How To Make a Good First Impression to Parents 101
How to make a good first impression depends on your church and the message you want to convey. Ask yourself what practices you have in place to ensure each family has the best understanding of your ministry from day one. Ensuring an impressive first impression is strategic, so have methods and practices set in stone to give every newcomer a stellar first impression.
Are you ready to streamline your church welcome for parents? Follow these five tips to get families on your side.
1. Design a Welcoming Website
Your website is important as the first point of contact for prospective families. Imagine that your family has relocated to a new city, and you are browsing for a church to join. Would you choose the church with the janky old website (that looks like it’s never updated) or the ministry with a streamlined, user-friendly interface?
A website isn’t everything, but when it is all people have to make a judgment, the church with a fresh and clear online presence will always win. Extend this to your church social media too, as people are more likely to search for you on Instagram than on Google. Use visual aids like fun and bright photos to catch their attention and embody the spirit of your kids’ ministry.
2. Have Friendly Faced Greeters
If they get past the website and decide to attend, it’s time to optimize your greeter team. Choosing your most friendly and energetic church volunteers to work on the welcome team will ensure all your families get warmly accepted into the church. This is most important for newbies, as people often cite feeling awkward or on edge when attending a new church for the first time.
When parents walk through the door at a new kids’ ministry without acknowledgment, the likelihood is they will back out slowly and never return. If your ministry seems too busy for another child, they won’t feel comfortable leaving them there. Ministry to Children highlights the importance of a quick greeting. Even if you are busy, saying “I’ll be right there” with a warm smile and introducing yourself as soon as possible is essential. This goes for all families, not just the new ones.
3. Secure the Check-In Process
Ideally, your kids’ ministry team will have approached a new family before they even have to ask how to check in, but this isn’t always the case. If you often get questions about your children’s ministry check-in system, why not add a brightly colored signpost directing families to the right desk? Clear and organized systems help parents to trust ministry services for their kids.
Choosing your children’s ministry check-in and check-out procedures will impact first impressions of your church. The security and safety of your kids are your number one priority, so consider what practices to put in place from these methods outlined by Ministry Spark. Having a few volunteers at a welcome desk is a popular option as it is personable and thorough, leaving less room for error than some self-check-in processes.
4. Make the Child Excited To Attend
You should welcome every child directly, not just through their parents. A friendly face introducing themselves and asking their name will help kids relax in the new ministry environment and feel happier to be a part of your church. Parents want to know that their child is supported and loved in their absence, so greet every child with care and a genuine smile.
What a child tells their parents upon leaving a kids’ ministry session will influence the first impression the most. If they have fun stories about making friends and learning about God and can’t wait to return, parents will know they made the right decision with your ministry. On the other hand, if the child leaves feeling upset, bored, or frustrated, parents may wonder whether your kids’ ministry curriculum is up to scratch.
5. Follow Up With a Note or Message
When it comes to kids’ ministry, you need to know when it’s a family’s first time. Gathering security details about the parents and important information about allergies, injuries, or special needs is essential. This makes it easy to follow up with your newcomers after their first visit, offering a word of thanks and an invitation to come back.
How to make a good first impression? It goes beyond the initial moment of contact. Sending a simple email that says “thanks for coming” or “welcome to church with us” will go a long way in completing their first experiences with your ministry. Let new families know that you appreciate them choosing to join your church, and show them how much you value your attendees.
Building bonds with parents at your church is essential for effective ministry. Start as you mean to go on by giving families an incredible first impression that makes your church stand out from the rest. Check out our blog on how to strengthen relationships with parents at your church for tips on taking it further than the initial welcome to children’s ministry.