Is there any greater “downer” than showing up as a first-time visitor to a new church and not having anyone notice? It’s amazing how many people will return for a second or third visit – or more – if they’re acknowledged and made to feel welcome. (It’s also amazing how many people won’t bother to come back if they’re not.) Visitors are much more likely to become regular attenders or members if you spend some time following them up.
One way you can acknowledge new attenders or guests is to have a mechanism in place for securing their contact info. and following-up with a “Thank you” note that same week. Here’s one idea to get you started. Add your own color and clip art to present an attractive monarch-sized mailer. Include a hand-written sentence or two. Your goal is to communicate, “We noticed you” and hope to see you again.
for joining us at (church name)
We offer a variety of programs for families and children:
Sunday school for all ages @ (time)
Children’s church @ (time) for (cite ages and places)
Nursery care provided (cite time and place, ages)
Note any Wednesday programs for kids and accompanying opportunities for parents here.
Plus special events throughout the year.
Looking forward to seeing you soon!
Include church contact info. here: address, phone, email, web site.
Also, does your church host a quarterly “New Friend” brunch, lunch or reception? A New Members class? Be sure you or one of your staff attend each of these or like events to represent Children’s Ministries and field any questions or concerns. If possible, you may want to make the following “introductory materials” available to parents and new families:
– A DVD presentation in which you, as the Children’s Pastor/Director introduce yourself and provide an overview of what’s goin’ on in Children’s Ministries. Keep it upbeat, informative, and brief. These can be included in Visitor Packets, which can also include a current copy of your Children’s Ministries newsletter or column, as well as links to your C.M. blog or web site.
– Always have some kind of brochure or flyer available at your information center, kiosk, or book rack that parents and visitors can pick up and take home to find out what’s going on in C.M., when and where.
– Schedule periodic interviews with SS teachers, nursery workers, VBS staff, AWANA leaders, parents and kids at regular intervals during the Sunday service throughout the year.
– Encourage parents and kids to share their testimonies with the church family throughout the year. Some folks in the church body at-large may not know or care about what God’s doing in C.M. – or think of it as a mere babysitting service. Encourage people to share their stories and provide a regular forum for so doing! There’s nothing like putting a personal “face” on what God is doing in, through and with C.M. to educate, inform and excite!
– Follow-up visitors with a personal phone call within a week of the initial contact. People don’t attend churches for four walls and a roof. Most of the time they’ll come – and stay or leave – based on the relationships. So, start the ball rolling by taking the initiative. Answer any questions about Children’s. Find out a little about them – how long they’ve been in the area, where they’re from, interests, jobs, hobbies, how many kids they have and their ages, etc. If appropriate, you may share a bit about your Child Safety and Security policies and procedures, background screens, etc. so parents will know their children are safe at your facility. This communicates “I care” and “you’re welcome here” loud and clear.