Evergreen Guest Follow-Up Best Practices
2020 changed a lot – but not everything. Guests still sought out churches for hope, community, and support, even as ways to reach new people grew increasingly more dependent on digital avenues. While the tools vary, it’s helpful to return to evergreen guest follow-up best practices.
Why? Because whether you can see their face or only know their first name, the best way church leaders can connect with people is through a ministry mindset of genuine hospitality that meets people’s needs.
THOUGHTFULNESS OVER METHOD
What do you do when your plans get entirely upended? Many options exist – and one of the best is to return to what you seek to accomplish and what resources you have to get there.
[If you want to go down this particular rabbit hole, check out Carey Nieuwhof’s thoughts on the post-pandemic church. ]
Early in the pandemic, while almost everything came to a halt, the need to thoughtfully serve people – both members and those in the community – became apparent.
The problem? In-person contact, or even just going places, was practically impossible. However, churches adapted by being thoughtful and presenting different touchpoints where people could connect and seek support.
In accepting that the old ways wouldn’t apply, leaders set aside old methods to reach different people in the way they prefer. Sometimes it was easy. Sometimes it took trial and error to figure out what worked.
Best practice takeaway: Replacing “this is how we do things” to “how can I best connect with people, and in a way that they feel loved and supported?”
GIVE PEOPLE A REASON TO SHARE THEIR INFORMATION
There’s only so much you can do to help individuals feel loved and supported when they are a part of a crowd – either in a room or on the other side of a screen. You can ask people to fill out the connect card, guest form, pew pad, etc., as much as you want. People will still be reluctant to do so.
Why? Because they know you will contact them. And they may not be ready for that yet.
One of the best ways to overcome this obstacle is by seeking to serve people first. The great thing is, this doesn’t have to cost a ton of money or resource – just an understanding of where your church’s mission and your guest’s needs intersect.
You can read up on all nine ways here.
Best practice takeaway: Whether you’re sending reminders or offering helpful community information when you seek to serve first, you take the first step and invite someone to get to know your church better.
THE PRACTICALITY OF CONSISTENCY, RELEVANCY, SUFFICIENCY
Understanding and putting people first is something our partners at Text In Church focus on, both with their church clients and with the church guests on the receiving end of guest follow-up messages.
What’s great about their system is the blend of planning and action that helps churches avoid common mistakes:
- Consistency – reaching out to every guest, every time.
- Relevancy – connecting in the way REAL people connect. Now, that’s primarily text and email, with a dash of other methods.
- Sufficiency – recognizing that, more than likely, a guest’s life doesn’t include church at the moment. It takes time for new habits and behaviors to form. By knowing that, a sufficient plan will go over several weeks, be helpful, and create opportunities for invitations, connections, and more.
Best practice takeaway: guest follow-up goes beyond a task on a checklist. It looks at how messages and other contact points serve guests and how that follow-up seeks to connect EFFECTIVELY.
THE DIGITAL GUEST EXPERIENCE STARTS BEYOND THE FIRST ONLINE WORSHIP SERVICE
Anticipating a guest’s needs help to create a positive guest experience. Yes, that’s a bit repetitive, given everything covered above.
What a guest experiences about your church starts long before they attend your live stream service. Just as a guest starts gathering information and forming perceptions about your church from the moment they drive up to your church and pull into your parking lot, your digital guests go through the same process as they use Google to find out more about your church. What can they pick up from the moments they spend with your latest social media post? How easy – or difficult – can they find answers to their questions on your website?
Best practice takeaway: as with in-person worship, the guest experience online begins long before they attend online church. Knowing more about that process, guest expectations, and how to serve is all a part of a holistic, people-focused effort.
WANT TO APPLY GUEST FOLLOW-UP BEST PRACTICES AT YOUR CHURCH? SAVE TIME + DO THIS FIRST.
You can spend hours and hours learning about the latest digital tools and methods for connecting with people online, scanning the details of your church’s entire digital presence, and hope you can have enough objectivity to see it through the eyes of a guest.
But who has the time or energy for that? With Church Secret Guest, you can reserve time and energy for the essential ministry tasks before you. Imagine what you could do when you can answer the nagging questions about your guest experience – and start connecting with people more effectively?
If you’ve been struggling to figure out what’s not working, let alone focus on your digital presence and make the most significant impact with people, set up a time to talk with our team.