What will you do today to serve your guests from last weekend's gathering?
By developing and implementing a simple three-step process of following up with your guests, you take the guesswork out of making people matter. And for churches that serve 500 people or less, here is a system that plays to your strengths. While you may not have the resources of larger churches, you can give guests the gifts of personal attention and gratitude.
Send a handwritten thank you note
Grab your list of visitors, sit down for 30 minutes and write a personalized thank you note to each guest. Address them by their first name, thank them for being part of your gathering, and let them know that you hope to see them again soon. One name, two sentences, simple as that.
Why take the time to do this? A handwritten note is more meaningful than an email. And taking the time to write to another person reinforces the value of helping your guests follow Jesus.
Pro Tip - if you have someone's email address but not their mailing address, send an email asking for their address so you can drop something in the mail to them. And then make changes to your contact management system so guests can give you their mailing address up front.
Invite them to dinner
One advantage that small-to-midsize churches have is the ability to provide more personalized contact between guests and church leadership. A few days after sending your thank you note, invite guests to dinner at your house.
Do this once a month, make it simple and focus on connecting relationally. Take a few minutes over dessert to tell the story of your church, to thank your guests for the opportunity to help them follow Jesus and invite them to take a next step.
Pro Tip - if you regularly host a small group in your home, schedule this newcomer dinner during your small group time. It connects newcomers to people who are already active in the church. It models hospitality to your group. And it demonstrates the priority of loving outsiders well.
Help them take a next step
During the dinner or in a follow-up email, ask your guests to take a clear next step. You have demonstrated your concern for them and expressed your gratitude for their involvement to this point. By showing up at your house, they have already demonstrated interest in your church. So it makes sense to strike while the iron is hot and invite them to follow Jesus with you.
Pro Tip - you have already demonstrated the value of connecting relationally by inviting guests to dinner in your home. Why not make the next step an invite to a small group? And given the value most guests put on connecting with the lead pastor, consider inviting them into your small group.
Do the next right thing
Go down to the grocery store, find the section that has birthday cards and look for a box of 100 blank thank-you notes. Stop by the post office and by a roll of stamps.
When you get back to your office, sit down with your guest list from last weekend and take 30 minutes to write thank-you notes. If you don't have mailing addresses, email your guests and ask for them; let them know you want to drop something in the mail to them.
Don't wait to do this tomorrow. Go make it happen right now.
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