By this time Easter has been forgotten and summer is quickly vanishing. For most Pastors these weeks represent a combination of trying to recover from the summer vacation that was supposed to provide a much needed rest and trying to strategize for the coming fall. By the time fall rolls around, most of the growth has seemed to wane and you begin to wonder if your efforts have paid off at all.
Outreach must always be balanced with effective assimilation. Too often hard work gets undermined by lack of adequate follow up.
While no church can or will assimilate all of their visitors, there are some laws that will help you retain a greater percentage than the norm.
Law #1 – Visitors Represent 100% of Your Church’s Growth Potential
While this seems so basic, it is important to remember that you cannot grow without new people coming in. Outside of new births, you must bring in new people to grow.
Law #2 – Visitor Retention is Far More Significant than Visitor Volume
While you cannot grow without reaching new people, you will not grow without adequately retaining visitors. Many people will visit and move on, never to return. This is normal and expected. However, the negative impact of a visitor can have compounded affects on other potential new people. If you invest time and money in attracting new people to the church you should also invest time and money in getting those visitors to return. Even in highly populated areas, visitors are not infinite.
Law #3 – It Takes People to Reach People
It has been said: “The greatest form of advertising is word of mouth.” New visitors assimilated into your church will become members and in turn invite others.
Law #4 – Set Expectations and Meet Them
Let your guests know your intentions with them and the information they give you. Whether you are aggressive in your follow up, like coming to their house the next day, or more passive, like a phone call, communicate that to them up front.
Law #5 – Be Proactive to Connect People
Churches tend to grow inward over time. Lay people especially see the church more for who is there than for whom to reach and assimilate. Make sure your leadership and programs emphasize new visitor assimilation among your ministries and lay leaders.
Law #6 – It Takes Time to Win People
If you can get a person to visit three times or more, you have a much greater opportunity to involve them in the life of your church for the long term. Don’t stop with their first visit, continue your follow up until the person is thoroughly assimilated.
Law #7 – Listen to Your Visitors
We forget what it feels like to come into a church for the first time, especially our own. What we may feel is warm and comfortable, the first time guest may feel is cold and unfriendly. Listen to what they have to say about their experience and how you can improve your first impressions and visitor follow up.
From “7 Laws of Assimilation” by Allen Ratta - 2004
The Truth Advertising Blog’s goal is to educate and equip pastors, by sharing information and ideas.
What assimilation strategies have you used that work well?
What principles can you share that have helped you be more effective in following up with visitors and assimilating them into the life of your church?
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