There are some things around here we’ve done for so long that we don’t even notice them anymore. One of those things is the focus and importance we place on the first-time guest as part of our Sunday morning services. I’m talking about the “welcome” and prompting to “fill out the communication card” that’s a regular part of every service.
I’ve had recent conversations with a few church leaders that made me think about how (and why) we welcome and, hopefully, identify first-time guests. Believe it or not, many churches don’t spend any stage time on the first-time guest. And, they wonder why they’re not growing or why they have no idea how many first-time guests they attract per weekend, month, year, etc.
I’ve devoted some post energy over the years to the importance of “measuring results.” In fact, in a larger sense, I’ve written about the importance of a “plan and execute” culture and how measuring results is an important part of understanding if systems, processes, and methods are effective in actually accomplishing whatever it is an organization is trying to accomplish.
In any growth strategy, it’s important to understand the relationship between the number of first-time guests that visit over a period of time and the amount of growth over that same period. For example, in our context, we know that to grow by 120 in average weekly attendance over a year’s time, we have to “attract” 1,200 (or 100/month) first-time guests during that year. In other words, around 10% of the people who check us out for the first time (at least those who identify themselves) stick around and become a “regular attendee.”
Obviously, there are many who don’t identify themselves via the communication card. So the relationship I describe is even “worse,” in that less than 10% of the number of first-time guests in a year stick around and become regular attendees.
Here’s an example of our communication card …