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 Among the churches that use GuestView to manage and coordinate their guest follow-up, there are a variety of strategies for who is responsible for following up with guests. We’ll cover some of those strategies in this post and talk about why you might or might not want to choose them.

Staff. If your church is fairly small, it is easy for church staff — pastors, interns or secretaries — to follow up with guests. Especially if your pastors call guests, that can be a nice personal touch that is a pleasant surprise for your guests. The disadvantages of this approach are that it misses a great opportunity to involve church members in the ministry of the church, and it can become burdensome for the staff as a church grows and as there are more guests to call.

Ministry team. Some churches have a hospitality team that greets guests on Sunday mornings and is also responsible for calling guests for follow-up. Other churches have a completely dedicated follow-up team. One key advantage of this approach is that the people doing follow-up are the very people who have an interest and gifting in extending hospitality to guests. A disadvantage of this approach is that by focusing primarily on follow-up it can be harder to make the “next step” in follow-up, to invite and involve guests in small groups, Sunday school classes, or other ministry teams.

Small group or Sunday school. Some churches perform guest follow-up as a function of small groups or Sunday school classes. Either the small group leader or some hospitality-minded family in the group has responsibility to connect with guests, invite them to meetings, and extend hospitality to them in other ways. A key advantage of this approach is that it makes a direct connection between follow-up, hospitality, and involvement of guests in the life of the church. But a weakness of this approach is that guests often choose to involve themselves in other groups or ministries. This can tempt the individuals who first made follow-up to be discouraged; and it also requires a little coordination to make sure that a guest who chose to visit a different small group doesn’t fall through the cracks.

Hybrid. At least one of the churches using GuestView takes a hybrid approach to guest follow-up. There is a small dedicated guest follow-up ministry team that makes first contact with all guests. But guests that express a particular interest in exploring the church’s small group life are referred to a particular small group for continued follow-up. The follow-up ministry team takes time to find out a guest’s geographic location and calendar availability to help them find a suitable small group. This hybrid approach carries the advantages of both the ministry-team and small-group approaches, and also avoids some of their weaknesses.

How does your church organize its guest follow-up ministry? Leave a comment to tell us!

Image from by P L Chadwick / CC BY-SA 2.0

Earlier I posted the GuestView policy manual for my home church. A much larger sister church of ours also uses GuestView to manage their guest follow-up ministry. This church used to organize and manage their follow-up by emailing spreadsheets among the team. GuestView has saved them a tremendous amount of time and effort, and now allows the pastoral staff to have more awareness of guest follow-up and guests’ needs.

Two documents capture the core of this church’s follow-up ministry. We are posting these to inspire and encourage you in your own follow-up ministry.

The first document summarizes the mission of the ministry and gives brief steps for following-up with a guest:

Our mission is to build a community of gospel-centered people.

Our 3 “R”s:

  • Rejoice: Thank you for being our guest!
  • Resource: How can I be a resource for you?
  • Request: Do you have any prayer requests? Can I pray for you now?

Our 3 steps:

  • Step 1: Recognize evidences of God’s grace in our guests’ lives.
  • Step 2: Point out the evidences of God’s grace in their life.
  • Step 3: Celebrate the evidences of God’s grace in their life with them.

Their second document provides more detailed suggestions for following up with guests:

Guest follow-up telephone calling ministry

Some Keys to Success:

  1. Email all guests with emails first if you don’t have time to call immediately (use a template email and modify the name). In this way, if you don’t have time right away you can make the first attempt (in this case, email) right away. This will elevate pressure on yourself if some days pass and you haven’t called yet. Sometimes the guests will email back and you can start the dialog that way.
  2. Be sure to email all praise reports to your team leader (and everybody if you’d like) so we can get the word out and praise God.
  3. Of course, email and call any needs that come up for greater care: team leader, ministry leader or pastor.
  4. If you get behind in your calls please communicate with another team member (ideally on the next month’s team) or your team leader so that the calls can be reassigned and the guests are followed up with in a timely manner.
  5. Sometimes it’s hard to schedule time to call because there is not a set time; don’t be overwhelmed. You might want to plan a time or two and schedule it in. Evening calls work good, Saturday calls work good, you could also call during the day if it’s the only time you have.
  6. While talking with guests is best, leaving messages is wonderful. God has used voicemail messages powerfully in this ministry.
  7. Don’t get hung up on fear of man (either with the guests, with your team leader or other team members). The key here is to reach out in love to our guests. If you have a time when you are too busy to get to your calls please don’t sit on them (see #4 above) so we can serve with the most excellence as possible.
  8. Don’t commit other people’s efforts. If you are referring them to another person (other ministry team leader, pastor, etc.), give the guest the contact information and suggest they contact that person. Then email the leader with the guest contact information and suggest a follow-up with the guest. But don’t commit the other person.
  9. We want to deliver more than we promise.
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