by Steve Dunn

 Every church seems to attract visitors at Christmas time. They are not necessarily considering joining your church, but the nature of their welcome may bring them back at a later, less hectic time, to explore a relationship. Here are some practical ways to communicate who you are as a church and what you are trying to do as a church.

1. Put your best worship foot forward: This is a time when you want your worship services to be genuine–reflecting your love and commitment to God–and also to be excellent. Your regulars may be very forgiving of being unprepared and worship offerings are disjointed and directionless, but visitors are not. Poorly prepared and conducted worship says, “These people are not serious about this.”

2. Designated Greeters: This goes beyond smiling ushers who hand out bulletins or outgoing greeters who say “hi” and then turn their attention to the next person. Prepare sets of people who will talk with people beyond the door–maybe engaging them during the awkward time (for visitors) before worship begins, and who try to learn about connections, and offer ways to make the experience more accessible.

3. A gift to the visitor that says “come back.” You will rarely have time or opportunity to connect with them in the days afterwards until maybe after the new year–but a well conceived gift that might truly be useful to your visitor. (This is rarely little booklets but maybe a coffee cup with a packet oh hot chocolate.) You know your people, use your imagination.

4. Be prepared to spend time “on Sunday morning” with someone needing counsel and prayer. You probably should do this year round.

5. Introduce them to your pastor. As you introduce them, tell them something you have learned from your conversations with them that might help the pastor connect more quickly.

(c) 2013 by Stephen L Dunn


About sdunnpastor

I am the Director of Bridgebuilders Ministries, the Intentional Interim of the Newport PA Church of God, and adjunct professor for Winebrenner Theological Seminary. I am the creator of Bridgebuilders Seminar, helping churches reach their unchurched neighbors.
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  1. Steve:

    Thanks for this reminder. Christmas will bring many visitors, and the critical question I keep asking churches is this:

    What is the comeback event or sermon series to get that return visit in January?

    Last Christmas, i was the church visitor – i was ready to invite a friend the second week, in part because their hospitality was excellent. I tell the story here:

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