Easter is one of THE most important times for congregations to be ready to engage new people. Whether online or in person, I wanted to equip you with some tools that will help you connect with newcomers.
But before I do that, let me first challenge you. I challenge you to pray. Pray that God give you eyes that look for and see those who are visiting and seeking this weekend.
You already know this, but Christmas and Easter are the most likely times of the year for people to either visit church for the first time, and/or explore the idea and importance of faith in their lives. This means that we, all of us, have an incredible opportunity to make a huge impact in people’s lives this weekend…if we’d just be ready for it. So pray…
“So, what can I do?” you might be wondering. Well, here are some simple suggestions that can make a huge impact:
First, look for people you don’t know! Whether you’re online or in person, spend the first 3 minutes BEFORE the service, and the first 3 minutes AFTER the service looking to greet people you don’t know.
This is challenging because most of the time it’s easier to connect with those we know and have relationships with (especially if you came with a group or your family). Simply look for one person, one couple, or one family to welcome. Be natural and don’t be obnoxious. A simple, “Hello! Happy Easter,” is likely to get the ball rolling, beyond that an, “I’m not sure we’ve met,” or “Hi my name is _______.”
Next, ask questions. And it’s here that I want to share a simple method that can help you. Just use the FOR[M] method. FOR[M] stands for:
Family, Occupation, Recreation, and [if you’re a greeter] Method-of-contact.
First, we ask about your guest’s family and learn their names.
Second, we talk about their occupation. If there one thing we know how to do, it’s talk about what we do.
Third, ask what they like to do for fun.
And, lastly, ask if they’ve connected with our greeters at the Welcome Table. There, the greeters can welcome them and give them a Wilson swag-bag (yep we actually have those) as a gift. At that point those who are greeting can encourage the sharing of a method of contact, like a phone number or email address. Our plan is to follow up with all guests later in the day, thanking them for coming.
One of THE quickest and easiest ways to lower people’s anxiety about coming back to a church is to connect them with at least two people that they will recognize when they return.
And remember, the point of ALL of this is not just to connect with people, but to help others connect with Jesus.
So, “Thank you,” ahead of time for the impact YOU will make in people’s lives this Easter weekend.