7 Ways Not to Follow Up With Church Guests

Showing up unexpectedly is not an advisable follow-up to a guest visit to your church.
Showing up unexpectedly is not an advisable follow-up to a guest visit to your church. (Lightstock )

Do not ask to rub the eyebrows of a guest who visits your church.

OK, I'll get to that strange comment shortly.

On the blog and the podcast, we have discussed extensively ways churches have followed up with guests in a positive and affirming manner. In this post, I share stories from church guests where the follow up was not received well.

Here is what church guests told us were ways not to follow up on their visits:

1. Do not show up unexpected at my house. One of the ways we gleaned this information was through a Twitter poll. The moment I asked the question, I was inundated with this response. In today's culture, most church guests really do not like an unexpected visit.

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2. Do not neglect follow up completely. A number of respondents were frustrated they had completed a guest card and never heard from anyone from the church. Many respondents said they did not return as a result.

3. Do not wait a long time to follow up. One person shared with us she heard from a church she visited four months after her visit! "I had completely forgotten I attended that church," she told us. Of course she never returned.

4. Do not act like a visit is merely obligatory. One pastor fell asleep while visiting some church guests. I am really curious how long they let him sleep.

5. Do not do a hard sell. I was amazed how many respondents shared pressure tactics from people who visited the guests. One person was pushed for 30 minutes to sign a membership card.

6. Do not send a form letter or email. We heard from one man who received a letter from the pastor. It began with "Dear Friend," and concluded with a promise of prayer for the guest. The guest saw the letter as disingenuous. We have too many tools available today to send obvious form letters.

7. Do not ask for money. Yes, some churches make this request as a follow-up to first time guests. The first letter one guest received implored him to make a commitment to the building program. It included a pledge card and a return envelope.

Bonus: The Two Strangest Responses to Our Survey

The church guest's dog ran out the door when the pastor arrived. The guest and the pastor chased the dog in the neighborhood for an hour. I really don't know the lesson from this comment.

This one is a direct quote: "A friend (church guest) had a lady rub his eyebrows when he visited the church."

I can't make these things up.

Let me hear from you.

Thom S. Rainer is the president of LifeWay Christian Resources. For the original article, visit thomrainer.com.

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