Do you ever wonder why your church can get visitors, but has a difficult time keeping them? Maybe you can get them through the doors, they seem excited, but then they disappear. This can be very frustrating to volunteers and leaders in church plants.

Your church is a great place, your core knows this, so what’s the issue? We want to resource you with a few easy ways to massively improve your church’s visitor retention.

Don’t call them visitors!

For years the term “visitors” has been universal. But let’s examine that word. Visitors makes you think:

  • Temporary
  • Unwelcome
  • Passing through

Not that great right? How about switching to the term, “guest?” Guest makes you think:

  • Important
  • Welcome
  • Special

This may seem like a small change, but the words you choose have a significant impact. Start speaking to your leadership to work visitor out for your church’s vocabulary. Have your pastor welcome any guests and give a quick next step on how the they can get involved.

Create undercover greeters.

It’s expected that there will be an usher at the door to say hello and hand a bulletin to your guest. But what about that awkward 5-10 minutes your guest is sitting waiting for the service to start? Enlist a few sociable members to be “undercover greeters.” No name tags, no bulletin in hand. Their job is to seek out visitors and strike conversation. These volunteers can help introduce the visitors to the pastor or other members, let them know how your service works, and help them feel welcome. In past experience, if a visitor leaves a service knowing 2 people’s names, odds are you’ll see them next week.

The follow up.

Follow up is so important, but often just chalked up as a side-job for the pastor. Create a leader and a follow up ministry. Make sure you reach out and contact your visitor within three days of the service. How you contact the guest depends on your churches demographic. If you are part of a younger church, sending a text, Facebook message, or mention on Twitter is great. If your church is more of a family or older generation than a phone call or a note in the mail might be more fitting. Try to pull your undercover greeters into follow ups. If the guest receives a call from someone they have already met, that goes miles.

Talk in a way your guests will understand!

Churches tend to create their own lingo and vocabulary. This is can be confusing and even offensive to the unchurched. Use words the world will understand! For example, if you have a ministry for the those in need, don’t call it “Isaiah 58 Ministries”. Yes this is a great verse about clothing the naked and feeding the hungry. But a guest will have no clue what you are talking about. Who’s Isaiah? Does he run the ministry? Use the scripture as the core of your ministry. Something that can be taught and caught, not marketed. Refine your church’s culture to be authentic and real to the unchurched.

Pray!

This one is pretty simple…pray. Pray God will bring people to your church to call their home. Pray that He will bring the leaders to serve these people. Pray He works his vision in your church to reach those he wants to reach! It’s that simple… Pray.

These steps sound easy, but it’s hard work. Get your leadership together and make a game plan for your community. If you work at it, they’ll come and they’ll stay.