How to Follow Up on the Anonymous Church Visitor

AnonymousChurchVisitorIf your church visitor doesn’t fill out a connection card, how can you follow up with them?

They have chosen not to fill your connection card, friendship pad, pew register, guest book, etc.

They have signaled that they wish to remain anonymous.  Depending on the size of your church, you might not even know they have come.

If you don’t get their contact information, you can’t send them literature, make a home visit, carry cookies to their house, or invite them to come to the next service.

How can you follow up with them if you have no record of their presence?

Give them a church visitor welcome packet before they leave.

A church visitor welcome packet gives your guest something to review when they get home after their first visit.

It provides a way for your anonymous first time visitor to learn something about your church after they have experienced your worship service for the first time.

The packet can help anonymous church visitors become a little more familiar with your church structure, background, worship practices, and beliefs.

It also provides a way to share low commitment next steps towards becoming a regular attender, if they choose to come back.

Hopefully, your awesome church hospitality will help them decide to come back, but your church visitor folder can give them information to consider once they get home.

What do you put in your Church Visitor Welcome Packet?

I’ve written about this before, so see:

Five more ministry leaders have chimed in on the discussion:

David – Our guests get a box that folds to look like a very small gift. Inside is info on all major ministries, easy ways to get connected to serving and groups, a welcome note from lead pastor, and a memory stick with a couple high energy videos about the church and multiple links to our website. Goal is to move them toward connecting and be memorable…thus the gift box look.

Ron – We offer a stainless steel travel coffee mug filled with candy to new guests. This works well in getting them to fill out a card with contact information (95% effective rate). We also give a small group directory, welcome letter, CD recording of the service message, and offer free bibles, post dates for upcoming water baptisms, baby dedications, Discover Membership luncheons, an tri-fold color brochures of various ministries in the church. We have coffee, water, lemonade, bagels and sour cream, donuts etc specifically for Guests. The Congregation had other refreshment areas. We send a letter from the Pastor and call them within 24 hrs.

Leslie – We include a coffee cup, a flash drive with a video about the congregation and it beliefs and activities. We include a brochure of activities and the schedule. We invite them to a six session introduction to the congregation at the end of which they can decide to become as a member or not.

Jennie – Our visitors packet contains a contact card, brochures about our various activities, a coupon for our bookstore, a free snack coupon for our cafe, and a flower. The flower is easy to find and our congregants make a point to greet people when they see this flower. We don’t make people stand up, just raise their hand, and we applaud them for taking time to visit. Our visitors’ table in the back of the sanctuary is a place to meet the pastor after the service and get plugged in right away. We always are in gratitude for our visitors and conscious of their experience. As a follow-up, our pastor calls each visitor a couple days after their visit.

Jeanne – Our packet has a sheet welcoming them & tells about our church and what we believe. It also contains our vision and mission statement. It includes a worship CD, a teaching CD & our 10 year DVD. We have home bible studies we call Community Groups. The brochure listing the latest homes is included.It contains a church business card and info on our radio station. The service times, etc are also on the business card. We have a separate New Believer Pack with lots of info on how to receive Christ. Our church has free bibles in the chair seat backs for people to take & are encouraged to do so if they want/need one.

Don’t forget these items:

You’ll want to make sure some of the basic information about your church is available somewhere in the packet:

I found this sample church visitor packet on line (a download PDF) and like how it is laid out.

Image credit: 72soul / 123RF Stock Photo

Let me ask you this?

Please share your ideas on what you put in your church visitor welcome packet in the comment field below.

Improve Your Church Hospitality

Do you want more first time church visitors to come back a second time?  Taking care of your hospitality systems can help you keep more of your visitors.  I’ve put an ebook together to help you review your hospitality systems.

Read more on How To Welcome Church Visitors

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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