How to Get Information From Your First Time Guests (Assimilation)

After my bestselling book Fusion came out and thousands of churches have been helped with  The Assimilation Seminar and Intensive over the last few years, in some circles I’ve become known as a bit of an “assimilation guru.”

Now, I don’t know about the “guru” thing, but I do love the Assimilation process!

I love knowing that the church I pastor is prepared and optimized to be a good steward of the new people God chooses to send our way.

I love seeing a first time guest (or a first time guest family) come through the doors on a Sunday morning and knowing that we’ve got a proven, step-by-step plan to help them grow.

And while I’ve never met a pastor who said they didn’t want to help new people get connected to their church and grow spiritually, I have known many who weren’t willing to put in the effort to make it happen.

One of the essential elements of a well-functioning Assimilation System is using a Connection Card.

This is a card that is placed in every bulletin every Sunday, that provides a way for you to collect information from new people and encourage everyone to take next steps in their spiritual life.  You can find more info about what a Connection Card is in previous posts (click here to download a sample).

What you say matters

I’ve found that how you present the connection card each week is equally important – it doesn’t matter how good your Connection Card looks if no one is filling it out and handing it in!

So over the years at The Journey, we’ve developed a script – a proven way of introducing the card each week during the service that’s been honed, tweaked, tested, and refined (and still is) to maximize its effectiveness.

Just be very clear: The welcome/hosting time on Sunday morning is not the time for you to get up there and “wing it” or ramble through without thinking about what you’re asking people to do.

In fact, if you do nothing more than implement a well-prepared, consistent script, you can see a tremendous increase in the number of cards completed each week (and subsequently, the number of people you can follow up with).

Here’s what one of my Coaching Network Participants shared with me recently:

Hi Nelson –

Just thought I’d let you know that we went from a less than 10% Connection Card completion rate to now regularly averaging 52% completion rate.

We’re shooting for a goal of 85%, but we feel our current rate isn’t that horrible compared to where we were.

Fritz Below
Lead Pastor
Calvary Ridge Church
North Ridgeville, Ohio

If you value the people God sends your way (and I know you do), I encourage you to thoroughly think through how your church collects information from the people who attend, and put in place a system that you can measure, evaluate, and improve each and every week!

P.S. To get a copy of the actual hosting script we use at The Journey, plus more than 6 hours of audio training on Assimilation, plus more than 50 documents and files, check out The Assimilation Intensive.

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About Nelson Searcy

Nelson Searcy is an experienced church planter, coach and church growth strategist, working with churches in over 45 denominations. Nelson is also the Founding and Lead Pastor of The Journey Church, with locations across New York City and in San Francisco and Boca Raton, FL. He first developed the Assimilation System 10 years ago at the Journey Church and has since implemented and improved these strategies with over 3,000 churches across all sizes and denominations. He started coaching pastors in 2006 and has personally coached over 2100+ senior pastors, helping them break common growth barriers like 125, 250, 500, 1000 and beyond, all while maintaining personal life and ministry balance. As founder of Church Leader Insights and the Renegade Pastors Network, he has trained more than 50,000 church leaders (3,000+ church planters). He is the author of over 85 church growth resources and 17+ books, including Fusion: Turning First-Time Guests Into Fully-Engaged Members of Your Church and The Renegade Pastor: Abandoning Average in Your Life and Ministry. His continued mission is to help church leaders around the world cooperate with God in creating healthy, thriving churches. Nelson is married to Kelley and together they have one son, Alexander.

Nelson SearcyAssimilation

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