How do you follow-up with new worshipers in the congregation? Here are two different approaches I have encountered which may be helpful.
The first is advice from Dr. Kennon Callahan. At the Mission Leaders Network “Developing Keys to an Effective Church” event at St. Mark Lutheran Church in Roanoke, VA (Sept. 2011), Dr. Callahan suggested the following approach.
“Don’t send brochures of information. These new worshipers are looking for family, not for information. Help them to know that we can be family together. In a letter to a new worshiper, you might say:
Glad we could worship God together this morning. Glad you are a part of the family. As we can be helpful we look forward to doing so. Welcome!”
The second advice comes from the website, Church Marketing Sucks. The article entitled, “How to Use E-mail to Bring Back New Visitors,” discusses setting up an automated system to send a series of emails to people who are new to the congregation. In contrast to Dr. Callahan’s suggestions, this approach provides the new worshipers plenty of information and multiple, less personal contacts. Specifically, the author suggests:
What to Put In Your Follow Ups
After you’ve thanked your visitors for stopping by, you’ll want to give them information to make them feel as welcome and comfortable as possible, while at the same time, representing your church accurately. You may want to send:
- Greetings from your church leadership, with pictures so they can recognize a familiar face if they return.
- Service, small groups and Sunday School schedules.
- Stories of what God has been doing in your church.
- Details about upcoming events (or where to find that info—if you truly automate this process, you want to use content that doesn’t have to be updated every few months).
- Opportunities to volunteer.
- Baptism and membership procedures.
My tendency is to take the approach Dr. Callahan suggests and concentrate on short, simple, welcoming follow-up notes, but as my use of email for follow-up contacts continues to increase, I think I will start to include links in the email that lead people to the types of information suggested in the second article. Adding a simple, targeted line to the follow-up email like: “You can find out more about how the St. Michael family serves our neighbor on our website” with a link to opportunities for service, could help new worshipers discover their place in our family of faith more easily.