REACHING YOUR VISITORS
By: Robert Logan
Measurable factors for assimilation:
1. Regular worship attendance
2. Development of 5 to 10 new friends
3. Participation in a cell group or team ministry
4. Identifiable role or task in the church
5. Consistent percentage giving
6. Referring to the church as “my church”
A. INCREASE VISITOR ATTRACTIVENESS
1) Visit your church as a first time visitor
2) Listen to your visitors – “Naive Listening”
Three Questions to ask:
1. What attracted them to your church initially?
2. What did they find appealing?
3. What bothered or distracted them?
Two groups to interview:
1. Visitors who stay
2. Visitors who don’t come back
TWELVE WAYS TO MAKE YOUR CHURCH MORE ATTRACTIVE TO VISITORS:
1. Provide adequate parking.
2. Station attendants in the parking lot.
3. Clearly identify the main entrances.
4. Appoint greeters who are gifted for the task.
5. Station greeters strategically.
6. Assign welcomers to seek out the visitors immediately after the service.
7. Train ushers to do their job well.
8. Post signs pointing to entrances, nursery, restrooms, etc.
9. Ask families to invite visitors to their homes.
10. Ask people to fill out a registration card.
11. Assign someone to call first time visitors.
12. Be sure that the bulletin contains enough information to help a total stranger participate in the service without embarrassment.
B. HELP NEWCOMERS BUILD FRIENDSHIPS
1) Reasons why people join a church
a. Transfer members
* Specific set of expectations
b. Unchurched people
* Influence of Christian people
* Family relationships and responsibilities
* Search for community
* Personal crisis
* Feeling of emptiness
* Reaction to guilt and fear
* Influence of pastor
People visit a church for many reasons, but stay for only one reason: meaningful relationships.
2) Two roles to recognize
a. Gatekeepers (negative) – positioned to decide who gets in and who stays out.
b. Sponsors – provide helpful information; link with key people.
3) Should we publicly recognize newcomers?
Studies from Barna Research:
* General rule: Don’t give special attention to visitors such as having them stand, raise their hands or wear name tags.
* Use non-threatening ways to make visitors feel welcome.
4) How to help newcomers build relationships
* 2 x 4 = 4 couples once a month (Supper 6, Dinner 8, etc.)
* Socials with personal invitations
* Felt need seminar
* Newcomers class
* “Breakout” – greeting during service
Goal: help newcomers build 5-6 relationships
C. FACILITATE INVOLVEMENT IN GROUP AND/OR MINISTRY
1) Group involvement
a. Quality – Magnetic Groups (Carl George)
Caring * Healing climate * Feeling of closeness * Meaning * Inclusiveness * Enthusiasm * Leadership
b. Quantity – Suggested Ratio: One group for every 17 people
Rule of thumb: Start new groups for new people.
PRACTICAL WAYS TO HELP PEOPLE GET INTO GROUPS:
a. Newcomers class – clustering in groups of 4
b. Sub-congregational groups – use sponsors and clustering
c. Fishing pools – special events
d. Small groups – include “empty chair”
2) Ministry involvement
a. Promote benefits
1. Get to know the pastor(s)
2. Meet other newcomers
3. Encourage spiritual growth
4. Learn about church vision, values, and goals
5. Discover their spiritual gifts and use them in ministry
b. Mobilize according to spiritual gifts
2. Spiritual gift inventories
3. Ministry placement
D. DEVELOP A COMPREHENSIVE STRATEGY
1) Tracking and assimilation flow chart See Beyond Church Growth, Logan (C385)
2) Ministry environment chart Offer programs at each commitment level
(The above material appeared in a March 1991 issue of The Pastor’s Update.)
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