How Texting Can Help Church Visitor Follow-Up

It can be disheartening to see new guests visit your church but then never return. How do you get church visitors to come back? We’ve talked about how texting can help attract visitors, but texting can help church visitor follow-up too.welcome back church vi

Making a good first impression on your guests is important. You want visitors to feel welcomed and comfortable. That initial experience will determine whether they come back.

Because most church visitors won’t come back. Even growing churches only average 18 to 21 percent visitor retention.

“There is no doubt that using SMS has increased our attendance,” says Bishop Eric Freeman of the Meeting Place Church in Columbia, South Carolina. “But the bigger challenge is retention, or closing the back door.”

So how do you get visitors to stick around?

Here’s how texting can help church visitor follow-up:

1. Guest Sign In

The traditional visitor sign-in card can be upgraded. Have visitors text in to receive a link to an online visitor card. Guests get instant response and can be pointed to helpful resources. Churches get info on guests faster and can respond immediately—no waiting for volunteers or staff to process visitor cards.

2. Engage Guests

Invite guests to subscribe to your text updates. They’ll immediately get your stream of announcements, volunteer invites, sermon quotes, Scripture readings or whatever you send out. It helps guests decide more quickly if your church is the right place for them.

3. Recruitment

Getting people involved and plugged in to the life of your church is the best way to keep them coming back. Texting can be used to recruit and organize volunteers. You can put out a call for volunteers over text and also send out reminders or last minute updates.

4. Welcome Questions

New guests often have a lot of questions, so anything you can do to make it easier to get answers is a win. Texting can be less intimidating and awkward for new visitors with questions.

5. Encourage a Welcoming Environment

A big part of how guests perceive a new church has nothing to do with the pastor or the worship service. It’s all about the congregation. Are guests welcomed warmly or do they get the cold shoulder? It’s easy to forget how hard it is to be new, so use texting to give your congregation a gentle reminder to welcome new visitors.

Texting can help church visitor follow-up, so put it to work in your church.

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Kevin D. Hendricks

Kevin D. Hendricks is an avid reader, a former yo-yo man and a freelance writer living in St. Paul, Minn.

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  • KEVIN! This is so timely. I have a pastor asking me about this right now. GREAT!

    • Let us know if we can help answer any questions, Dave!

  • Great info. Our church is using text messages as a way for people watching online, or who don’t want to go to an info table, to get info about a relationship with Christ. They receive the same information you get in person just delivered electronically.

    • That’s a great way to use text messaging, Ryan. It providers your online visitors a way to not just watch, but also take a next step and engage.