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:
- No friends in your church yet (except maybe people who invited them to church).
- No connection to any ministry or programming you may have.
- Not aware of the good your church does in the neighborhood.
- They may consider joining a new network of people they don’t know.
- They may consider where they will give of their volunteer time.
- They may consider where and how they can receive ministry and give ministry.
- They might want to know more about the Jesus who was heard about in the sermon.
- They might be looking for a new community.
- 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.
What about church visitor folders? Are they a useful tool?
Did you receive one that was helpful to you? What made it helpful?
I’m a little biased in saying that welcome folders are great for visitors, as I’m in the business of selling them!
But from a visitor’s standpoint, yes, a folder or packet is nice. We’ve recently started attending my old church again. Though I was once an active member, it’s been a number of years since I’ve regularly attended, and there is a new pastor, new ministries, a new church building, new members…. new everything! Fortunately I know so much about it all because my mom is the church president, so she has kept me up to date.
However, stepping back from a first-time visitor’s standpoint, there was no information on the church itself. There were some brochures on the UCC in the main hall, which is great for learning about the denomination, but says nothing about that particular church. While I don’t think the lack of a welcome folder or packet has deterred people from coming back, it hasn’t shown them how much the small congregation does and how involved they are. Only by talking to people will you find this information out.
I look at welcome packets as something for visitors to look over as they talk about church in the following days or weeks. It’s a small investment of time and money.
And yes, I’ve mentioned to my mom how the church could benefit from handing out welcome folders.
Though I don’t sell them directly, I do think there is tremendous value. You’ve pointed out an excellent example.
Thanks for sharing. What do you think a good visitor packet should have? I’ve shared some of my ideas, but add yours here too.
I found a typo on this page:
under the ” your turn” section where is asks the question:
What are your about church visitor folders?
Which I believe needs one of these revisions:
What are your [thoughts/opinions] about church visitor folders?
Just trying to help!