How we turn second-time guests into third-time guests
According to some church growth researchers if a guest comes 3 times a church has a 36–57% chance of retaining them. My personal goal for guests is to have them worship with us at least three times over a six week period. This gives us the best chance of developing a deep connection with the individual or family.
A lot of time and energy goes into keeping our church from becoming a one hit wonder. Instead, I want our church to become the worship service they have put on repeat.
I want to share with you how we plant a desire to return to church inside someone who has come for the second time. This can be a little more of a challenge since they have already experienced a worship service two times.
Our goal for a second-time guest is to deepen the relationship. We do this by sharing the benefits of being a part of the Branches family. Communicating a sense of “there’s more to this than what I saw on Sunday.” We use a similar approach as we used with a first-time guest.
Make an offer they can’t refuse
The most important thing I do with a second-time guest is offer lunch for the next Sunday. In conversation, I say something like this
“I am thrilled to see you back with us. Had I known you were coming I would have cleared my schedule so I could take you to lunch. Would it interest you us having lunch together next Sunday? Our family is buying.”
This offer may help someone on the fence about coming back again to decide it is worth one more service. I get rejected a time or two. Sometimes it is because of a schedule conflict. Sometimes it is because they don’t want to. In my experience, if they turn you down for free lunch with a strong no they weren’t on the fence about coming back. They’ve already decided they were not returning.
For you and your church, it may be a time of coffee with the pastor such as a friend of mine does following his service. Whatever you do, the message must be that a focus is on welcoming new people. Leverage whatever you offer to get them back for one more service.
The second most important thing is to communicate we are a church built on relationships and how they can connect deeper. For us, the deeper connections develop thru Life Groups and Branches Family Prayer. It may be different for your church. But the big point is to offer the opportunity of access.
The three emails we send are our attempt to show them the value of getting connected at Branches Church.
In this email, I write about Paul’s comparison of the church to our bodies in 1 Corinthians 12. We are here to connect with one another, grow together, and live God’s purpose in our lives. The message goes out the Sunday night after they attended for the second time. I invite them to connect with a Life Group in their area. The benefit is the ability to ask questions that cannot be asked during a Sunday worship service. To get the actual message we send sign up using the link below.(clickable link)
In this message, we focus on the vision of Branches being a spiritual family. The benefit of membership is receiving Biblical direction, and overcoming the sense of loneliness in life. I use the postscript to promote Sundays service. This email goes out on the Wednesday following their second time with us in worship.
I use this email to promote that Branches is a church dedicated to prayer. I ask them to join us at our Saturday night Branches Family prayer meeting. The benefit of joining is the opportunity to learn a model of prayer they can use every day in their life. I use the postscript to ask them to send me a pressing need that I can join with them in praying for God to meet. This email goes out on Saturday morning.
The text message we send is one encouraging them to join us for service in the morning.
- Promote deeper connection points
- Make an offer they can’t refuse to get them to return
- Use postscripts to increase interaction