming service
A classic service that works for many churches! People live hectic lives. For someone who has never attended church, or hasn’t in a while, reminders help people build up new habits to attend. Whether you send reminders through email, text, or both, this can help people who express a desire to attend and want a little help to do so!
2. Send a list of anything local that may be of interest
Here you can target content to any audience by providing them some special and unexpected. For churches trying to reach families, you can send a list of 10 free places to take your kids. Want to connect with young adults? Best hamburger spots. Or ways to spend your Saturday afternoon.
For visitors with spiritual needs, you can offer a short series of devotions or prayers. You can set up an automated sequence, with regularly spaced out content. If your church already sends out emailed devotions, you can have your contact sign-up center around subscribing to receive those emails or texts. You can also choose to ask for individual prayer needs and let them know your church is praying with them as a part of your prayer ministry.
4. eCard/gift card for a local treat
Have a popular coffee shop or ice cream store not far from your church? Have your offer include a $5 gift card to that spot. This is especially great if your church is known for offering local community support and shares stories about the people in your area. If the business has an eCard offering, that will work best. If not, add a mailing address field to your request. (Or tuck this idea away for in-person gathering).
5. Donation to local non-profit
For many millennials and gen z adults, supporting local causes means a lot, with compassion as the main driver. Non-profit support comes from the heart for these generations. Look at the non-profits your church partners with and highlight three. Offer to donate an additional $5 to the organization of their choice. You’ll accomplish a few things. Your church can show how else you work within the community. These active steps tell the story of how your church works to create positive change outside the church walls. And they allow the visitor to choose, something that people generally want to do for themselves.
Bonus: Encourage more sign-ups, celebrate the results, and be transparent all at the same time! Periodically share how much your church has been able to donate through connection sign-ups. Sharing this information shows that people have participated, allows to show church involvement in the wider community, and confirms funds given as a whole.
6. Recommended resources for at-home worship
If your community has people who aren’t able to attend in person, you can provide a resource list to help them worship and study from home. You can provide them with links for where they can watch live streaming and join in community chats. Point them in the direction of video studies. Tell them how they can get involved with a virtual small group. And the more you can tailor it to their needs, even better. Which leads us to…
7. Resources relevant to their age group/life stage
This idea is a focused version of #6. One of the ways people tend to group themselves is by where they are in life. Fortunately, your church likely follows a similar pattern. Young adults, families, and mature adults all have different needs.
There are two ways you can clarify life stage. One way is to have it be a part of the “get-to-know-you” process. After you get their name and email/phone number, you can ask a question to understand better where they are in life. Another way is to have contact collection tied to those ministries. For example, for your church’s daily story time with the children’s minister, you have a resource page with resource sign-up for your children’s ministry. If someone fills it out, then you know they want to receive those resources.
8. Common questions series
This idea is another one that can be as simple or as sophisticated as you like. What do those new to your church most want to know? Think along the lines of, “What does sanctification mean?” Or, “Why are the Old Testament and the New Testament separated?” Whether you keep it light or opt to tackle more complex questions, make sure to explain any “church” words so that anyone can understand.
You can get people’s attention and be ministry-focused. Lead with your message of service rather than what you are giving away. Your “prize” should fit with the context the message. As with the other ideas, the prize serves as that extra nudge to get someone to take action.
For example, if your church is targeting dads as a part of your family outreach strategy, you can talk about how your church supports men spiritually and through friendship. To encourage new people to take the next step and get involved, you’ll be giving away a prize package with a cool power tool and a gift card to the local hardware store.
Take steps to connect
Now you have ideas to get you started! Look for what aligns with your ministry goals, culture, and those your church seeks to reach. Make it your own! And be sure to come back next week, where we’ll wrap up with resources to help make this happen.
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9 Ways You Can Connect with New People
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