By Danny Parmelee | Vice President of Church Planting
Easter is just around the corner. While you’ve probably already planned most things out, I want to remind you of three things that may seem obvious, but sometimes get forgotten.
- Don’t forget Jesus rose from the dead. You’re astonished at my brilliance aren’t you? Churches can work hard putting together Easter egg hunts, special music, and mass mailers only to forget proclaiming the ultimate message of eternal life in Christ. Make sure in all your planning that there is a clear message of Christ’s death and resurrection, and explain what that means for the listener.
- Expect visitors. Again, you’re probably thinking “duh!” Sincerely though, think through every part of your service with an extra eye toward the visitor. Take extra time to explain what’s happening and what’s going to happen. How long will the service be? Where are the bathrooms? What’s expected of them during communion or offering? Don’t use acronyms! “The TRLC class will be meeting on Wednesday night and you won’t want to miss it…and make sure to pick up your YL packet on the way out, also HLS leaders are here to help get you connected.” Be extra sensitive to insider language, insider jokes, and insider name dropping. When people have a sense that everyone knows what is being referenced and they don’t, they feel like outsiders. Have extra greeters and floaters to help point people in the right direction. If they can be easily identified by a t-shirt or lanyard that is a plus. The goal is to minimize confusion so that there can be a focus on #1 Above.
- Expect visitors to return. After you’ve put so much energy into inviting and hosting the visitor, you hope some will return right? Firstly, avoid treating them like a one and done visitor. Instead of saying “Now I know that some of you are just visiting this week” say something like “We love seeing all the new faces today and when we see you next week….” Think through how you can encourage them to come back. One easy way is to tell them about the series that is starting the next week. If not the series, is there some other activity or on ramp that can entice them to return or become engaged in the church. Remember, it doesn’t have to be “at” the church. Potentially there is an outreach, community service opportunity, or even social event. Lastly, find a way to capture their contact information so that you can follow up with them. You can do this by having everyone fill out a connect card or have new people pick up a special Easter gift ($5 Starbucks card produces more results than a Christian book). Overall, maintain an attitude that you recognize visitors and you want them back will go a long way.