Posted: 4/16/19 at 12:00pm. Post by Tony Brooks.
“Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.” (Hebrews 13:2 NIV)
You and I need to be ready to reach new guests in new ways. Here are some ideas:
Be technologically savvy! People of age 45 and under will look on their smart phones and computers to decide about a church before they come! Here are some of the things you need to consider:
Have an up-to-date website. Websites that are user friendly, make your mission clear, and have extra touches like a Sunday School/Small Group page can do wonders! Have a picture of the persons in a class/small group with age range, hobbies, service projects, et. al.
Have an up-to-date Facebook page. Share events, pictures, stories, testimonials from members, and a link to your website. Get members to share events on their timelines.
Update your church as a business on Google Maps. This requires a little bit of work but can be very rewarding. (I learned this from Rev. Nathan White, Pastor of Liberty Baptist in Skipwith, VA, and former Chief Marketing Officer of the BGAV.) You can post reviews and help people get a good understanding of who you are!
Prepare for guests at the church.
You need parking spaces designated and reserved for guests. There is nothing more frustrating for me than for the pastor and staff to have prime parking spaces and no guest parking close to an entrance! Whether we like it or not, guests are customers. (We may be entertaining angels.)
You need greeters at every door who knows every class. They need to escort guests to their locations for Bible study. It is helpful if they have umbrellas when it rains and they go out to meet people in the parking lot!
You need great signage for parents to know where the toddlers, preschoolers, children, and youth have their classes. You also need good signage to find restrooms. They also need to know their toddler/child is safe. Do you provide some way of knowing the names of the child and some card/symbol for parents to have when they pick up their child? Safety is very important!
Prepare guests for your class. You need a greeter in your class. I prefer to call them “connectors.” I want the greeter to connect each guest to two to three other people before they leave that day. If you discover their hobbies, connect them with two to three people in your church with the same hobbies!
Prepare for follow-up. How do you follow up with guests in Sunday School and worship? In previous churches, we had a Visitor Contact Ministry Team. One person would drop off materials that Sunday afternoon at the door of the guest. One person would write a letter. One person would call midweek to thank them for coming and answer questions. Members of the class could invite them to lunch afterwards to really get to know them. Each person should be put on a prospect list and invited to social events and service projects the class is doing.
We never know what the lasting impression of a guest might be. Make it positive!