It’s not a visitor contact card.
Nor is it a complicated data system, direct mail, automated emails, or even a free gift for your church visitors from the beautiful welcome center.
Those things help, but they are not the most powerful assimilation tools. The best tool is . . . .
a friendly person who spends time getting to know your guest.
The Best Church Visitor Assimilation Tool
One of my contacts in a discussion group wrote this (edited for spacing and relevant links):
In the past few months we have visited a number of churches with a variety of visitor assimilation tools such as forms to fill out and designated greeters who smile and nod or sometimes become bold and use words to say “hello” and “welcome.” Leaders make announcements about opportunities to serve from the pulpit and literature is mailed to our home.
These are all great and are methods we have used in ministry through the years.
Interestingly, by far the most effective for me, personally, has been a church with no formal system.
There are no visitor cards to gain contact information.
There is only what appears to be the lost art of shaking hands, looking people in the eye, and introducing themselves. Lay people and pastor alike quickly learned my name. They are interested in making conversation with me. When they see me drive up, they wait outside and walk in from the parking lot with me.
My husband has a secular job to pay the bills during this transition time and is often unable to attend services with me. Someone always sits with me as though it is their privilege rather than a designated responsibility.
I began visiting the church in September. The ladies in the church have invited me to Sunday School, choir, lunch during the week, and into their home for lunch following the morning worship service. The Holy Spirit works through that kind of unconditional acceptance to draw me into the church like a moth to a flame.
My own experience getting connected
This experience mimics my own best experiences. Friendliness is not a system, but a intentional desire to get to know new people. To your guests, a friendly face is more important than filling out a card.
I visited a Spanish language church for a season of my life. In spite of all their bad first impressions, I stayed and became part of that church. Read how I became assimilated into their church.
Yes, that is me, 2nd from right!
When my wife and I first married, we attended an Assembly of God church in Mount Prospect Illinois. We had seen their block party outreach and made our first visit the following Sunday. We went to a Sunday school class for married couples, and socializing after the class, we had lots of things in common with 3 other couples: newlywed transplants from another state.
Then the phone calls began to happen.
- “Hey, Tom had surgery, come over and play cards.”
- “Hey, let’s go to dinner.”
- “Hey, let’s have a cookout.”
- “Hey, what are you doing. Let’s watch a movie tonight.”
Pretty soon, two things began to happen as we spent time together.
- We felt connected to the local church.
- We developed deep and intimate friendships that are now 20 years old.
This got started because someone took the initiative to get us together and we met over a meal and played cards. I tell the whole story here.
The Best Church Visitor Assimilation Tool.
Systems have a place, and in the training webinar on church visitor assimilation available for download after purchase, I’ll cover a few systems that will help you.
Collecting visitor contact information has it’s place.
But the simplest form of church visitor assimilation is helping people make friends.
If your visitor can make 5-10 new friends within the first 6 months, they will likely stay and get involved.
Question for you
What is your church intentionally doing to encourage new friendships to form?
5 necessary tools for church visitor assimilation Webinar
If you need help on visitor assimilation, check out this church visitor assimilation webinar that looks at 5 necessary tools for church visitor assimilation.
It’s available instantly after purchase.
It is a recording that you can download to watch later.