I hate filling out forms.
How many kids?
What’s your age?
The list goes on and on and on and on.
Yet there’s one form that is the key to growing your church.
Church visitor cards.
I think your church visitor cards are probably the most underrated and neglected document in your church.
We use them extensively in our church, C3 Church Hepburn Heights and have done so for many years.
These cards are more powerful than a speeding locomotive, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound … hang on!
Well maybe they’re not Superman but those simple little cards can help grow your church.
So if they’re that powerful why do churches ignore them? Here are a few reasons.
5 Reasons Why Churches Don’t Use Church Visitor Cards
People don’t use church visitor cards because they are afraid of asking people for their contact details.
The fear of the church not growing is conquered by the intimidation of asking for someone’s address and phone number.
We are terrified of people saying No.
Rejection scales our walls and holds us captive.
2. Neglectful hospitality
Churches don’t use church visitor cards because they lack an emphasis on hospitality. Their focus is more on themselves than on the people they are meant to be serving which are their visitors, their guests.
The Greek word used in the New Testament for hospitality literally means love of strangers. Churches with loving hospitality make strangers feel welcome. Now not in an overbearing awkward way but with sensitive and caring ways.
3. Instant coffee
OK, now I might be going a bit far here but stay with me.
When I see a church serving instant coffee I think it indicates that they see themselves as a family enjoying each other’s company.
It’s kinda like when your elderly grandparents say “I bought this expensive Moccona just for you.” You quietly sigh and think, “well it’s my family” and reassuringly tell them “That’s great grandma, thank you!”
However, when your local barista starts bringing out the Maxwell House then you know he really doesn’t care.
Churches are families but they are so much more than families. They are created to go beyond themselves and serve their community.
And your community doesn’t drink instant coffee when it goes out. It expects better.
4. Blind guides
When leaders lack vision to reach their community they are blind guides stumbling over offences and minuscule matters.
They lead their churches into small visions that don’t ruffle the status quo.
Ultimately they neglect the outsiders and have never considered wielding an instrument of growth like a visitor connect card.
Your Church Visitor Connect Card must be simple. Simplifying complex things is the hallmark of genuine leadership.
5. Too spiritual
Whoa, John. No way. Too spiritual. Are you kidding? How can being spiritually alive be a reason to not use church visitor cards?
Ever heard of being so heavenly minded that you are of no earthly use?
Well, some churches pray and pray and pray and fast and pray and fast and pray (you get the idea) for Jesus to bring new people and when the Lord answers their prayers and sends new people, they don’t get their details and of course can’t follow up the people the Lord has sent to them.
There’s no point in praying and believing if you are not prepared when they come to your church.
How can you make your visitor cards work for you?
The 15 minutes after the service is the most important time for church growth in your church. What you do with your visitors after the service will determine the growth of your church.
If you don’t connect with your visitors you won’t be able to do any follow up with them.
Think of the range of visitors coming to your church.
They range from people who don’t want any connection to those who are longing to be part of your church. Therefore it’s vital to cater for everyone in this wide spectrum.
Set up a guest lounge
Set up an area in your foyer for a guest lounge. Never, please, never take people into a separate room.
They will feel awkward, isolated and anxious. Instead set up a guest lounge in the place where people normally gather after your service. It doesn’t have to be super flash but make sure there are some top-shelf refreshments and amiable hosts.
Now not all of your visitors will go there and that’s OK but those who do go there will have a superb connection with your team and pastor.
Get their contact details
Now here’s THE key. The pastor and all volunteers involved with visitors need to carry a pen and a few church visitor cards.
After you connect with the visitor and the conversation comes to a natural end, take out the card and begin to write their first name on it and then ask for their contact details.
At that point, 99% of people will give you their name, address, email and best contact number.
One tip: never put those details into your phone, always use the church visitor cards so people know this is an authorised church process and not you getting leads for your next business deal!
What do you do with the cards?
Now here’s one thing to never forget: if you don’t use church visitor cards you won’t have any contact details and all you can do is pray.
Now that you’ve got their details you can send a thank you text within 24 hours. Then send a follow-up invitation text at the end of the week.
Also a courtesy call thanking the visitor for coming to the service is always a good move.
Then stand out from every other church by sending a hand written postcard.
Lastly, send a well-designed email with a link to the church’s website and Facebook page/group.
Don’t be THAT church
Believe it or not I’ve discovered that the majority of churches don’t use church visitor cards and they wonder why people don’t come back for a second visit.
May your church not be just wishing and hoping for return visitors but actively seeking their return.