With church services looking to re-open post-COVID-19, we have an incredible opportunity to look at things from a fresh new perspective. It may be that even guests and members that are returning to your in-person services will see things with “fresh” eyes as they have not attended a service in a few months. Now is the opportunity to increase attention and effort to the most critical 7 minutes of your Sunday worship experience.
Most pastors will think it is the preaching, and obviously, the preaching and teaching are a top priority. Life change can happen under the power of the proclaimed gospel. But what if they are checked out, tuned out, and their guard is up before the pastor preaches or the musicians play the first chord?
Ultimately you can have the best worship music and the most brilliant sermon prepared and have already lost your guest before the service begins. Those first 7 minutes can prepare your guest to be more receptive during the service. If you can create a raving fan first impressions experience with church guests in pre-service, you will have someone more likely to engage in the service and even return.
Nelson Searcy, in his book Fusion, Turning first-time guests into fully-engaged members of your church, encourages the pre-service team to focus on four things as you move guests from the street to their seats.
Stage church greeters from the parking lot to the worship area.
Welcome your guests starting in the parking lot, and continue to welcome them at the doors and throughout the sanctuary.! You cannot have too many people serving here or in the other three areas. Never have the mentality that these teams are full! These are great opportunities for new people and guests to get involved. Remember, having an opportunity for guests to get involved immediately causes them to stick, take ownership and build relationships.
Look for people that smile!!!!! You are probably limited on service opportunities because most of your ministries have been shut down or limited. Consider adding multiple services to reach more people. Multiple services will allow for social distance spacing and give more opportunities for everyone to serve. During these post-COVID-19 services, a smile may be the single most powerful thing you can do to greet your guest. You are probably not high-fiving, hugging, handshaking, or passing out programs……so smile.
Direct your Church guests towards where they need to go.
Next, have people directing. Hopefully, your signage reinforces where to go, but don’t depend on this alone. Don’t assume people know where to go. Make your service personal and take people to where they need to be. Have your greeters direct and walk guests to the nursery, restrooms, guest table, or services. Also, introduce them to someone else by name to get them connected.
Treating your guests at Church gives you a wow factor.
Treat your guest. It may be that you are not providing coffee or refreshments like usual during our COVID-19 experience. However, you can still be creative with first-time guests. Give gifts like books, mugs, t-shirts, gift cards, or individually wrapped refreshments and water bottles.
Seat your guests in the Sanctuary or worship area.
Finally, seat your guest. Have a team of people in the worship area that are helpful and lead people to appropriate seats (not down the front.) Prayerfully, once your guests are seated, they have experienced a very positive first impression. Your guest’s guard is down, and their hearts are open to experience all that God has for them during worship time!
What are you doing in these four areas to create raving fans pre-service at your church? If Jump Start Ministries can help you with our secret church guests program, call on us!