Those of us who measure the number of first-time guests we attract each weekend know one crucial thing. We’re only counting a portion of the “actual” number of first-time guests. In other words, many first-time guests do not identify themselves. Therefore, we don’t know they are there.
The “front of the house person,” regardless of title, in addition to other responsibilities, is responsible for “connections” at most churches. They are constantly rethinking how to collect first-time guest data and how to follow up with people.
This is a BIG deal. If we don’t know a person has taken the time and trouble to come on a Sunday to check out the church, you can’t do anything regarding follow-up or otherwise beginning the process of getting them connected.
As far as I know, short of video surveillance and facial recognition software :), there are only so many ways to collect “first-time guest data.” Most of the churches with whom I’m in regular contact have a response card first-timers are asked to fill out or a mobile app with an electronic response form, usually as part of the welcome from the stage.
Most churches have a pretty tight first-time guest assimilation process, but to get a new person into the process, they must first be identified.
Here are the common “methods” for knowing when someone is new:
- Face To Face Introduction – Many staff and volunteers are camped out in the lobby, entrance to the main auditorium, and children’s check-in area specifically to welcome people.
- Communication Card – Every service should include a first-time guest welcome and prompting to fill out a response card or electronic form.
- New Family Check-In – If a child or family is not already in the system, they should be asked to complete a new family check-in card.
- First Time Giver – If someone gives an offering for the first time, assuming they identify themselves, they are recorded as a first-time guest.
What else is there? What’s missing? There’s definitely an “App” for that!