By Rev. Tim Massengale
We live in a communication-saturated society. Primarily we have the internet to thank for this. But regardless whether this is good, bad or both, the truth remains – people want to have access to information about your church, the ministries it offers and the opportunity to ask questions. Providing a means to gather and receive feedback from your guests is vital. The best way to gather information from your guests (and potential converts) is a response card in your guest packet.
Guest packets are important. They tell your guests what your church has to offer. Most of what your church provides in the way of ministries is not seen from a visit or two. So your guest packet should provide this information and also provide a response card for the following:
Contact Information: Name, address, email, phone number and more should be requested since this information is critical for effective follow-up. The best way to gather this is to have a hostess greet them in the church foyer before they enter the sanctuary. The hostess will give them their guest packet and, with clipboard in hand, say, “The pastor would love to know you better. Would you mind if I got your names?” After writing down their names, she then says, “We would also love to add you to our mailing list to inform you of future special events. Would you mind if we got your mailing address?” Having your hostess ask for contact information ensures that you will get the most responses possible.
Feedback: The hostess should point out that there is a response card within the packet. This provides guests with the opportunity to tell you about their experience at your church. Here they can request a home Bible study, a meeting with the pastor, or food assistance from your benevolence pantry. They can also share if they felt the church was friendly and how they enjoyed the worship and preaching.
Prayer Requests: Many are quite comfortable with sharing needs with the church prayer team. Every request should be acknowledged either by letter or email. You should also ask if you can check back after 30 days to see if the church should continue praying. Such contacts make good opportunities for setting up a home Bible study.
Questions: Many have questions about the church and specific questions about ministry opportunities. It is not unusual to see questions about spiritual and biblical matters. Consider making this is a part of the reply card as well.
Salvation: People visit churches for a reason. Many are fully aware they are not right with God and desire to turn their lives around. You might be surprised at how many will check a box that says, “I would like to be baptized” and “I would like to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit.”
While the context of this column is addressing guest packets, all this information should be a part of your website as well.