February 14, 2024

Proven Strategies for Guest Connections & Follow-Up – Episode 335 | The Unstuck Church Podcast

proven strategies for guest connections follow up

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Reaching & Connecting New People (Part 2)

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We’re hearing from churches in this season that although lots of new people are walking through their doors each week, they’re having trouble connecting with them and helping them “become known.”

Typically we’re a little more “big picture” on our podcast, but we felt like this was one topic where churches were really looking for some real-life ideas and examples. So for that reason, this week, we wanted to offer some very practical insights on how to connect new people who show up for the first time for a weekend service.


Since Amy and I aren’t experts in this area, I sat down with Nate Siemon, the Lead Pastor of Lifepointe Church in Fort Mill, South Carolina, and Tyler Smith, co-founder of Text in Church, to explore some of their tried and true ideas for connecting new people and helping them take next steps in your church. We discussed:

  • Thinking beyond the first visit
  • Customizing follow up for each next step
  • Using technology for guest follow-up
  • Identifying a leader for guest connections

Reaching & Connecting New People in 2024

At this free webinar, the Unstuck team & special guests will walk through proven strategies and best practices for creating intentional weekend services that reach and connect with new people.

"Asking somebody to be a part of your church and really buy into your mission to serve, to give, to contribute, etc., realistically, is going to take more than one visit." [episode 335] #unstuckchurch Click To Tweet Guest follow-up is all about creating an intentional right next step for exactly where someone is in their journey. [episode 335] #unstuckchurch Click To Tweet It’s important that we have multiple ways that people can connect with us—not just a texting option, but also a connect card, a welcome booth, etc. [episode 335] #unstuckchurch Click To Tweet Guest connections is a key area that when everyone owns it, no one does. We encourage churches to identify one person on their team who owns this area of having intentional systems for engaging with new people in order to see them happen. [episode 335]… Click To Tweet
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This Episode is Sponsored by SecureGive:

Giving presents challenges for growing churches. Cumbersome donation forms and dated administrative features of most giving systems leave you lacking the tools you need. But, SecureGive’s 7-in-1 system makes donating easy and secure, provides in-depth analytics and management tools for your team, and integrates with your Church Management System. It’s the system that scales to fit the needs of growing churches.

For our Unstuck listeners, SecureGive is offering 6 months of free software to get your church started. Visit SecureGive.com/unstuck to learn more.

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Sean (00:02):

Welcome to The Unstuck Church podcast, where each week we are exploring what it means to be an unstuck church. Have you ever felt frustrated that not many new people fill out your new guest card? Maybe you’re like other pastors, and you know you’re seeing a lot more new people in your church than you’re actually connecting with. The practice of connecting with new guests can often be frustrating at best. On this week’s podcast, Tony and Amy continue our series on reaching and connecting with new people with some practical tips on how you can better connect with new people and help them feel known. Before we get there, though, if you’re brand new to the podcast, head to theunstuckgroup.com/podcast and subscribe to get our episode show notes. When you do, you’re gonna get resources to go along with each week’s episode, including our Leader Conversation Guide and some bonus resources you won’t find anywhere else. Again, that’s theunstuckgroup.com/podcast. Now, here’s Tony.

Tony (00:57):

Giving presents challenges for growing churches. Cumbersome donation forms and dated administrative features of most giving systems leave you lacking the tools you need. But SecureGive’s 7-in-1 system makes donating easy and secure and provides in-depth analytics and management tools for your team. It also integrates with your church management system. It’s the system that scales to fit the needs of growing churches. For our Unstuck listeners, SecureGive is offering six months of free software to get your church started. You can visit securegive.com/unstuck to learn more.

Amy (01:39):

Well, Tony, I think you have been as busy as I’ve been the past several weeks. I mean, this new year, we just hit the ground running.

Tony (01:46):

We certainly have.

Amy (01:47):

I don’t know if I’m in California or if I’m in Cape Coral or if I’m in Houston, Pennsylvania, right now.

Tony (01:53):

Well, it sounds like you just were working with a great church in Florida.

Amy (01:56):

Oh my goodness. Yes, they’re a great church. I was, I, you know, I, I told the pastor I knew Hurricane Ian hit but actually be in that community and see the continued devastation. But here’s a church.

Tony (02:08):


Amy (02:08):

That year over year is up 48, 49% in their weekend experiences. They’ve got a great staff, diverse staff, and this is a church that just hired us to do the staffing and structure. Because you can imagine with growth like that, you’re just trying to cover all the grounds, make sure things are running. But we had an opportunity just to step back and figure out, as this growth continues, what’s the best way we can structure our team for not just the next six months but the next couple of years. So, it was great, and it was nice to get outta Minnesota this winter and be in Cape Coral, Florida.

Tony (02:42):

Well, that’s good because I know one of our teammates was trying to get to Fargo this week and couldn’t make it. The flight got canceled.

Amy (02:51):


Tony (02:51):

So I’m glad you were going the opposite direction, Amy.

Amy (02:54):

That’s why I’m the, the director of consulting because I can send myself to Cape Coral and I can send Sean to Fargo. Not that Fargo’s a bad place, it’s just Winter. Well, anyway, I guess we should get onto our podcast today. But, we are going to continue our series, Tony, on reaching and connecting new people, and it looks like we’ve got some interview conversations lined up for today’s episode. So, why don’t you explain where we’re going in today’s conversation?

Tony (03:21):

Yeah, so one of the issues that we’re hearing from churches in this season is that although they’re having tons of new people walking through the doors each week, they’re having trouble connecting with them and helping them become known. So, typically, we’re a little bit more big picture on our podcast, but we felt like this is one of those topics where churches were really looking for some real-life ideas and examples. So, for that reason, we wanted to offer some very practical insights on how to connect new people who showed up for the very first time for weekend service at your church. And since neither of us really are experts in this area, I sat down with Nate Siemon, the Lead Pastor of Lifepointe Church in Fort Mill, South Carolina, and Tyler Smith, who’s the co-founder of Text in Church, to explore some of their tried and true ideas for connecting new people and helping them take next steps in the church.

Amy (04:18):

And by saying that neither one of us are experts, we’re, we’re just not afraid to admit we don’t know everything. Is that what you’re saying?

Tony (04:24):

That’s right, Amy. You got it. So with that, though, the very first conversation we’re gonna have I am talking with Pastor Nate Siemon. And I decided to reach out to Nate specifically because when I had a chance to serve their church a few years ago, I heard great things about their Try5 strategy. And this is a strategy they use for encouraging new guests to keep returning to the church. But I’ll let him explain it in his own words. So here’s my conversation with Nate.

Tony (05:01):

Nate, when I was engaging with your team, you mentioned this concept called Try5 for people who are new to Lifepointe. So, can you explain what, what is Try5 and how is it helping you connect new people?

Nate (05:12):

Yeah, you know, Try5 really came from a frustration I think a lot of churches experience. We realized our front door is wide open. We were seeing tons of first-time guests attend Lifepointe, but we were not seeing the, the nutrition from that. And so we just had an honest conversation. We got a big front door, but our back door’s even bigger. And so we just had a philosophy change. Try Five really kind of came from this belief that it’s, it’s gonna take somebody more than one visit, more than one try to fully see who we are as a church. And the truth is we live in a consumer-driven culture. Every organization is vying for somebody’s business, if you’ll, and so we just actually baked it into our discipleship process. We started thinking about the, the discipleship pathway differently. And we said, man, what if we actually created a, and I know some of the viewers might not like this, but we actually created a consumer-driven product, if you will, for somebody who’s coming to our church more than just one time. We do great for first-time guests. But actually five times and I don’t think there’s anything magical about the number. I know some churches will do three or Try7. We just felt like, man, if you come five times, you’re gonna get a great 360-view of who we’re as a church. And that’s sort of where Try5 came from.

Tony (06:28):

Nate, I think a lot of people are unwilling to let you know they are a guest at a church service. I know I would be that way. I’m just kind of a natural introvert, and especially when I’m going someplace new, I don’t really like to let people know, “Hey, I’m new. I’m, I’m here.” So, how do you encourage new people to communicate with you when they start to engage Try5?

Nate (06:48):

Yeah, yeah, absolutely. That’s definitely a tension to manage. I don’t know if it’s a problem anybody will ever solve. But so, we, number one, we, we do things from the parking lot. We’re expecting first-time guests. We have special parking for those that are willing to identify that. Then, when you come into our actual building, we have a “New Here, Start Here” area. And again, not everyone’s gonna identify, but the New Here, Start Here team walks around, basically helps ’em get their kids checked in, answers any questions that they have. They’re not asking them to fill out anything. It’s just a, a friendly person walking them around. And then, of course, when they get into the auditorium, every single Sunday, our host will talk about Try5, and we have a card that’s designed in the seat back and a QR code where they can do it digitally if they don’t wanna do a physical copy, where they’ll literally hold the car up, the card up. And they’ll talk about, “Hey, if this is your first time here, we have this thing called Try5.” And then, they’ll walk ’em through what it is, and we have fun with it. I think that’s another big thing. You know, we’ll, we’ll say some things like, “Hey, how many of you went on a first date, and it wasn’t good?” You know, people raise their hands, and we’ll say, “Man, aren’t you grateful for a second date?” And then, we’ll, we’ll use that tongue in cheek. We’ll say, “Well, hey, maybe today we’re, we’re better than we really are. You’ll never find out unless you come back for a second try.” Or, “Hey, maybe we’re not that good today. Come back next week, you know, and see we’re, we’re any better.” So, we have fun with it. We play with it, but I would say it really starts even before somebody gets in the auditorium, trying to make it as easy as possible.

Tony (08:15):

So, help me under understand, as people engage with Try5, what are your systems as, as the team at the church for following up with people as they’re going through these five visits? And then what does the communication look like a after they complete the Try5 visits?

Nate (08:33):

Yeah, you said it, Tony. The, the backend is everything. You can do a Try5 process, but if there isn’t some sort of backend system that’s gonna support it, it might all be for naught. So, what we’ve identified, and of course, we’ve been doing this for about seven years now. We’ve really gotten into the psychology of what does somebody wanna know, in our context, after their first try, second, third, fourth and fifth. And so when you, when you identify, this is my second, third or fourth, you’re entered into a backend process queue. We use Planning Center, and a email is automatically sent out that has a video in it. And it’s a video specific for that try. So, real quickly, our Try1, the first video is a welcome video from me. I share the vision, the values, who we’re as a church, and then, I invite them to continue in the Try5 process. And we also talk about their kids. That’s another big one. They wanna know in that first try, what are you doing with my kids? What do you have to offer? The second one is we’re inviting them to our Discover Lifepointe. So, if I was to, tell you what’s the goal of Try5 very clearly, the next step after the fifth try is to come to, it’s a 50 minute; we do it on Sunday morning during our, our service times. Come discover who we are as a church. So, all of Try5 is really geared towards you attending Discover Lifepointe, that’s introduced in Try2. Try3, we found is the critical cross, crossroad path. Where if somebody comes one time that might be on a whim. They’re coming a second time, now they’re a little interested. They’re coming a third time, they, they really wanna be there. And so it’s kind of a crossroad try. And so we wanna talk at that one about how to get connected, specifically in two ways: through life groups, we explain what our life groups are, and then serve teams. So, we’re gonna introduce that and, and we give them ways to actually sign up if they’re interested. The fourth try is missional engagement. We found that people really wanna know, what are you doing? How are you making the city better? What are doing in the local schools? What are you doing around the world? So try four, we’re now sharing the bigger picture of who we’re as a church. And then, Try5 is a thank you video from me. And I will say, “Hey, if you’ve not attended our Discover Lifepointe, that’s your next step. So, we try to be really clear with each step.

Tony (10:42):

Yeah, I love that intentionality. And related to that, then, I do, I mean, do you have some data? Do you have some stats to confirm that the Try5 experience is really working for Lifepointe and for the new people that you’re trying to connect to the church?

Nate (10:59):

Yeah, you know, there, there, there’s a couple things. One is language. It’s really neat now. We have this Try5 culture where in our Discover Lifepointe gathering, we’ll say things like, “Hey, how many of you are in your, you know, you did Try5?” And when people film testimony videos, they’ll say things like, “Yeah, I was on my third try.” So, it’s that, that’s one indicator that this is good, like people are using that language. The second data point, though, is just pure numbers, right? So in 2019 to 2020, we grew by about 20% in our weekend attendance. We’ll skip 2020. We’ll forget that year ever happened. 2021 to 2022, we grew by 35%. And then, our numbers for this past year, 2022 to 2023, we grew, we grew by 48%.

Tony (11:46):


Nate (11:47):

So seeing, yeah, seeing that that percentage continue to grow, we we’re acknowledging that our back door is shrinking, which is, which is really exciting. Like, for example, this past year we saw 2,789 first-time guests. And out of those, ’cause those are guests that identified, “I’m, I’m a guest. I’m doing Try5.” We had a 35% Try5 completion.

Tony (12:12):


Nate (12:13):

So 35, yeah, 35% of those people actually went through all five of the steps, which, which we’re pleased with.

Tony (12:20):

Yeah. That’s incredible, Nate. I love hearing, again, the intentionality about the process that you’re encouraging people to take, obvious next steps that are confirmed through the communications that happen. But then, the fact that you’re actually measuring to confirm that the strategy’s working. Rather than just assuming that the strategy’s working, you have some data to make sure that it’s working. So, I love that. Any other encouragement you would offer to pastors and church leaders as they’re considering more intentional methods and strategies to connect new people to their churches?

Nate (12:58):

Yeah, you know, my encouragement is, for me at least, it was a blind spot. You know, I think I put way too much expectation on somebody to attend one time. And boy, we had a great one-time plan for them. But make, but asking somebody to be a part of your church and really buy into your mission to serve, to give, to contribute, realistically, I mean, it’s gonna take more than one visit. So I would say whatever you do in your discipleship pathway, really think about somebody’s first three, five, seven times. And then, the final thing I would encourage your viewers with is we’ve learned that the, the first-time visitor today, I think, wants to be challenged. I think they bite onto that. It’s bite-size. It’s not too big, but it’s enough to go, “Okay, I’ll take you up on this. I’ll see what this Try5’s all about.” And for us, it’s just been real successful. So, whatever you do, I would say just think a little bit bigger than just a one-time visit.

Amy (13:57):

Tony, so great to hear from Pastor Nate. I got to serve that church after you did the planning, and again, another great leader and a great team. So fun to hear him share some of their best practices. And I actually love Nate’s first date analogy and the practical Try5 strategy that he outlined. You know, with the accompanying emails, taking people deeper into what Lifepointe is all about after each, you know, air quote, try. It’s a perfect example, I think, of creating an intentional right next step for exactly where someone is in their journey. And he briefly mentioned something we’ve talked about many times here on the podcast, Tony, which is that an intentional emphasis on kids is a huge motivator, too. And overall, I really think a strategy like this is something really every church has the ability to implement.

Tony (14:43):

Yeah, it’s interesting, especially with kids ministry, Amy, we have seen in some of our previous research that what churches are doing around kids’ ministry can sometimes be a bigger motivator for growth in the church than what’s happening in the services for adults even. So, that’s very important. But, Amy, as I was think, considering that conversation, I think this is my primary takeaway, rather than just focusing on a great first-time experience, Lifepeoint is more focused on getting new people to come back after a great first-time experience. And, and that’s what’s helping them close their back door when before people were slipping through the cracks because maybe the next step ask was too big for them.

Amy (15:28):


Tony (15:28):

But by breaking down the steps and encouraging repeat attendance, they’ve seen real results. And we’ll be sure to include a link to Lifepointe’s Try5 strategy for those of you who would like to learn more. But, now, let’s move on to my conversation with Tyler from Text in Church. For those of you who aren’t aware, Text in Church creates easy-to-use communication tools for churches to connect with their members and their guests beyond Sunday mornings. In this interview with Tyler, we’ll dive into some of the practical ways that using these tools can help new guests feel known, feel noticed and feel cared for.

Tony (16:12):

Tyler, I know many churches Unstuck team works with are using Text in Church. But before we jump to, jump into some specifics, how does Text in Church actually work?

Tyler (16:22):

Yeah, so what we find is most churches really struggle to communicate consistently with their people. And, oftentimes, that that feels ’em, feeling like disconnected. And so, Text in Church, we create easy-to-use communication tools to help churches to be able to connect with their members and their guests beyond Sunday mornings, helping them to feel known, noticed and loved. And so what that looks like is sending emails and sending text messages and following up. We use automated workflows a lot for our guest follow-up. And so leveraging technology with just basic human decency and, and, and human psychology of knowing that if we can connect with people, they have a much better chance of coming back. And so, it’s just an engagement tool. It’s, it’s, it’s not rocket science by any means but an awesome way for us to be able to connect with our, our members in the community.

Tony (17:04):

That’s great. So, maybe just walk us through a scenario, an example of a church, how they’re leveraging Text in Church, either during the services to engage with first-time guests or to encourage them to come back for a second or third visit. What does that look like?

Tyler (17:21):

Yeah, and honestly, those two are very, very connected when, when, when we think about it. So, during worship, one of our main objectives, one of our main goals when we have someone new experiencing our, our worship is we want to connect with them. We need to gather their contact information so we can continue that conversation. And so during worship, that looks like having a QR code up on the, the projector. It has a, a QR code on, on maybe some of the, the, the bulletins that are passed out or maybe on your seat back. It also could look like texting into a keyword. So “Text ‘welcome’ to the telephone number that’s on the screen right now.'” And then, we can start conversations through that process. And so, once we then gather that information, and one of the keys to that is, is being intentional, right? So knowing that every Sunday you have new folks in the sanctuary in their worshiping with you. And so we wanna make sure that we’re, we’re clear and we call that out, that, “Hey, if you’re new here, we would love for you to connect with us, and here’s how to do that.” So give clear instructions in doing that. But then, once that contact information is, is in your possession, now you have the ability to connect with them in lots of different ways. And so that’s what we would call an automated workflow, but that’s just scheduling out a series of steps. So, so sit down one time and figure out what is the perfect way. If we had unlimited time and resources, what would be the perfect way we could follow up with every single first time guest that we have? And then, we can actually build systems and use technology, leverage technology to help us to do that. So, we can now be sending ’em emails and text messages. We can make phone calls to those folks. We can send handwritten notes to them. We can drop by their house with a small gift. We can have a gift at the back of the sanctuary or a welcome center. So there’s so many different ways we can do it, but we have to be intentional. And so once we gather that contact information, now the the possibilities are really limitless. We just wanna make sure that we have the systems in place to be able to do that week after week.

Tony (19:03):

I love that because the system’s in place and then no one falls through the cracks. So that’s, that’s a good thing.

Tyler (19:09):


Tony (19:09):

So, Tyler, let me just ask, I know a lot of churches, they wanna find out who’s new in the service so that they can follow up. Do you see that people are more inclined to text than they are to fill out a contact card, as an example?

Tyler (19:24):

Yeah, you know what? I think it depends on who you’re talking to, even within a family let me give an example of, of my family. If you asked me to fill out a card, I will never do it for two reasons. One, that’s just not who I am. But two, if even if I did, you wouldn’t be able to read it. I have terrible handwriting. If you ask my wife, “Hey, would you fill this out? Or would you rather text in?” Every time she’s gonna grab the card, and she’s gonna fill it out. She’s got beautiful penmanship, and it just makes sense for her. So, so everyone is different. And so I think it’s really important that we have multiple ways that people can connect with us. I think there’s a, a ton of people out there that are gonna prefer to scan a QR code. Make sure they don’t have to talk to anybody. They’re just gonna fill it out privately. That’s wonderful for, for that person. And then, there’s the other person, no, they wanna come by a welcome booth. They wanna have a conversation, and then they’ll fill that out right there while they’re talking to you. So, I think it’s really, really important that we have multiple ways that we’re able to connect with people, recognizing that we’re not all the same. Some people are coming to, to church this, this, this morning for a, a large variety of reasons. Some are looking for companionship, some people are just broken right now, and they’re, they’re needing just some space. They want some quiet, and they don’t wanna talk to anyone. And we wanna be, be, be cognizant that we have all of those people every single Sunday coming in to, to worship with us.

Tony (20:31):

Yeah. And similarly, when it comes to follow-up communications, I know churches are doing handwritten, handwritten notes still. They’re emailing, phone calls, home visits. Seriously, some people are still doing home visits, so don’t laugh about that. But when it comes to the follow up communications, when they have visited on Sunday and we’re trying to follow-up on Monday or sometime during the week, what’s most effective there? Is it texting? Or should we be using multiple forms of communication there as well?

Tyler (21:03):

Yeah. So, so as the founder of Text in Church, like you would assume my obvious answer is gonna be like, texting is the answer. I think it’s part of the answer. I don’t think it’s the whole answer. I think we need to be intentional and leverage all of those channels, like one’s not superior than the other. They’re just different. They have their strengths. They have their weaknesses. You know, so I, I think it’s really important that we do all of ’em. One of them is, is making phone calls. And so many people now are like, “Oh, it doesn’t work because no one answers their phone anymore.” Well, that’s true. Most people don’t answer their phone when it’s a, a strange number calling them, but they still get voicemails. And everyone loves to hear from a pastor checking in on them, like, that feels good. And so, I wanna encourage you to do that even if you’re not getting responses. Just know that at some point they’re gonna check their voicemail. There’s some people that argue like, “Oh, well, I’ve got 27 un, unlistened to voicemails.” There’s gonna be a day where you’re gonna listen to them. No one deletes a voicemail without ever hearing it. So, I think it’s a, a crucial step. So I, I’m not gonna tell you go all in on, on texting, but, but I do think it’s an important part of it. You know, let, lemme just rattle off a couple stats as to why. Text messaging: a 98% open rate within three minutes.

Tony (22:07):


Tyler (22:07):

So, imagine the effectiveness of that. But I think a, a more important stat than that is texting has a 45% response rate. And that’s honestly what we’re really after. We don’t care if they read an email. They read a text. We wanna engage with them. And so 45% of people are now gonna write back, and that’s an opportunity for ministry. So, so don’t think of this as just like blasting out communication. What we’re trying to do is build relationship with these people so they’re more likely to come back to church, more likely to build a relationship with Christ. Like it’s all intertwined. And when we recognize that these are simply tools to do ministry, I think, I think the, we, we can really unlock a lot of power and potential in that.

Tony (22:45):

Tyler, Tyler, the reason I wanted to talk with you is because so many churches are using Text in Church to engage with first-time guests. Any idea how many churches are you using your service?

Tyler (22:56):

Yeah, we have over 8,000 churches using Text in Church, and we also launched a new product called Talk in Church. So it’s a phone system for churches, and we have over a thousand churches using that at this point, as well. So, so we have, on any given week, we have about 30,000 church leaders logging into our system so that they can connect and communicate with, with their communities.

Tony (23:15):

So, as you’re working with all of those churches, are you seeing any best practices when it comes to effectiveness in connecting new people to the church?

Tyler (23:25):

Yeah, I think especially when it comes to, to connecting with new folks, one of the, the best practices, one of the, just the cornerstone, we actually have a, a framework around this. We call it the cornerstone method, is having and designing a welcome talk that’s very intentional. So, recognizing we have new people here today, and we wanna welcome them. And then we need to connect with them in some way, way. Share why you love this place, right? Like, help them to, to see themselves here long term. And then, you just have to simply tell ’em why you’re doing this. So, if you want them to fill out a, a handwritten paper card, that’s fine. Tell them that, and then you need to tell ’em the next step is why. Because if you don’t tell them why, and I think this is really, really critical. Like we’re in, in today’s age, people are skeptical. And so if you don’t tell me why you want my contact information, well, then I’m just gonna fill in all those blanks, and, and that’s not gonna end well. So, what we wanna do is we wanna tell them like, “Hey, I would love to get your contact info so that we can send you a message. I I love to have coffee with all of the new folks at our church, and I would love to do that with you sometime in the coming weeks.” And so, just tell them what that is. Or maybe it’s, a, a lot of churches use like an ethical bribe. So, “Hey, when you fill this out, we’re gonna give, donate $5 to this charity.” I think that’s beautiful. But what we just wanna make sure that we’re, we’re explaining why we’re gonna do it, what we’re gonna use their information for and what those next steps start to look like. And when you do that, now, you’re gonna start to gather more information. And so, I think that’s, that’s the critical step is one, we have to collect contact information because otherwise all we can do is, is hope and pray that people come back. And, and we know that that’s not the best solution. Does it work? Sometimes, of course, it does. But if we can be intentional, we can connect with so many more people. Help more people in our communities, build relationships with Christ, and I think that’s, I think that’s really what we’re, we’re after here. And so being intentional with that welcome talk. And then, here’s the other part. Don’t just do it at the beginning. So we call it a welcome talk, but it should also happen again at the end of service. Because if someone won’t give you their contact information, there’s really only one reason why: they don’t trust you yet. And, and why should they, right? They just walked into the building. It’s a new space. We do a bunch of weird stuff at church if you’re, if you’re unchurched. So, they’re feeling uncomfortable. They’re not gonna give their contact info most likely right away. But now by the end, we had awesome worship. We had a great sermon. Our kids looked like they’re having fun at, at, at kids’ church. And so now, all of a sudden, it opens up a doorway, and they’re like, “You know what? Yeah, let’s, let’s do this. Let’s share our contact information. They’re gonna give us a coffee mug. I needed a coffee mug anyway, right?” Like, whatever that might look like. We wanna give ’em as many opportunities, as many chances to be able to share that info. And then, you have to do it every single week. It doesn’t do any good if you only do this on the first Monday or the first Sunday of the month. We have to do it every single week, time after time, knowing that every Sunday we have first-time guests, and it’s our, it’s our obligation. It’s our calling to connect with those folks so that we can bring them into the, into the fold.

Tony (26:11):

That’s fantastic. Tyler, I love that—such practical insight to help church leaders. Anything else you want to add before we wrap up today?

Tyler (26:20):

You know, Tony, I would just say if, if there’s any way, if this makes sense, if this is helpful to anybody, you can connect with me. If you just go to textinchurch.com, click on our, our support button there. I’ll see all those emails. So, I’m happy to connect with you if there’s ways that I can, we can serve. We want to. Also, if, if this content, like, if that, if the concept of following-up and, and the other part that I, I didn’t even really mention is, is, is follow-up has to be long, long term, right? It’s not, it’s not just adding ’em to a newsletter. It’s not just one mailing. It, it has to be long term. So, we teach a six-week follow-up process. And, and if that is interesting to you, if you just go to text in, textin.church/unstuck, if you’ll go there, what we’ll do is we’ll actually give you our six-week guest follow-up templates. So, you’ll have everything you need. You can take ’em as your own. You can copy and paste them. Do whatever you need to to make that fit for your church. It’s emails. It’s, it’s phone scripts. It’s text messages. It’s, it’s everything you’re gonna need, handwritten note, scripts, even it, everything you need to be able to do follow-up exceptionally well. And so, I know you’re, you’re learning all kinds of wonderful things over there at, at, at The Unstuck Group, but this is just one more way and you can supplement this into what you’re already doing. Or if this isn’t a strength of yours, this is something that you can just literally copy and paste in and you can be doing guest follow-up exceptionally well this next Sunday.

Amy (27:43):

Oh, Tony, I loved that conversation, and I really liked what Tyler said about using technology to create systems so that no one falls through the cracks.

Tony (27:51):

That’s right, Amy. You know, Tyler is the real deal because even as the co-founder of a text message company, he emphasized how important it is that we have multiple ways that people can connect with us. It’s not just a texting option but also a connect card, a welcome booth, and so on. We have to cater to as many people as we can. However, it’s, it really stood out to me that text messages had a 98% open rate within three minutes and a 45% response rate. And if you pulled pastors and asked, “How would you like to have a guaranteed follow-up with 98% of your guests and know that almost half of them would actually respond?” I think they’d be pretty excited about that idea.

Amy (28:35):

Yeah, definitely. You know, I have a marketing background, and a 45% response rate is huge. And I can pretty much guarantee you won’t see a response rate like that from a connect card. And I appreciated these two tips from Tyler. First, make sure you tell guests exactly why you’re asking for their information and what you’re gonna use it for, right? I think, like you said, we’re skeptical in today’s day and age. What are you gonna do with my information? And then, second, make the ask at the beginning of the service. But then again, at the end after of course you’ve built up some trust and credibility with them.

Tony (29:09):

Yeah, Amy, those, those are great highlights. And like Tyler said, if you wanna learn more about Text in Church and what they offer, you can get their free six-week guest follow-up templates at textin.church/unstuck.

Amy (29:25):

Well, Tony, that was fun. I like having guests on the podcast, but do you have any final thoughts before we wrap up today’s conversation?

Tony (29:31):

Yeah, we’ve heard lots of really practical, great advice today. And I would add just one more thing when it comes to this idea of guest follow-up. This is one area that when everyone owns it, no one owns it. And that’s a huge miss. So, as great as all these ideas are and we need systems, I highly encourage churches to identify one person on their team who owns this area of intentional systems for engaging with new people and helping those people actually come back and visit us again and eventually connect the church and take a step towards Jesus. And as we mentioned last week, we’re going to dive deeper into this topic of reaching and connecting with new guests at our upcoming webinar. It’s called Reaching and Connecting New People in 2024, and that webinar’s on February 29th. You can learn more and register to join us at that free event using the link in your show notes.

Sean (30:28):

Well, thanks for joining us on this week’s podcast. As Tony mentioned, we’d love to have you join us on our upcoming free webinar happening February 29th on reaching and connecting new people to your church. To register and learn more, follow the link in your show notes, and if you don’t yet have the show notes, just go to theunstuckgroup.com/podcast to register. Next week, we’re back with another brand new episode. Until then, have a great week.

Tony Morgan

Tony is the Founder and Lead Strategist of The Unstuck Group. Started in 2009, The Unstuck Group has served 500 churches throughout the United States and several countries around the world. Previously, Tony served on the senior leadership teams of three rapidly growing churches including NewSpring Church in South Carolina. He has five published books including, The Unstuck Church, and, with Amy Anderson, he hosts The Unstuck Church Podcast which has thousands of listeners each month.


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