A few years ago I attended a seminar dinner on How to Minister to Visitors at the local church and I learned some great ideas that are worth sharing here.
Perhaps these can help you minister to the people God brings to your church through your invitation or through His own sovereign means.
1. Miracles disguised as needs.
When a visitor who doesn’t go to any church comes to YOUR church for the first time, it is highly likely that they are looking for God to do something in their life.
Our speaker challenged us to look at our visitors as “miracles disguised as needs.”
Check your own heart.
Are your church visitors someone to minister to, or someone you wish wouldn’t be there?
2. A different meet and greet.
After introducing yourself to your first time church visitor with a simple “I’ve not met you yet, my name is . . . . .” and finding out a little about them as people, you can simply ask
“Is there something I can pray for before you go?”
Or, they may have already shared some of their needs and you can say
“Can we pray about some of those needs right now?”
If you are given permission, then plunge right in and pray with them, leaving it up to God to work. Take the Risk and Pray.
Your prayer doesn’t have to be elaborate or drawn out, but a simple lifting of the person’s needs to the Lord.
This communicates a few things:
- care and compassion for the first time church visitor,
- demonstrates your reliance upon God,
- and possibly reflects the “culture” of your church.
If your visitor sees an answer to prayer in the course of time, God might use that to draw that person or family closer to Him.
After a time of prayer, if it’s appropriate, spend some time introducing the visitor to other people.
If they return in the following week or two, welcome them again and continue to communicate care and concern. See how God worked in response to prayer and see what happens.
Simply put, this idea is really simple to implement.
What does it take for you to participate?
- It takes a vision for seeing guests for who they are – people who might be in need.
- It takes a willingness to go beyond our natural awkwardness and introduce ourselves to strangers.
- It takes patience to listen to their story and to listen for their needs, and a risk to lift them before the Lord in prayer.
This is a form of outreach that uses hospitality and prayer to bless those who come to your church for their first time.
Sounds simple, but I think you’ll find it an adventure.
Do your visitors come back?
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.