“Hey, Are You A First Time Guest?!”

Is anyone at your church asking attenders if they are first time guests?

If so, could I kindly encourage you to have them stop asap?

In my Assimilation Seminar, I encourage you to have a Guest Table where you offer first time guests a free gift. For example, we currently offer first-timers a free copy of the book One Month To Live by Kerry Shook, with a welcome letter from me.

The books are stacked on a table near the exit. There is no one there asking those who pick up the book if they are first time guests. We allow guests to self-identify themselves and take the books without being pointed out or questioned.

Newcomers don’t want to be identified as newcomers. Unfortunately, I’ve seen…

  • Churches that have a ‘monitor’ at their book table asking: “Are you a First Time Guest?”
  • Churches that have their greeters asking: “Are you a First Time Guest?”
  • Ushers come through the auditorium asking: “Are you a First Time Guest?”

I’m in favor of allowing guests to identify themselves and pick up a free gift or even attend a post-service gathering (like the 10-Minute Party that many churches do). But asking someone if they are a guest is off-putting and can actually push first-timers away from your church. Here’s why:

An unchurched first time guest wants at least three things…

– To fit in with everyone else attending
– To be anonymous
– To get more information as they are ready

I’ll be posting more on all three of these starting Thursday, so check back!

For now, make a decision to allow your first time guests to attend without having to answer the awkward, off-putting question: “Hey, Are You A First Time Guest?!”

Read Part 2 by Clicking Here (To Fit In)

Read Part 3 by Clicking Here (To Get More Information)


P.S. If you are new to my blog and you want more on How to Turn First Time Guests into Fully Engaged Members of Your Church, check out these resources on Assimilation by clicking here. And, welcome to the conversation!

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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.

Nelson SearcyAssimilation

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