Is your church ready for visitors? Before you say yes, make sure you walk through an entire Sunday morning service from the perspective of someone who knows nothing about your church—or Jesus, for that matter.
We’ve put together five important elements every church should consider using if they want to encourage visitors to return.
This is a non-negotiable, and one of the things I see churches fail at consistently. Imagine that your visitors are nervous about their trip to church. The best way to alleviate their anxiety is to make every step as simple and clear as possible.
Think about every step of a visitor’s journey on Sunday morning, and ask yourself, “Where would they be helped by including some signage?” Here are some areas to consider:
- Children’s ministry check-ins
- Coffee or refreshments
Bottom line: Never assume your visitors know where to go, what to do, or how to do it. Something as simple as a sign gives them the information they need without requiring them to lose face by asking for help to get around.
2. Presentation Software
If you’re a Protestant who’s attended a Catholic mass, you know how exposed you feel when everyone knows what’s going on but you. This is exactly how people can feel visiting our churches, too.
Moving from hymnals to overhead projectors helped a lot. The move to PowerPoint was even more helpful, but it’s time for many churches to move from PowerPoint to a church-presentation software. Why?
- All your songs are ready to go, making preparation so much quicker.
- If the worship leader decides to throw a song in out of nowhere, you’ve got them covered.
- You have the ability to display any kind of media from within your presentation.
- Bible passages are easy to enter into a presentation.
All of these elements that make prep and presentation easier contribute to an atmosphere that makes visitors feel comfortable and at ease.
3. Giving software
Let’s be honest. Taking an offering is the most awkward part of any service, even for regular attendees. How much weirder is it as a visitor to have someone standing over your shoulder and handing you a plate to drop money in?
Having a mobile option is a great alternative. With an app like Pushpay, regular givers can give quickly and efficiently, or they can even sign up for recurring giving. When you train your congregation to embrace giving alternatives, visitors don’t have to be subjected to the offering portion of the service.
You might be thinking, “We have a mobile giving option, and no one really uses it.” Well, that’s the nice thing about Pushpay. It’s an app that your people will actually use. We make sure of it. For the first 60 days after signing up for Pushpay, one person is dedicated to work directly with your church to help you define what success looks like for you and help you get everyone on board.
The average adoption rate for people actually using Pushpay in churches is 76 percent. What church wouldn’t benefit from those kinds of numbers?!
4. Service planning software
The better you plan your services and communicate, the better it is for people visiting. That’s a good reason for using a service-planning solution. When everyone who plays a part in your services has access to the plan, all the mystery—and many of the potential problems—disappear.
I don’t know about you, but when I go to an event where it feels like everything’s running like clockwork, I feel more at ease. Your visitors will feel this way about you if you’re running your services in an organized manner.
5. A plan for capturing visitors contact information
One of the most important things you can do to see your visitors again is to get their contact information. If you can get their information, you have an opportunity to reach out to them—and possibly overcome any other negative experiences. Many people I have talked to tell me that, if they had ever heard from the church again, they definitely would have returned.
You can use the tried-and-true contact card method, or you can also use a kiosk. If at all possible, make the contact card as easy to fill out as possible. Many people will give a name and an email address but balk at the idea of giving their address, marital status, reason for visiting, favorite color, and blood type. A lot of contact cards are left unfilled because they’re overwhelming and require too much information. Keep it simple.
Getting visitors to download your church app is another wonderful way to keep them in contact with you. They get to take you home in their pocket, watch other sermons, and get to know what you’re all about. When visitors can get to know your church better through your app after visiting, it really rounds out their experience.