Q & A – Investing in Newcomers (Fusion)

Here’s a question I received and replied to recently regarding Fusion:

Q: Thanks so much for writing the book Fusion, about getting people plugged into our church. I recently found and read it, and it’s been very helpful.

Fusion: Integrating Newcomers into the Life of Your ChurchI like the fact that you lay out a clear, practical plan to improve how we connect with newcomers and I truly believe that this book is a great resource for anyone interested in church growth (so much so that I posted a review on my blog).

However, there is one thing that I’m a bit uneasy about. If I understand correctly, your plan calls for churches to spend between $400-$600 per guest on free gifts (books, gas cards, etc…).

Doesn’t this almost seem like bribery? I have a friend who would go to a large church that offered free coffee for first time guests. Each week they would go and claim to be first timers.

Any light you can shed on this topic would be great…

A: Thanks for the post and for your question about Fusion!

One clarification – I do not advocate $600 – $700 on first time guest follow-up.

I do suggest you send them a personal letter with a gift card (currently we send a first class letter with a subway/bus pass – total cost $5) and then at their second visit we send a letter with a CD (about $2 with postage).

At the service Guests have the option to pick up a free book designed to answer their questions about Christ (maybe $3.50 each).

So, I guess we do invest (I like that word better than ‘spend’) around $10 to get a first timer to return. I see it more as evangelism since everything is designed to move them forward in their spiritual walk.

In the book, I do mention that the average church spends hundreds of dollars to get guests through the door the first time (based on the money invested in evangelism) and my challenge is to invest a few more dollars to help people return/grow.

Hope that makes sense.  Again, thanks for the shout out!

Feel free to let me know if I can provide further assistance.

P.S. For even more advanced Assimilation techniques, check out The Assimilation Intensive.

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About Nelson Searcy

Nelson Searcy is an experienced church growth strategist, pastor, church planter and coach, consulting with churches around the world. As founder of Church Leader Insights and the Renegade Pastors Network, he has personally trained more than 3,500 church leaders in over 45 denominations through live events, seminars and monthly coaching. Nelson is also the Founding and Lead Pastor of The Journey Church, with locations across New York City and in Boca Raton, FL. Nelson and his church routinely appear on lists such as “The 50 Most Influential Churches” and “The 25 Most Innovative Leaders.” He is the author of over 100 church growth resources and 18+ books, including The Renegade Pastor: Abandoning Average in Your Life, Ministry and The Difference Maker: Using Your Everyday Life for Eternal Impact, and At the Cross with the People Who Were There. He and his wife, Kelley, have one son, Alexander.

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