Why you should never use the “V” word

imgresHow do you view the new folks who come through your doors each week? If you’ve been referring to them as what I call the “V-word” (aka “visitor”) I strongly suggest you change your language and use the more welcoming word, GUEST.

“Visitor” implies an unwelcome drop-in or intrusion. But a first-time GUEST now demands more care and consideration in how you treat him or her and ultimately how you welcome and follow-up with your guest.

You can also use another “G-word” when talking about your guests – a GIFT from God. From this perspective, how you receive your guests takes on even more importance doesn’t it? In thinking through last week’s first-time guests, did you treat those gifts as they deserved to be treated by having a plan in place to integrate them into the life of your church? Or did you just say a quick thank-you and move on? Maybe you thought you did all you could to show your thanks.

Gifts from God are given freely − and strategically − and God expects us to handle what we’ve been given with the same strategic care. First-time guests are extraordinary gifts full of unparalleled potential. As God brings them through our front doors, our prayerfully planned reciprocation can result in changed lives for the Kingdom. To borrow a concept from the business world, God has set up the perfect win-win scenario. He is giving us the new faces. Our responsibility is to show our gratitude and commitment by doing our part to turn those new faces into new fully developing members.

This is why we focus so much on Assimilation. Assimilation leads to life transformation by giving people the means and opportunity to become maturing followers of Christ.

In broad terms, “assimilation” can be defined as the process used to encourage your first-time guests to continue coming back until they see and understand God’s power, accept Jesus as their Savior and commit themselves to the local church through membership.

At The Journey, we have made the crux of assimilation our mission: to give the people of New York City the best possible opportunity to become fully developing followers of Jesus Christ. We know, as I’m sure you do, that the majority of people who visit a church do not come to faith in Christ on their first visit − or their second or third. Instead, continued interaction with God’s people, teaching from the Bible and involvement in volunteer opportunities all work together to open unchurched hearts to the good news of Jesus Christ.

Your partner in ministry,


pimgP.S. – What if you could keep at least one more first-time guest each week for the rest of the year?

The good news – it’s more than possible. The secret is Assimilation. And today I’d like to share with you my best-selling, nuts-and-bolts resource, The Assimilation Seminar.

This is the resource that has helped literally thousands of churches – of all sizes, denominations and geographical locations – keep more first-time guests. You can have the same impact in your church.

Click Here to Secure The Assimilation Seminar for HALF OFF – Only $49 – Ends Friday, August 7th!

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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.

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