How our church found a new strategy to welcome guests


By: Aaron Summers

We noticed a new trend in our church on Sunday mornings. Fewer guests were filling out the communication cards we had in the pews. We had guests, and plenty of them, but there was no way to follow up if we did not have any information from them.

Our church likes to take gift bags to guests at their home. I have intentionally instructed our people that most people today do not want us in their home, but would receive a gift at their home. We believe in building relationships. We have more and more young families moving in the surrounding neighborhoods of our church and we want to share the love and joy of Jesus and our church with them.

But how can we do this if we don’t have their info?

There are two things we did and you can duplicate in your church.

Be Intentional 

I hosted a deacon training at the church. I offered the bait of donuts, coffee and no more than two hours of their time. They were hooked at donuts, but they came for the other also! I shared with them our need for information and intentionality. Our church has five basic sections. If you divide those into a front half and back half then you have 10 sections. The deacons volunteered to “host” a section. Their responsibilities are:

  1. Get there early.
  2. Greet everyone in your section.
  3. Gather information from guests.
  4. Go down and meet them at the altar.

This four-part process serves as a way for deacons to be involved and intentional in making sure members, regular attenders and guests feel important and welcome. My deacons are so excited to meet people and be able to come down front on occasion as people from their section respond for prayer, salvation, membership or something else. It is a joy to watch people spread their wings in ministry.

Be Simple

I read an article by Brady Shearer that addressed the issue of connection cards. After reading it –I will pause while you do– I went and discovered that our current form asked for about 35 things. No wonder people were not filling them out! We recently changed our card to simply ask for name, phone and email. We have seen an increase in cards turned in!

Keep it simple on Sunday. Maybe that’s what it means to greet one another with a kiss?  

Aaron Summers serves as the lead pastor of Coulter Road Baptist Church in Amarillo.

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