Over the past several months I have noticed a troubling pattern in the local church and around the country while working with other pastors and churches. I call it the 30 Day Window. Churches work diligently at attracting guests to their services. Many different methods are used; Door Hangers, Mass Mailing, Billboards, and Invitation Cards. For the technologically-adept church, Constant Contact emails, Google Ad Words, Twitter following ,and Facebook Likes, Invites are just a few of the latest tools used by a church to connect to a Internet-savvy world. A lot of money and effort is placed on getting a person inside the church. But is it working?
ROI (RETURN ON INVESTMENT)
Does using the latest method and spending a lot of money to create a special event translate into a growing, thriving church? The easy way out is to say that we are just “spreading the seed” and it is God’s duty to provide the increase. Sadly, many well-meaning churches choose this explanation and continue doing what they have always done and getting the response they have always gotten.
Because it’s a church, we believe we get by with this. A business would never be allowed to get by with using this excuse. For businesses, there is a certain ROI that must be received for every dollar that is spent. If they cannot generate a more income than out-go, they either change or die. Should the church emulate the business world? Not always and not in everything, but they should attempt to measure their ROI if possible. We will talk more about a church ROI in another post. I use it here to get your thought wheels turning.
COMING, BUT NOT GROWING
It is not that these churches are not having guests in their services, but they are not keeping them. In fact, what I am seeing in my church and in the churches of others is our guests disappear after 30 Days. One month they are there and then they just disappear, never connecting and leaving to never grace our doors again. This troubles me; hopefully, you are troubled by this as well.
YOU MUST ANSWER 3 QUESTIONS
Over the next several months, I want to explore this 30 Day Window and give my thoughts and hopefully hear from you. By working together, maybe you and I can stop this 30 day turnover and grow our churches. Do you know the answers to these three questions;
1. DO YOU KNOW WHERE YOUR GUEST CAME FROM?
If you don’t already have a Guest Services Department, First Impressions or Connect Ministry, you may want to consider developing such a ministry where your greeters do more than shake a guest’s hand and writes the name and address down. Great greeters make learning more about their guests a priority. The more you know about why the guest came, who invited them, and their needs the more ways you can connect to them.
Nelson Searcy, pastor of The Journey Church, in New York City has focused his efforts on the assimilation of guests into the church and has experienced great growth as a result. His book, Fusion, details the process they use to retain their guests and turn them into regular attendees.
2. WHAT DOES YOUR GUEST LEAVE WITH?
Put yourself in your Guest’s shoes. If you were a guest for the first time in your church, what would be important to know? Do you have Guest Packet that provides this information? Having the guest return may hinge on how many questions you can answer with the information in the Guest Packet.
3. WHAT IS YOUR GUEST FOLLOW-UP POA (PLAN OF ACTION)?
By this, I don’t mean a form letter, but a systematic process. Do you have a working process that you implement every Sunday for the First-Time Guest, the Returning Guest, and those who are approaching the 30-Day Window? If you don’t have a plan, consider implementing one soon.
Every opportunity you have to connect with your guest outside of the church should be considered. Perception Management is critical to moving beyond the 30 Day Window.
We’ll discuss Guest Follow-Up Plans, Perception Management, and more in later blog posts. I look forward to discussing this with you in the comment section below and future blogs.