Saturday, March 15, 2014

What Guests Need to Know About You

In the last blog I talked about what you need to know about the 21st century guest. In this blog there is something they need to know about you. 

Many churches have brochures for first time guests with their "hundreds" of ministries. Guests often open it up, get overwhelmed and close it. They will later find it several months later when cleaning out their cars. Other churches have the really cool packet with tons of information. They may even give out a coffee mug with candy and more information. 

We have not had money to make cool packets or start hundreds of ministries. Our story at Thrive is that we have be very, very focused. We do everything on a shoe string budget. So, we give our guest 3 things. They get a life book as a gift as they enter. In that book a connection card and a Growth Track card with our 101-401 is found. 

We focus on helping first time guests understand their clear next step. We let them know where and how to return the card several ways. Our VIP hosts show them. I open up with that next step in my message. They get the next step info in email and a letter so they understand that fully. 

Once they get to 101 we focus on helping them again with next steps. Our whole system is set up to help them connected into the life of our church. 

Does everyone know what their next step is at your church? 
How are guests taught their logical next steps? 
Are your steps clear or do you have 70 classes leading in different directions? 

Make clear next steps. Over communicate those steps. Make each step easy and attainable. Help them personally go through each step. 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

3 Truths about the 21st Century Guest

•The 21st century visitor: 3 Truths About Guests Who Come through Your Door

Pastors and Church Leaders, READ UP:

Our generation has more people who are skeptical and indifferent toward church as well as more people who are really hungry for the truth. 
There was a shoe salesman who went to a small village where no one had shoes. He phoned back and said, "No one here has shoes. No opportunity here." Another shoe salesman went and phoned back, "No one has shoes here. Lot's of opportunities here."
It's all about perspective. America is more like the setting in the book of Acts than ever before. There are more unchurched than we have seen in our Country's history. We have to be aware of our culture and meet our culture where they are at with the Gospel. We have our greatest opportunity ever. 

In order to do this you have know the people who will come in the door of your church each week. 

Here are 3 basic attributes of those who come through your doors: 

1. They are Skeptical
•Our generation is skeptical of preachers and churches. They have every right to be too. High profile preachers have been caught in scandals, affairs and embezzlement. Because of these facts people are a little less "trusting" up front. They may have even been hurt by a church or pastor. So, we have to realize that because of these experiences the guest is evaluating every word and action. Don't take it for granted that they just believe you. They don't. Their arms are folded and they are arguing with you the whole time while you are speaking. 

2. They have more Options:
•There are a lot of really great churches in our communities. That's the truth. I know we all feel our church is the best but there are so many great, godly and missional churches in our communities. Most folks under the age of 50 are not looking for their denomination affiliational church. They no longer move to a community looking for the Southern  Baptist, Methodist or Pentecostal Church. So, they usually are looking for a church where they can feel comfortable and grow. So, church shoppers are now the reality of most guests who come in the door. You are one of five they are going to try out. This is even true of the unchurched. We have tons of stories where the totally unchurched mapped out 3-5 churches after research on the internet and they ended up choosing us. They have options. 
3. They are Searching
•People really want truth this day and time. They are searching for authentic leaders to follow. They also are very informed. Our generation has more access to knowledge than any other generation in history. They can search and find seven different views on a topic  while you are speaking. This means that we must not treat people in our congregation as "idiots." They probably know as much about the Bible as you do. Share the history of the account you are teaching on. Make a bridge between that world and their world. Finally help it help them practically. They have felt needs. They are hurting somewhere. They are searching. Pray each week that God would help you help them find Him in their need.