Here are three things we do to turn first-time visitors during the holidays into returning guests the next week.
1. Assume they're in the room.
We start the service by explaining to first-time guests what they can expect from their visit (e.g., We’re going to sing a couple of songs, hear a message from Andy, and we’ll make sure you’re out of here in just over an hour so you can make it to your brunch reservation on time). We don’t make any insider-specific announcements. And we often open with a festive song or a bit of fun so guests can sing or laugh along with us instead of feeling like outsiders looking in. When we assume visitors are in the room, it’s easy to see how we need to adjust our communication to make them feel comfortable.
2. Acknowledge their skepticism.
Agreeing with everything that’s said from stage isn’t a requirement for sitting in our seats. And we say so. In his message, Andy often acknowledges the skepticism of visitors by saying things like, If you’re here today and you’re not a Christian or you’re not sure about Jesus or the Bible, you’re off the hook for this. You just get to listen in on what us Christians are expected to do. This is an intentional way of telling visitors that they are welcome to keep coming back, even if they don’t believe everything we do.
3. Provide an easy next-step.
During the holidays—when folks bring extended family with them or visitors return to church for the first time in a long time—we know that some of the people in our seats aren’t convinced about faith, Jesus, or the Bible just yet. We make it a point to say that their questions and doubts are welcome, and we prove it by providing a place for them to speak up: Starting Point.
Here’s how Andy explains Starting Point (in 90 seconds).
The weeks leading up to Christmas are an incredible opportunity to engage a whole new crowd of people in your local church. We hope these steps help you earn a second Sunday with all the folks who join you for the first time this year.
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Wondering how North Point does something? Email Christy
She’s our Customer Advocate. You can think of her as your personal expert, answer-finder, coach, and maybe even new best friend. Or, if you want to hear her Southern accent, call her at 1 (866) 866-5621.