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.
Our Associate Pastor – Adults, in addition to her other responsibilities, is responsible for “connections” at our church. She is constantly re-thinking how we collect first-time guest data and how we follow up with people. She has also been challenging my thinking in this area.
This is a BIG deal. If we don’t know a person has taken the time and trouble to come on a Sunday and check us out, we 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, usually as part of the welcome from the stage.
We have a pretty tight first-time guest assimilation process, but in order to get a new person into the process, we must first identify them.
Here are our current “methods” for knowing when someone is new:
- Face To Face Introduction – Many of us are camped out in the lobby, entrance to the main auditorium, and children’s check-in area specifically for the purpose of welcoming people.
- Communication Card – Every service includes a first-time guest welcome and prompting to fill out a communication card.
- New Family Check In – If a child or family is not already in our system (Church Community Builder), we ask them to complete a new family check-in card.
- First Time Giver – If someone gives an offering for the first time, assuming they do so via check or offering envelope that’s filled out, they are recorded as a first time guest.
What else is there? What are we missing? I wonder how technology has impacted this very important piece of any church growth strategy? Is there an “App” for that?