Here is a really helpful little resource from Nelson Searcy called Fusion. It’s a short book – only 160 pages or so, big print, pictures, and all that. It’s essentially addressing the issue of how we turn first-time visitors into regular attenders and members. He has all sorts of helpful advice such as:
– get your welcome right – put the right people on the door, have coffee and doughnuts when they arrive, have someone show them to their seat. You have about 7 minutes to make the first impression. By then they’ll have already decided whether or not they’ll return.
– Use some kind of communication card – not just for visitors but for everybody. Early on ask people to stick a name and contact detail on it. Have multiple options for different people from ‘tell me more about the church’ to ‘xplore course’ to ‘members day’ to ‘I need to talk with someone.’
– Follow up new visitors. Send them an email within 36 hours of their visit.
– Get newish visitors serving early on – a sense of responsibility gives a sense of value and belonging.
– Run new members days reasonably often – if people haven’t integrated within 6 months they’re probably not going to.
You might not agree with everything Searcy suggests but that’s not really the point. His church situation isn’t yours. The point is he gets you asking the right questions, and if you’re serious about doing everything humanly possible to show visitors you care for them, because God cares for them, you can’t afford to miss this book.