Yesterday, we learned how you can have more first-time guests than usual at your Christmas service. But what do you do with your guests once they arrive? How can you make them feel comfortable? Is there anything you can do now to make sure they’ll want to keep coming back to your church in the new year?
Turning first-time guests into fully-engaged members of your church is what assimilation is all about. In my book, Fusion, I detail a plan for creating a system that will help you keep the newcomers who come through your doors. If you haven’t had a chance to study that system, let me encourage you to do so. In the meantime, here are a few things you can do to make sure your first-time guests have a great experience this Christmas:
1. Spiff your church up – make it look as good as it can look.
2. Have signs in place to point people where they need to go. (For example, have signs pointing the way to the children’s area, the restrooms, and the main sanctuary.)
3. Make sure each guest is properly greeted, directed, treated and seated. Let’s look at this one in a little more detail…
First impressions are very important to your first-time guest. One of the best ways to make sure he feels welcomed and gets a good first impression of your church is by creating a strong pre-service – one where he is:
Greeted – Welcomed with a friendly smile by someone at the front door
Directed – Simply and politely shown where he needs to go (preferably by a sign and a volunteer)
Treated – Happily surprised with comfort food/drink (Offering hot coffee and donuts in your service will speak volumes to the new people who show up.)
Seated – Led to a comfortable, appropriate seat by a volunteer
The first-time guests you’ll have this Christmas will be making gut-level judgment calls about your church from the minute they hit the parking lot. What they see, before your service even begins, will determine whether or not they’ll ever come back.
Take some time today to think about what you can do to make your first-time guests feel welcomed this Christmas season. Put some time into polishing up your method of Greeting, Directing, Treating and Seating.
If you put some intentional focus on your assimilation efforts as you prepare for your Christmas services, you will see many more of those first-time guests become second-time guests, then regular attenders and ultimately, fully-engaged members in 2009!
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