“Every week may be somebody’s first week. If it’s not a good week, they may not ever come back for a second week…” wrote David Francis in Great Expectations: Planting Seeds for Sunday School Growth. I can testify from my personal experience in looking for a church when we moved to Spring Hill, Tennessee that David is correct. We visited five churches and three of them we never went back for a second visit.
Every group needs to be prepared to make a great first impression. If you expect new people every week, what are some things you will do BEFORE, DURING, and AFTER they visit?
Before they visit, consider who’s saying “Hello” when they come? When my wife and I were looking for a church, we attended two classes at a well-known church. In both instances, only the teacher said hello. Let me encourage you to have someone besides the teacher say hello. One old idea is to have hidden greeters that will have this assignment. A hidden greeter introduces themself and then introduces the guest to other members, and invites the guest to sit with them during the service.
During the visit, smile and show your teeth! Welcome everyone! Register the guest! Ask guests and members to wear a nametag! Inform the guest of Group Activities! Expect them to say YES and ask them if they want to enroll (belong to your group).
The real test of a friendly class comes after the benediction. Train your people to speak to each other and express care about each other. The guests are watching. Offer to take guests to the Worship Service or to help them find where the preschool and children’s buildings are. Shake hands while exiting.
After the visit, follow UP! Send a text, an email, write a letter, make a phone call, meet them for coffee or dinner, and even go visit!
BTW, my wife and I ended up joining the one church that showed they really wanted us.