Okay, here is how it really works. Church leaders and staff spend an exorbitant amount of time, energy and resources getting “IT” right every week. By “IT”, I mean their church service. Our church likes to say that they have 52 big events every year (Sunday morning church services). Can you imagine ALL that work and then the church guest cards portion of the service is mishandled or undervalued?
7 Church Guest Cards Mistakes
- Badly Designed Guest Cards- We will talk about this critical mistake in greater detail below. Crossroads Church in Ohio became the fastest growing church in the US by NOT making the same mistakes that so many churches make 52 weeks a year.
- Wrong Spot In The Service- Many churches attempt to get their church guest cards filled out during the welcome spot at the beginning of the service. I don’t know about your church service but at our church, some Sundays the room looks about 30% filled when services start. Can you imagine a first-time guest trying to work through the maze of where to be, dropping off their kids, locating the worship service, finding a seat and before they get comfortable they are asked to fill out personal information (BEFORE they have really met you)? It’s highly unlikely that this couple is going to fill out your church guest cards because even if they make it on time, they haven’t been mentally and emotionally engaged yet.
- Only Mentioned Once- Remember the times you have visited a new place? I have only been married a short time and I get lost in shopping malls with my wife. When I fly to meet with clients often I find myself hurriedly trying to get to my gate before my flight departs (especially the Atlanta-Hartsfield Airport—Geez). While I am in route, trying to find my gate often there are the lovely folks stepping out into the walkway asking if I want to sign up for SkyMiles. I know you’ve seen them (SO aggravating). I do not believe we want our church guest cards experience to feel the same way. The best way to avoid this desperate one-time push is to mention the church guest cards multiple times during the service.
- One Point Of Collection- Do you have an “invite-culture” at your church? Many churches confuse having a nice church with having an “invite-culture.” Churches with effective “invite cultures” have multiple collection points for their church guest cards. Trained leaders and staff are armed with cards each week and prior to service, they search for guests to meet, greet and welcome. Often church guests will arrive early and they have time to fill the church guest cards out prior to the service. The offering plate is another point of collection and after the service, everyone on the next steps teams is trained to fill out the church guests cards FIRST as people come forward. Those in the welcome center and those serving in children’s ministry are also trained to receive filled out church guest cards.
- Low Priority- Sunday is here, everyone is prepared, the sermon is loaded and ready, the singers have rehearsed and it’s time to put our best foot forward except… Not everyone is really ready. Because the church guest cards have been push so far down the priority list no prep work has been done because, “How hard can it be really, All you have to do is stand up and say if you are a guest please feel out this cards.” Other churches don’t look at it this way. Rapidly growing churches see this as a HUGE priority and the person mentioning the church guest cards is just as prepared as the singers and the preacher. They have rehearsed in front of others, they are articulate and they are high energy. Careful attention has been given to WHO is going to do the church guest cards time slot. “Not just anyone can do it.” You have met the right kind of person, haven’t you? Friendly, articulate, winsome, high energy and they know how to make an appeal.
- Connect Card To Need- Everyone at Family Church tears out and fills out a church guest cards because on the other side of the card is a place for prayer requests. Our church staff meets every week to pray for these cards and so there is a high value in our congregation to submit these prayer requests. As guests and new attendees see our church being responsive then they are more motivated to trust this process. Conveniently on the other side of the card is their personal information so our staff and volunteers can connect with them.
- Social Norms- Do you understand simple human psychology- No one wants to be the oddball. My dad is an executive pastor and I asked him to watch this video that I am about to show you. After you watch it you will see why Family Church each week ask EVERY person in their service to tear out and fill out their church guest cards. Watch this video and you will learn a lot.
Examples Of Church Guest Cards
Your church is creating a healthy “invite-culture”. Your digital front door is welcoming and attractive because you have learned from the best churches in the country. Your churches digital marketing and social marketing strategies are working and new guests are flocking to your church by the hundreds. Believe it or not, the hinge that much of your church growth is going to swing on is your church guest cards. To connect with people you have got to get their information.
Here are some examples of simple and effective church guest cards AND some NOT so simple church guest cards: (I’ll let you figure out which ones are simple and effecting).
Simple Is Better
Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Which is more important, the style of the card and it’s simplicity or aforementioned seven priorities? We believe both are very important for obvious reasons. After all the work and the incredible effort put toward getting guests to attend can you imagine fumbling the ball on the one-yard line? Churches make the mistake 52 weeks a year with their church guest cards and then they scratch their heads wondering “Why isn’t my church growing?”
Which part of the golf game is THE most important? Is it the drive, is it the approach shot, maybe it’s the short game or is it putting? As a competitive golfer, I can tell you THE single most important part of the golf game is the entire game. Church is the same way.
Every pastor wants to reach his community and grow his church spiritually and numerically. I hope this article encourages you with best practices from some of the most effecting churches across the country.