While there are countless different factors influencing why a person may or may not return to your church, following up greatly increases the new member retention rate. So you can host all the welcome events you want, but without a system in place to keep them coming back, they can be rendered somewhat pointless.
Follow these tips to ensure your follow-up process is clear and consistent when you welcome new church members.
Clearly Allocate Jobs and Teams
Halve the follow-up job by having a team of volunteers who are dedicated to welcoming new arrivals. Instead of searching through sign-up lists to decipher who came to the event, if you have an enthusiastic and friendly team assigned to gathering their details through church connection cards upon arrival, the information will already be at the ready. Then, having a team assigned to follow up every week will ensure that nobody slips through the net.
Getting Their Names Is Essential
Have you ever met some great new attendees at a welcome event, but in the excitement forgot to ask their names? We’ve all been there. And, we've all experienced the awkwardness of trying to follow up with a nameless person. So, make sure your welcome team gathers the important information and records it clearly for the follow-up team to use. An email address without a name is nowhere near as effective — knowing their name lets them know how important they are to your church.
Different Ways to Follow-Up At Your Church
Emails are a popular choice when following up with new church attendees. As they are near effortless to send and easy to personalize, you can reach out to many people in minutes. Plus, this keeps the data recorded on your church email address, ready for when you need it. Some churches have different follow-up systems for people who have only just attended and those who haven’t been for a while, so you can keep following up in a relevant way.
A phone call is a step above an email for several reasons. It is much more personable than an email, and itactually helps you get to know the person on the other side of the line. Whereas people remain almost anonymous through email channels, new members can let their personality shine through a phone call and vice versa. Plus, it yields instant results, which allows you to fill out your follow-up datasheet immediately.
A new church member welcome letter is the most formal of the three follow-up methods and is seen less and less frequently as online options become more popular. Although it does allow for creativity as you can send more interesting, physical things by post, letters have a much lower response rate. However, they make a stronger impression than an email, as the effort required to send a letter is known.
Church Follow-Up Template
Having a follow-up template will save you a lot of time. Plus, it boosts consistency and ensures that everyone receives the same energy in their welcome. Or if you want to create your own, follow these principles to ensure a positive reaction. First, thank them for coming, inquire about how they are doing, and finally invite them back. Adding a message that asks them how they are will let your new attendees know you care while also providing more reason to respond.
Keep Communication Channels Open
It is vital that once you have sent your follow-up emails, there is someone there to reply. If a person receives no response, it will become clear that they were just another number on a long list of reach-outs. So, have a volunteer or a team of workers dedicated to responding to emails. The importance of this goes beyond welcoming new members, as your channels of communication should always be open!
How to Measure the Effectiveness of Your Follow-Up System
To work out how effective your current system is, it's important to keep track of new attendees. Gather the data of new arrivals for a specific period, and keep an eye out for how many still come six months later. Work out your guest connection rate by dividing the number of new arrivals by those who still come. Having this data is useful, as you can clearly compare the effectiveness of different follow-up systems and try out new church welcome ideas too.
Using church welcome signs that display “Welcome to Church!” can help highlight to new attendees where they need to go to register. Not only does this encourage attendance by making people feel less lost, but it also serves as a place for you to gather vital data for your church.
Whether you rely on a separate church welcome center or prefer just using a desk instead, having an area dedicated to welcoming newbies is crucial. Here you will distribute the church welcome packets and give new attendees their first impression of the church, so choose a friendly and enthusiastic team for the role.