According to Google Trends data, as reported by Pew Research Center,
“More Americans search for ‘church’ around Easter than at any other time, with the Christmas season usually ranking second.” This research is from a 2004-2013 study.
As someone who regularly teaches about hospitality ministry, and who visits a lot of churches on Sunday mornings – mostly as a guest – I want to give you a handful of things to think about in preparation for Sunday morning.
1. Tidy up – everywhere. Visually, prepare to make a great first impression.
2. If you don’t have a handful of guest parking spaces, create some even if temporary. It’s easy to create temporary outdoor signs and position them using the yard sign holders used by Real Estate agents.
3. Increase the number of greeters at doorways, in hallways, and in every building. Make sure guests can identify the greeters. Ideally you need two greeters for every 150 square feet of space (not including the worship center).
4. Make sure all your volunteers arrive 30 minutes early. This includes all of your children’s ministry volunteers.
5. Move your ushers and greeters outside the front doors. These folk should see themselves as door-openers. You never want guests approaching a closed door – unsure of what’s happening on the other side.
6. Equip your greeters with Connection Cards. If a guest self-identifies, a greeter should be prepared to collect contact information. Don’t just send a guest to a crowded Reception Center.
7. Don’t give out packets of paper. No one reads all that stuff and it can look desperate. Have a simple brochure or a post card that you can give as a take-away. Promote your website and your Facebook Page – and make sure you have those pages updated and in good shape before Sunday.
8. Have a system for same-day follow-up even if it’s just to send an e-mail or to leave a voice mail message. Do something other than a form letter. Stop sending form letters.
9. Designate a private place where people can go for prayer or to speak with a leader. Expect the Lord to send hurting people who need to be encouraged.
10. Reflect Jesus. Give your guests the best seats in the house, be loving and kind toward all those you don’t know, and avoid snarky humor as in “Hey great to see some of you, making your annual visit.” How many people can you begin relationship with on Sunday?
11. Repeat every Sunday. Expect some people to be so touched on Easter Sunday that they will return within a month. This can’t be a one-day focus on who the Lord is sending to you.
One last idea: Organize the Facebook users within your congregation. Ask each of them to post an invitation to your church services and link to your church website. Ask them to post at the same time. You can even write the post for them and circulate it to ensure it’s got the correct information. Saturate your community with Facebook invitations late on Saturday evening and early on Sunday morning.
Scott Vaughan Communications, LLC
P.O. Box 746, Lexington, SC 29071
Since 2003, serving the strategic communication needs of churches and faith organizations through North America.