Christmas will bring many new visitors to your church. So how will you make them feel welcome?
At a recent Equipping Institute in Loveland, Colorado, John Barolo shared an idea his leadership team developed to prepare people for a visit to their church—even before they set foot on campus!
“Design My Visit” allows guests an opportunity to customize the first time they’ll attend Hyde Park United Methodist Church, Tampa, FL. “It takes some of the pressure out of that first-time experience.” John shared. “It helps them connect more quickly and helps us meet their needs.”
The process is simple—go to the church website and provide some basic information about yourself, your family, preferences or needs. (Why bother with a nursery tour if they don’t have kids?) Once this information has been collected a team member from Hyde Park creates an itinerary for the first visit. The next step involves a team member contacting the guest by phone with a welcome and arranging a time to meet them when they first attend.
When the first-time guest arrives on “their special Sunday” they’re greeted at a chosen location by a friendly, personal guide. The guide answers any questions, shows them around campus, and introduces them to others. The last stop of the day is to Hyde Park’s bookstore for a complimentary coffee.
Sound like too much work for one visitor? Mark Waltz, in his book, First Impressions: Creating Wow Experiences In Your Church, says, “If our guests can’t say, “WOW! I’m impressed!” within their first 10 minutes on campus, then we’ve failed.” A system that helps a first guest design their first trip to church is a “wow” in my book!
The “prepare” systems of your church speak to the importance of being intentional in your efforts to involve people. What will you do this Christmas to wow your visitors so they come back for more?
To explore the “Design My Visit” program of Hyde Park UMC visit: http://www.hydeparkumc.org/newcomers/1st-visit/