February 1, 2017

Hospitality: The Big Eleven Part 1

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Doug McClintic discusses the best way to follow-up with first time visitors in your congregation using a tool called “The Big Eleven” on today’s Whiteboard Wednesday.

The Big Eleven is a tool to use during the first three weeks a first time visitor comes to your church. The Big Eleven is comprised of eleven steps, and in Part One (of three) we’ll consider the first four steps.

The first step is to send an email immediately after their visitor leaves, preferably in the afternoon that they visit. This email should come from the pastor or staff member acknowledging how glad they were of the visitor’s presence.

The second step is to send a hard copy letter, which would include a First Impressions card. The First Impressions card asks for feedback from the visitor, which helps church leaders understand how visitors perceive the church.

Some possible questions to list on a First Impressions card are:

These are the things I noticed first …

This is what I liked the best …

This is what I liked the least …

I recommend keeping a record of all the First Impression cards you receive, so that you can begin to build a profile.

Thirdly, we suggest sending the visitor an invitation to a specific church member’s home within the first week of their initial visit. Although it may seem like a stretch, if you can organize this well, this can often lead to the visitor (or visiting couple or family) developing a friendship with the member host family. Some good examples of activities could be an evening of playing cards, sharing a beverage, or enjoying a meal. The invitation itself will give a great first impression.

Finally, the fourth step is to invite visitors to Pastor’s Dessert event within the first 30 days. This Pastor’s Dessert should occur every six weeks or so, preferably at the pastor’s home, or perhaps at the church or someone else’s home. Whatever location you decide, you welcome the first time visitor to meet new people from the church and have a light dessert, in an open house kind of structure. This fourth step goes a long way to creating that first great impression for the first time visitor.

Stay tuned for Hospitality: The Big Eleven Part 2!

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