Visitor Connections and Follow Up at Church of the Resurrection

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1 Visitor Connections and Follow Up at Church of the Resurrection Our Purpose is to build a Christian community where non-religious and nominally religious people are becoming deeply committed Christians. About 70% of the people who come to Resurrection either have no faith background, or they have not actively been practicing their faith for some time. They come seeking connection - curious, but also questioning, cynical, and perhaps even suspicious of church. That means we have to go out of our way to create an environment of openness and welcome that goes beyond the norm and is designed to break down barriers, make people feel comfortable, welcomed, and accepted. It s a culture of Radical Hospitality. We didn t invent the concept of Radical Hospitality here; it is a standard we try to live into. Keep in mind, to a guest, our culture speaks louder than our practices. We have to continually cast the vision for radical hospitality to our volunteers and congregants. With that in mind we have developed some follow up practices that allow us to help make connections and show radical hospitality to our new guests. That is what you will find outlined in these resources. We are committed to making our follow-up processes as light and non-invasive as possible (while still being committed to following up). We recognize the courage it takes for someone to come to church for the first time, and so we try to be sensitive, walking that fine line between following-up and something that feels more like stalking. All of our follow up processes for new guests start with attendance tracking in our worship services. This is an element in our worship services, with the pastor giving instructions, and our ushers physically handing out an attendance notebook at the beginning of each row. The pastor asks people to sign in, pass it down the row, and when it gets to the end, pass it back again. Congregants are encouraged to notice the name of the person sitting next to them, and to greet them by name at the end of the service. We recognize this is a very old-school method of taking attendance now that there are so many electronic options available, but I m not convinced we will ever stop using the attendance notebooks. First, there is peer pressure to sign in when the person next to you has been instructed to look for your name. Second, while members might sign in electronically, most visitors would simply not do it. As it is, our head counts are about 20% higher than our numbers on the attendance sheets. Because everyone in the room is signing the attendance notebooks, guests are more likely to do so, too. Tracking a guest s worship attendance enables all of our visitor follow-up processes. Noticing and acknowledging that someone has visited our church and making them feel welcome is critical to making lasting connections with people. If we don t do that, the likelihood that a guest will return drops significantly. There are three milestones that we have decided to acknowledge for guests a person s first, third, and fifth visit. Noticing a person s first visit enables us to show radical hospitality. Three things happen when someone visits for the first time. During worship, as the attendance notebooks are passed, the pastor encourages visitors to take a Welcome Packet from the left side of the notebook. Inside they will find information about our core ministries and where to find easy connections. A volunteer personally delivers a coffee mug to each household that visits for the first time (within a 20 mile radius). Our goal is for the mugs to be delivered within hours, and the whole process takes less than 60 sec. Again it s a light touch, which is unexpected and comfortable for our guests.

2 On Tuesdays, we send out a personalized letter from our senior pastor to each first time guest as well, so that they arrive by Wednesday after their first visit. A sample of that document is included below. If we don t have a physical address, we ll send an if we have an address. Some people will visit for months before they ll give us enough info to enable us to follow up, and we respect that, while still encouraging them to fill out the full attendance sheet. The next milestone for us is when someone visits 3 times within a 12-week period. That tells us that they may be church shopping, and there is at least some interest in being part of our congregation. We follow up with a phone call if we have their phone number, or an , inviting them to attend Discover Resurrection a 90-minute orientation gathering designed to be casual and give first steps. Volunteers who help in this ministry are given some sample scripts to use and a process to follow and report on. That information is included in this resource. When a guest hits the 5-visit milestone, we send a personalized inviting them to attend the next Coffee with the Pastors event which is our membership event. Here they can learn more about our church and become a member if they feel led to do so at that time. After someone becomes a member our follow up with them passes into our member follow processes. That information can be viewed at Share Church as well. At Resurrection we work hard to make sure that all of our follow up follows three important elements: Prompt Research shows that if you follow up within 24 hours, a guest is 85%more likely to return. Wait 72 hours, and it drops to 60%. Wait a week, and the likelihood of their return falls to 15%. The average person today visits several churches before deciding on a church home. This means they may not come back for six weeks. By then, they decide which church to return to by the friendliness and helpfulness of the members. If you wait until they return the second time, you lose 85% of your guests. Even more stunning is this statistic: If a guest doesn t connect with a church within 6 weeks of churchshopping, he or she is likely to remain unchurched forever. Personal A person-to-person connection is most effective. That s our goal with our mug ministry. The letter from our senior pastor is personalized by name. That little detail is easy to manage, and so much better than a form letter that doesn t use someone s name. When our church was smaller, our senior pastor delivered every mug. At our regional campuses, the campus pastors still deliver the mugs. Many of our pastors make the calls to our 3 time visitors and invite them to say hi the next time they are at services. Pleasant Make sure your follow-up is something that is designed to delight, not be intrusive or unpleasant to your guests. Put yourself in the guest s shoes, and ask, If I were to experience our follow-up process, would it be a good experience? Following these principles allows us to constantly re-evaluate our processes and make changes when necessary. Currently we have found the following processes to work best for our congregation but many of the processes could be adapted for your congregation and their needs.

3 Attendance Notebook Sheets Example:

4 Mug Mapping Job Description: Position Description: Mug Ministry - Mug Mapping Guest Connections Ministry Contact: Melanie Hill Church of the Resurrection s Purpose Statement: To build a Christian community where non-religious and nominally religious people are becoming deeply committed Christians. The Role of the Mug Ministry in that purpose is to provide a warm welcome our visitors and help them engage in the life of the church. Our Journey: Knowing, loving, and serving God. What is a Mug Mapper? Mug Mappers are part of the Mug Ministry and play a significant role in helping to welcome First Time Visitors. It is our goal to deliver a first time visitor coffee mug to all first timer s homes within a 20 mile radius of church within a 48 hour period. The visitor mug is simply our way of welcoming visitors to Resurrection and inviting them back next week. All of this can only be accomplished through servants who have a heart for reaching out to new visitors. This is where the Mappers come in. Mappers serve behind the scenes utilizing online mapping services, such as Google Maps or Mapquest, to create map directions to the visitors home and setting the mugs out at the Narthex Mapping Station by zip code to be picked up and hand-delivered by Mug Deliverers. What exactly will I do? Collect all Visitor sheets from the Usher room and sort out the First Time Visitors who have enough information to find their home and live in a mile radius. Take these sheets to the Mapping Center to mapquest directions to their home. Stuff the directions in a mug and place them on the shelves by their zip code. Schedule: Availability: Minimum of once a month for a weekend service. It will take about minutes after the service to complete all the First Time Visitor maps. Spiritual Gifts often found in persons serving in this role are: Helps, Administration, Hospitality

5 MUG DELIVERY TIPS The mugs on these shelves are ready to be delivered to the homes of first time visitors to Resurrection. Thank you for showing a warm Resurrection welcome as you deliver mugs. You are a special representative of the Church of the Resurrection and you are a representative of Christ! I invite you to view Pastor Adam sharing the purpose and mission of the Mug Ministry, look for Resurrection First Time Visitors & Coffee Mugs on YouTube.com. Please try to deliver the mug(s) within 48 hours. A map is enclosed with each mug. Ring the visitor s doorbell. Quickly introduce yourself and that you are from Church of the Resurrection. Let them know that you don t want to come in, that we just wanted to thank them for visiting Resurrection and we hope to see them again. If the guest has questions you can answer them to the best of your ability or simply write it on the back of your map and let them know we will have someone get in touch with them to answer. The insert card in the mug also has the name and number of someone who can help them. Leave a note with the visitor s question on the map and return it to the drop box at the Mug Station in the Narthex. If there is no answer, jot a quick note on the enclosed postcard if you can or on one of the blank cards available at the mug shelf. Example: Sorry to have missed you. Hope you worship with us again soon! Blessings, (your name). Leave the mug on the front porch or near an area where it will be seen when they return home. If there is a phone number on the map, give the visitor a call to indicate you are sorry you missed him/her but you left a mug by the door. If delivering to an apartment complex that is gated, go to the complex office and ask if they will let you in the gate. If you have the apartment number, most will let you in. If you don t, ask the office personnel if he/she will please make sure the visitor receives the mug. Again, if you have a phone number, you can call the visitor to let him/her know you left a mug at the complex office. After delivering, return the map to the drop box at the Mug Station in the Narthex the next time you are at church with your name on it or send an to Melanie Hill at to let her know. If you are a student mugging, please make sure you take an adult along with you. We love to have our students mug but want to make sure you are safe! Please note the names, addresses, and phone numbers provided are to be used for church purposes only. Any violation will be considered an abuse of trust. You are a special representative of the Church of the Resurrection when delivering mugs. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings. 1 Corinthians 9:23 Thank you for volunteering your time and making a difference by reaching out to our visitors through this ministry!

6 Instructions on how to deliver a mug can also be viewed on a short video found at: First Time Visitor Letter Sample: This letter goes out on church stationary July 26, 2016 Melanie Hill 1234 Main Street Kansas City, MO Dear Melanie, Thank you for visiting the Church of the Resurrection. My hope is that you found the worship service uplifting and meaningful, and that you will join us again for worship. We started Resurrection in 1990 to be a church where thinking people could ask questions about faith, where we would wrestle together with complex issues (and sometimes agree to disagree), and where all people would be welcome. If you are looking for a church home, we hope you ll get connected at the Church of the Resurrection. It would be an honor to be your church family. We have a variety of service times and styles each weekend. I am confident you ll find one that suits your schedule and helps you experience the love of God. Please refer to our website at for a list of worship times and locations. At Resurrection, we try to make it easy for people to connect into the life of our church. Making an early connection in service to others or through participation in a ministry of the church can make all the difference. If you have any questions or would like to hear more about becoming involved, please drop by the Connection Point at church before or after worship, visit our website at or contact Melanie Hill, our Guest Connections Program Director, at Grace and Peace, Adam Hamilton Senior Pastor

7 3 rd Time Visitor Sample Letter: July 26, 2016 Melanie Hill 1234 Main Street Overland Park, KS Dear Melanie, We re glad you are worshiping with us and hope your experience has been a blessing to you! I d like to share some opportunities for you to learn even more about us. If you live locally, one of the best ways to learn more about Church of the Resurrection is to attend Discover Resurrection. In this casual gathering we ll spend a bit of time talking about Methodism, our church s history and culture. The majority of our time is spent sharing information about our ministries and how to get connected (all while enjoying a light meal!). More information on class times can be found at or you can sign up to meet with someone one on one. Another way to learn more is to visit the church website at Select your preferred campus, and then scroll down the page to find information on worship times, upcoming events, and ways to get involved in programming or service opportunities. Again, I m very happy that you are joining us for worship. For answers to any questions you have about Resurrection, please stop by the Connection Point before or after worship, or contact me in the Guest Connections Ministry office at (913) , or We would love to be your church family and help you connect into the life of the church. In Christ, Melanie Hill Guest Connections Program Director 3 rd Time Visitor Volunteer Sample Script: Three-Visit Connection Guidelines (Please remember to ALWAYS acknowledge who you are first before you ask for someone. Please don t call before 9:00 am or after 9:00 pm) How to prepare for calls: Pray beforehand, ask the Lord to guide the conversation and to help you listen, allowing the Holy Spirit to speak through you. Utilize the web site, weekly E-News, and bulletin for upcoming opportunities, including the Discover Resurrection course. The Ministry Connector Roster will

8 take you straight to the contact person for each ministry area. The Care Night document will list support groups and classes through Congregational Care. If they have a question you can t answer, give them the contact information from the Ministry Connector list and offer to send an on their behalf. Otherwise, place your comments about the call, i.e., date of contact, type of call (left message) or recap of conversation on the call list, or enter all information on the online action form, and we will make sure they are followed up with. Hello, this is from Church of the Resurrection. May I speak with? Hi, we are so pleased you ve been visiting Church of the Resurrection. I m calling to welcome you to Resurrection and ask if you have any questions about the church. Invitation to Discover Resurrection We d like to invite you to learn more about Resurrection by attending a short gathering offered each month called Discover Resurrection. It is a fun class where you will learn about the church s beliefs and values, and just what s up at Resurrection! It is offered once a month and is a two hour gathering. A light meal is usually provided. You can find out more online at finish with: Let me give you the name of the Guest Connections Program Director in case you have additional questions later. Do you have something to write with? Her name is Melanie Hill and you can reach her at or by at You may also visit the Connection Point in the Narthex before or after worship each weekend to visit with a consultant. My name is and it was great speaking with you! Have a great day/evening. If they don t have questions: If something should come to mind later, please feel free to visit the Connection Point before or after worship each weekend, or contact Melanie Hill. You can reach her at (913) or by at It was great speaking with you! Have a great day/evening. If the person you are trying to reach is not in: Would you please let know that The Church of the Resurrection called to thank (him/her) for worshiping with us and to see if (he/she) has any questions about the church. Please ask (him/her) to contact me at ( ) -. If (he/she) would like to speak to the church s Guest Connections Program Director, Melanie Hill, you may reach her at (913) or by at Have a nice day/evening. Good-bye. If you can t reach them and need to leave a message on their answering machine or send an Hello, this is from the Church of the Resurrection and I m calling to thank you for visiting Church of the Resurrection. If you have any questions about the church or would like to connect into a program or service opportunity outside of worship, please visit the Connection Point in the Narthex before or after worship each weekend or contact Melanie Hill at (913) or by at We are so pleased that you are worshiping with us! Goodbye.

9 Invitation to Discover Resurrection Sample: Dear Melanie, We have noticed your attendance at our worship services here at Church of the Resurrection and wanted to invite you to join us this Sunday, May 4th at 12:45pm in room 2209 to learn more about us. We d love to be your church family! Discover Resurrection is designed to help you discover the values and beliefs of Resurrection and the United Methodist denomination in a casual setting. Let s face it. It can be a little overwhelming trying to sort through all the classes, events, programs and groups offered at Church of the Resurrection. We want to help you make sense of all the great offerings and help you get connected. We hope you will join us for a light lunch and a great time of connection. You can register by clicking here. Melanie Hill Guest Connections Program Director The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection th Time Follow Up Invitation to Coffee with The Pastors Sample: Dear Richard, My name is Melanie Hill, and I am the Guest Connections Program Director at The Church of the Resurrection. I m writing you today to invite you to our next Coffee with the Pastors event on Sunday, April 17th from 2-4pm in the Student Center. If you have been considering membership at Resurrection you don t want to miss this event. During this 2 hour event you will meet our pastors, hear from Rev. Adam Hamilton and review expectations regarding membership. There will be a short joining ceremony toward the end. You can register to attend and learn more by going to the website at cor.org/leawood/coffee. I hope to see you there! Blessings,

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