Top 10 Ways Churches Retain First-Time Guests

Guest retention matters. You need to not only plan for guests, but also determine how you will retain those guests. Churches that do this tend to do a much better job integrating those guests into the life of the church.

One of the key reasons I believe in church hospitality and intentional planning for guest retention is primarily theological. A new Christian or a non-Christian really shouldn’t be expected to “have their act together” and take lots of initiative to get involved. They may not have a relationship with God or potentially are a Christian and haven’t been connected to a church for a while.

God took the initiative to send Jesus for our sake. Jesus set aside his rights (see Philippians 2) to become one of us in order to save us. Why shouldn’t church leaders take the initiative to help facilitate the process of assimilation from guest to servant, regular attender, leader, or other more committed role or position in the church? (This is a part of creating a leadership pipeline too.) As you look at ways to serve your congregation and those who aren’t part of it yet, check out these ten ways churches retain first-time guests. (These can easily impact your church almost immediately upon implementation.)


Top 10 Ways Churches Retain First-Time Guests

  1. Follow-Up Immediately and Consistently (Help people get engaged in service and community)
  2. Trade a “Church is for Me” Mentality for a “Let’s Be The Church to/for Our Guests” Mentality
  3. Invest in Worship Excellence
  4. Start New Groups Frequently
  5. Share Announcements with Sufficient Details Anyone Can Understand and Avoid Insider Language
  6. Prioritize Children’s Spiritual Growth and Safety
  7. Clean Up The Facility and Eliminate Clutter
  8. Do Everything with Intentionality (especially on Sundays)
  9. Use Technology to Address the Concerns of Guests and Help Facilitate Additional Connections
  10. Make It Clear Where To Get Information Before, During, and After Guests Visit (Don’t assume its clear though. A mystery guest or Sunday secret shopper can help you figure out what is clear and what needs to be improved.)

What are some other ways churches retain first-time guests? I would enjoy reading the ideas you have and learning from your experience as well.

Need help with planning for guest retention? Let us know if you would like a Sunday secret shopper consultation. Bringing in a mystery guest can give you and your leaders an overview of what a guest experiences when worshipping at your church (not to mention what they experience before arrival). A Sunday secret shopper can also point out which of these ways churches retain first-time guests are most urgent for your church.

You may also read some of my recent articles on church hospitality tips for a near magical guest experience or the DNA of an Unfriendly Church for churches that want to create a guest-friendly culture.