Are Church Welcome Packets a good idea?

SummerWallpaper-The fall ministry season is approaching in the US.

Perhaps it’s time to review the materials in your church welcome folder.

If you do not have a visitor packet ready, you are missing out a great opportunity to help newcomers find their way into your church family.

You can check out this list of 15 things to put in your folder, as well as some more ideas for visitor welcome packets.

Are visitor packets worldly?

Perhaps you’ve encountered an objection like this:

I think a folder like this or little marketing gifts is a bribe we are offering for people to come back.  I feel like we don’t need to bribe people. Why do we feel the need to resort to the world’s tactics to bribe and entice people to embrace God?

1.  Visitor Welcome Packets are not Bribes

They are a communication piece.

Your visitor folder shares information about your church, and perhaps includes a small token of appreciation for making the effort to come and visit.

If I visit a church, I’d like to know more information about it. I will not learn everything in my first visit.

This packet allows the church to communicate aspects of its program, how you can grow closer to Christ, how you can serve Jesus with us in the community, etc. . .

2.  Welcome Folders a Useful Tool for your Visitor.

Just because similar ideas are used in business seminars does not mean we must dismiss it as a worldly tactic.

Speakers speak at business seminars too, so I’m not dismissing my preacher as a worldly tactic.

Rather, these folders become a useful tool for communicating important information about your church to people who are considering  their involvement in the life of your church.

Think about your first time visitor for a moment:

  1. No friends in your church yet (except maybe people who invited them to church).
  2. No connection to any ministry or programming you may have.
  3. Not aware of the good your church does in the neighborhood.
  4. They may consider joining a new network of people they don’t know.
  5. They may consider where they will give of their volunteer time.
  6. They may consider where and how they can receive ministry and give ministry.
  7. They might want to know more about the Jesus who was heard about in the sermon.
  8. They might be looking for a new community.
  9. They may not know what simple next steps they can take to join your community.

Your welcome packet has the potential to answer those questions and in a way that a single Sunday morning service cannot.

These are packets that can be taken home and reviewed in the quietness of a morning, or in a family discussion over lunch.

The Purpose of the Visitor Packet

The primary purpose of the church welcome folder is to communicate information about your church to the first time visitor.

This visitor may have never attended church before.

Your visitor may have been shopping for churches for the last 5 weeks prior to coming to yours.

It is simply a tool to help them in their decision making process, with the caveat that the Spirit of God can work in a person’s life no matter what you put in your visitor folder.

Your Turn

What are your about church visitor folders?  Are they a useful tool?  Did you receive one that was helpful to you?  What made it helpful?

Published again in Net Results

Net Results Magazine How to Welcome Church Visitors

I learned that How to Make Church Visitor Welcome Packets has been updated and published in the Jan/Feb 2009 edition of Net Results Magazine which is a digital magazine, available via subscription at www.netresults.org

It is one of the most popular articles on this website for 2008 (in fact for all of 2008, this article was #1).

I’ve incorporated this article into my book How to Welcome Church Visitors.

In fact, even though that article was published online in August, it has become the top article, even though I’m getting 13,000-15,000 pages a month.

If you are not yet a subscriber to our Evangelism Newsletter, sign up and you’ll get it in December’s edition.  I’m allowed to distribute this article to my readers.

10 Church Visitor Gift Ideas

Gift Ideas for Church Visitors

The wow factor can play a role in helping a church visitor come back for a second visit.  That is one of the first steps to church visitor assimilation.

Sharing a small gift as a token of appreciation after a first visit can be a way to stand out and demonstrate extra care.

What are some gift ideas you can use?

In today’s guest post from Joe Schlosser, friend of this ministry and founder of Excellence Marketing Group, Joe shares some great fun ideas for church visitors gifts.

Some of which can fit inside a church visitor packet, and others of which you can simply give alongside the church welcome packet.


10 Freebie Giveaways For Church Visitors

by Joe Schlosser. EMGCoaching.com

OK, so you are experiencing an increase in visitors to your church.

You see a lot of new faces and your church greeters are telling you they are meeting a lot of people.

However, you’re not seeing an increase in actual visitor cards being filled out.  If those visitors never give you their information, you have no way of contacting them to engage them further.

That’s where a free visitor gifts along with a Visitor’s Welcome Packet can play a vital role in connecting further with your visitors.

By including useful items along with information about your church that reinforces your vision and mission, you can keep your message and branding in front of potential new members.

Apart from the informational brochures, event flyers, and other items, here are some suggestions of things to include with a Visitor’s Welcome Folder.

1. Custom Church Visitor Welcome Folders

Something classic to hold all the information you provide (the brochures, the policies, the flyers on programs, etc.).

Customize your visitor welcome folder with your church logo, contact information, and links to websites and social network profiles.

2. Digital Media Download Cards

phone_card This is really hot! It is the most advanced gift available with multiple uses and applications.

The visitor would receive the gift card at an event or service where they receive the visitor welcome folder.

To redeem the gift, the recipient goes online to your church branded website to redeem the phone minutes, music, ringtones, pizza, photo processing, movies, or other premium services. Pretty cool huh?

During the redemption process you can collect contact information from your visitor that can be used to re-engage them later through postal mail or email campaigns.

Once the visitor inputs their information they are taken to the download page and can immediately download their gift.  It really is quite simple and allows you to capture a lot of information that may otherwise just walk out the door.

3. Video or DVD of your organization

These simple tools can show off the different programs and services you offer, and can be very interactive.

EMG Design can arrange for videographers, or you can hire local ones, to come in and record your programs at the church, video tours of the church facility, or kids playing and learning.

EMG Design can custom design your CD or DVD cover as well as provide unique case designs and delivery options.

These have been quite useful in promoting various organizations and highlighting various programs.

The video can be used as a promo piece on your website as well.

4150_LAmericatheBeautiful4. Calendars

Customized calendars always keep your information right in front of your church visitors.

Several styles and sizes to choose from.

5. Refrigerator magnets

Need an inexpensive marketing option with “staying power”?

According to a study at Purdue University, the average American visits their refrigerator 22 times a day. So, your magnetic promotional product offers you around 8,030 impressions each year. That’s one of the lowest costs per impression of any item in our industry!

Magnets are very affordable and can be custom designed to be any shape. Be creative and humorous! Think outside the box on what you could include.

45193_L6. Coffee tumbler/travel mug

With the popularity of Starbucks and more and more churches allowing their people to come in with coffee, this is a great gift that will get used over and over again.

7. Journal books with pen

BLU-spectorA great gift that encourages journaling, sermon note taking and reflection.

Most books allow you to place a page of custom information in the front highlighting contact information, times of service, etc.

8. Seeded Bookmarks and Notecards

SeededBookmark Everyone loves bookmarks and cards!

This inexpensive product is made from recycled paper with wildflower seeds pressed into the paper so when the recipient gets home and is through using the item, they simply plant it and flowers come up. Truly a memorable gift that keeps giving.

9. Tote bags

Something stylish to hold the various gifts and books that may be given away to church visitors. Can be screen printed or embroidered.

10. Books

Choose a good book that represents your purpose or a current sermon topic and give it away.

With EMG‘s connections into the publishing industry, we can get great discounts on book titles that can be passed along to clients.

What now?

Joe would be happy to assist you in determining what would be the proper Visitors Welcome Packet for your organization.

To order any of these items listed, or to explore the other 750,000 possible options of imprinted items, simply contact us directly by phone at 404-784-1008.

Every situation and order is different.

We strive hard to provide you with the very best solution, at the very best price, with the very best service!

About Joe Schlosser

joe-staffFounder, Excellent Marketing Group and Certified Guerrilla Marketing Coach

Joe has a passion to see other leaders be successful. As a certified Guerrilla Marketing Coach, he has over 28 years of experience in the area of coaching, graphic design and promotional marketing. He has worked as the Director of Marketing for a national, faith-based nonprofit organization and is gifted in strategic thinking and analysis, being highly creative.   He can be reached at 404-784-1008.

Product images via Joe.

Free Tutorial

If you are a welcome center volunteer, or church hospitality ministry coordinator, learn more about how to improve your church hospitality systems.

3 Steps to Make Church Visitor Welcome Packets

Many churches choose to use a Church Welcome packet as a way of quickly communicating news and programming information to first time church visitors.

The First Time Visitor packet can be used to share

  • the breadth of your church’s ministry programming,
  • as well as include perhaps a little thank you gift.
  • Simple next steps towards making new friends.

Here are 3 steps on how to make Church Visitor Welcome Packets.

1.  Choose the Church Visitor Folder

Simple Pocket FolderThere are plenty of folder types to choose from.  The easiest form is to use a pocket folder such as the one pictured.

Many churches will choose to have them professionally printed with the church logo and contact information on it.

Pick a color that goes well with your marketing design.

You might want to make sure the folders are sturdy in construction so they will not dissolve in the rain, or feel cheap.

The pockets makes it easy to put your contents in it.

Personally, I like the ones with the business card cut out, such as the one pictured.

Instead of the pastor’s business card (which can be in a folder or attached to the visitor letter), stick in Business Cards that Church members can give away.

You could also put a refrigerator magnet with the church’s contact information on it, or maybe a phone number hot-line for prayer.

2.  Assemble or Prepare the Church Visitor Packet

The actual steps on how to create a Church Visitor packet are easy.

Gather your content and put it in.

Here are a few ideas of what to put in the welcome packet for visitors.  These are things that I have seen and appreciated.

You know your local ministry context so use what is appropriate.  All of these may not be useful.

  1. Letter of Greeting from the Pastor with an invitation to return the following week.
  2. A summary of the church’s vision and dream.
  3. Audio recording from the Pastor — a popular sermon, or a more in depth greeting.
  4. General information brochure on the church’s ministries.
  5. A brief history of the church, or the denomination if that is deemed important.
  6. Announcement flyers of public events such as fall festivals, Christmas Programming.  (Not notes from your Evangelism Committee meetings).
  7. Information on the membership process of your church.
  8. A coupon to turn in at the welcome center on next visit for a free token of appreciation like a book or mug or gas card.
  9. Marketing piece for current sermon series.
  10. Information on how to get sermon series via podcast or website.
  11. Invitation to an on-line follow up Survey for First Time Visitors about their experience of your church’s hospitality.
  12. A brochure that explains the gospel simply and clearly and points visitors to a page on your website that shares more information.
  13. For more ideas see: 10 Church Visitor Gift Ideas
  14. For more ideas as well: see More Church Visitor Folder Ideas

The quality of whatever goes in this packet is part of the first impressions that you will make on a church visitor.

Make sure your photocopies are clean, crisp, on decent weight paper (such as 24lb).  A fourth generation photocopy of a dot matrix letter in courier font is just not acceptable.  :)

Audio recordings in Visitor Packets

CassetteTapeWe recently received a cassette tape copy of the sermon preached that day.  We then discovered that we don’t have a cassette player any more.

Not in the car.

Not in our house.

We haven’t used a cassette is several years and forgot that we did not own a player.  All our stereo systems have gone to CD or MP3.

Consider a offering a choice: cassette, CD, DVD, or a link to a free MP3 download on the church’s website.

3. Distribute the Welcome Folders to Visitors

During our visits in different churches, these visitor packets have come to us in a variety of ways:

  • We have found them ourselves.
  • The members that have invited us will bring us one.
  • Greeters that recognize us as visitors give them to us.
  • Told to get one from the Welcome Center on the way out.
  • When prompted, we raised our hands and ushers gave one to us.

Your Turn:

In the comment field below, please answer this question:

What do you put into your church visitor packet?

Do you want to learn more about how to fix your hospitality work?  Read this tutorial on how to Fix Your Church Hospitality.

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