December brings a time of excitement, wonder, cheer, and new faces. We think that one of the biggest priorities for churches during the holiday season is welcoming those who don’t attend church on a regular basis. Not only is this a time to inspire them with faith and discipleship, it’s also a time to emphasize and capitalize on the power of connection with other people.
The holidays aren’t always warm and fuzzy for everyone. With high expectations and people feeling the pressure to be happy & festive, loneliness is more common during the holidays than you might realize. People come to church seeking community and connection, especially during this time of year. Your community can provide a safe haven for people having a difficult time this year.
Some people only come to church during the holidays. Infrequent visitors don’t want to feel pressure or guilt for not attending on a regular basis, and new visitors might feel afraid or uncomfortable in an unfamiliar setting. Consider their unfamiliarity with your church traditions such as communion, offering, sitting & standing (rituals that everyone gets used to). Provide more instruction to help them feel comfortable. This is a great time to make the church experience inviting and approachable for more than a single holiday visit, and make sure you have a great welcoming strategy in place.
Spread the word.
- Inspire people to come to holiday events using marketing tactics like social media posts, an ad in your community paper, a flyer or community board at a local coffee shop, send carolers into the community, post on your marquee.
- Encourage your members to invite a neighbor or friend to a holiday event.
Use tech to connect in your strategy
People’s expectations around technology at church have expanded beyond email and websites. Your investment in an app shows people that you care about being where they are and want to be part of their daily lives. For visitors, your church app provides a low pressure way to see what the church stands for and learn about activities that happen throughout the week.
- Make sure you have a dedicated greeting committee to welcome visitors. Consider a festive new member table with a small holiday gift for visitors. Have your greeting committee explain to visitors that the best way to stay connected with the church is through the app, and help them download it and create a profile.
- Talk about your app. Include app awareness in your paper materials and slides; don’t let anyone visit your church (members and non-members alike) without knowing that you have an app.
Give new members a special place to connect
with you in-app.
- Utilize a Connect with Us or New Members/I’m New Feature Hub a unique place that calls attention to a visitor.
- Use Forms to create a Connection card, contact card, prayer request, questions and comments to make your community accessible. Use Text-to-Act to encourage engagement with these forms.
- Emphasize the importance of people filling out their profile in app. This enables you to follow up with them after their first visit.
- Welcome Concierge makes it easy for people to provide their information even with out the app because it creates a profile via text.
- Make sure core beliefs, staff, About Us sections are up to date and easy to find.
You welcomed people in and engaged with them during holiday events. Now what? Your follow-up strategy is equally important to foster true connection.
Have a Follow-up Strategy.
- Set up to receive an email/txt notification every time a new membership/visitor form is filled out. Ensure that you contact people promptly so that they know their presence was important.
- Add interests, like Men’s Group or Sunday School to the Connection Card so that you can add them to their Profile on the admin side and know more about what they are interested in. Use these interests to segment your communications.
- Follow up in multiple ways – email, push/text message, phone call. Sometimes people need you to reach out more than once.
- Get personal. Encourage all members to take part in following up with those who they may have met or know outside of church. Growing the church community is better together.