Last week I started a two-part blog on following up on first-time guests. I shared some of my recent struggles to find a church home (we’re firmly planted at a great church, now) with the participants at a workshop I’m leading for Third Baptist Church in Murfreesboro, TN. Last time I shared three insights for those of you who are committed to following up on your guests. As promised, here’s part 2 and three more tips/insights. I hope you’ll find them helpful!
Principle #4 – Think of follow-up in terms of a marathon, not a sprint.
- The average family is now visiting a church (or churches) for 18 months before committing to join (Membership Matters, p.95)
- Patience and follow-up are the keys to moving people from being attenders to being members. Plan on a long courtship, and don’t give up easily!
Principle #5 – Sunday School classes must do the bulk of follow-up
- Relationships are key to retaining people who visit
- The more contact a guest has with his/her class of peers, the better the chance of retaining them
- Between 65-90% of people first come to the church through the encouragement of someone with whom they have a relationship (Membership Matters, p.48)
Principle #6 – Get guests for a month and you may get them for life*
- 10% of all first-time guests will become members
- 25% of all second-time guests will become members
- 45% of all third-time guests will become members
You get the idea…a guest who returns to your church and Sunday School class on consecutive Sundays begins to develop a routine, relationships, and a familiarity with your church’s schedule, layout, and ministries. It makes it more difficult to leave and go to another place where they have to start all over from scratch.
*This applies if the visits are on consecutive Sunday mornings. This was reported to participants at the Outreach Marketing Road Show in Dallas, TX.