I have been doing a lot of thinking about the process of making people feel welcome and following-up on their visit; especially as it applies to a small church or church plant. I have been reading the Church Hop Blog, (I blogged about them here.) and I attended the Church Planting For Dummies Conference in Indianapolis. I have also been inspired by Seth Godin's post of follow-up.
I believe that smaller churches and church plants have to build on their strength which is relationships. So here are some things I want to include in my follow-up procedure for the new church I will be planting:
1. Follow-up begins with a good welcome and a great atmosphere. I plant to create a relaxed, casual atmosphere. Coffee, good music, casual dress, but also a welcoming team that treats people like they are being welcomed into their home. I also want to provide adequate information about the church so that people don't have to search for the information they need. This also means having an informative and constantly updated webpage.
2. An opportunity to meet the pastor. This goes to a commitment to building relationships and being approachable as the pastor. At the end of the service I want to invite people to the front (or some where else in the facility) to meet me on a personal basis. I will have to work on remembering names.
3. A handwritten note. No form letters. I know this may be tough as we grow, but I think this adds a personal touch that they will not get anywhere else. If I met them following the service, I will try to include anything we spoke about.
4. A gift card. I would like to include a gift card as a special thank you. Our church will be a church that exhibits generosity, and this extends to our visitors.
5. An invitation to a visitor's welcome meeting. Every month or every-other month we will hold a reception for visitors to check out the vision and direction of our church. We will hold this off-site (being offsite gives us the opportunity to build relationships with local vendors as well) and food will be included. At this meeting they will also learn about our membership meeting, opportunities for serving, and small groups.
6. A personal phone call. This will be visitor-focused, and will not address anything we do.
I am sure there is more than can be done. Do you have any additional steps that could help with follow-up? What do you do for follow-up in your church?