by Rich Birch: Are you leveraging your first-time guest gifts effectively enough to move people from being guests to fully connected members of your church?
I hope so, because this is an important piece of the connection timeframe; in fact, it’s a critical point in the eight phases of moving anonymous guests towards full community.
Everyone loves getting gifts upon arrival somewhere, whether it’s at a home or when visiting somewhere new. These guest gifts are not solely a gesture of kindness; they also help us collect vital contact information so that we can follow up with those that visit our church for the first time. At the most basic level, we should follow this approach:
We introduce the offer of a gift during our services (maybe we post it on the screens or in the bulletins).
We offer the gift as a way to thank first-time guests for their visit, and we ask them to fill out a contact card when they accept their gift so we can stay connected with them.
When done well, this is a way to both acknowledge and thank the guests who come. Think about it this way: we can all remember a time when we went over to a friend’s house when we thought we were supposed to show up, and while our friend invited us in, it was obvious that they didn’t expect us at all. As a church, we don’t ever want our guests to feel as if they are unexpected. The first-time guest gifts are a way to show people that we both expected them and that we’re thankful they’re with us.