Guest follow-up is essential. As a pastor who wears many hats, Pastor Patrick Mankin knows church leaders have a lot on their plate. Going it alone can be exhausting and ineffective - it doesn’t have to be that way! Ensuring a guest feels welcomed and seen at a church isn’t about metrics. It’s about eternity. In his session at the 2020 Engage One Day Conference, Patrick shares how Text In Church relieves some of the burden leaders may feel. The planning and tools provide a pathway that’s more effective for guests and leaders alike.
ABOUT PATRICK MANKIN
Patrick serves as a pastor atEagle Creek Church at the Harrisonville, Missouri campus. There he serves as Kid’s pastor. As well as the First-Time Guest pastor. And Next Steps pastor! No matter which hat he’s wearing, Patrick’s seen how Text In Church can scale for small, large, and growing churches to help guests feel not just known, but noticed and loved as well.
One of the first ways to do that is to foster a sense of community from the start.
A CHURCH OF ANY SIZE CAN HAVE A COMMUNITY FEEL
No matter the size of your church, guests can feel known and noticed with effective guest follow-up. At many churches, follow-up starts ok, yet ends too soon. An email or two go out, perhaps a phone call or a card. After a couple of weeks, the messages drop off.
Why? It’s not because leaders don’t care! Leaders wear a lot of hats. Creating community takes time. Between meetings to attend, decisions to make, sermons and lessons to plan, developing and implementing a longer and varied follow-up plan can feel daunting.
Here’s what guests want – for someone to see them. To really notice them. Smaller churches have a leg up here. You can easily scan the crowd and notice someone new. Text In Church aids in this by doing the heavy lifting of planning, developing, and implementing for you. You do the knowing. Text In Church serves to help them feel noticed.
What’s great is with thoughtfulness and intention, even a larger church can feel small using the same framework. Even in an online experience where you can’t see anyone at all, you can invite them into conversation and use these tools to ensure they are indeed known and noticed as you invite them to interact with your church personally.
This invitation to interact is all a part of being thoughtful.
THOUGHTFULNESS FACILITATED THROUGH PLANNING AND TOOLS
Ever been a guest at another church, and somehow that friendly, hospitable church unintentionally made you, a guest, feel left out? If not, Patrick has, and you’ll want to listen to his experience - no spoilers here!
No matter how good your coffee is or how friendly your greeting team is, if a guest doesn’t have a personal interaction with someone at your church, they may not come back again.
You know that. I know that. That’s why you probably have a connect card. But that’s not enough to make a guest feel welcome. Having thoughtful people saying hello to guests, and others ready to engage, makes that hospitality active, rather than passive. It’s all about relationships, after all. Whether you use a traditional paper connect card or the digital connect card, that thoughtful, intentional interaction from a real person means a lot.
What’s great about Text In Church is you can continue to collect contact info the way you always have and add in their special sauce of long-term follow-up. You can blend in the thoughtfulness of your welcome team with the proven, automated framework. Even if you don’t have anything formal in place, Text In Church has got your back. You can get set-up quickly, and have excellent customer support to get you there. Both the long-term follow-up plan and the support will help you to cultivate those new relationships so that people know you truly love and care about them.
HELP WITH LONG-TERM FOLLOW-UP
A 6-week plan feels like A LOT. And that may be because you’re used to sending out each email, writing each note, or making each phone call personally.
Text In Church has worked with more than 17,000 churches and knows their effective process creates opportunities for conversation and relationships. With an automated workflow, many messages go out automatically over a 6- to 8-week period. While you can easily use the pre-written messages provided, you can also customize them to fit your church and what works for you. Patrick shares how their decision to include links to social media pages helped grow their audience and allow for even more connection points.
And it’s not limited to guests! As a leader, you or someone on staff can receive reminders for personal connection points to volunteers, such as a phone call or handwritten note. They need to feel loved too! You can save space in your brain by allowing Text In Church to keep everything running to plan over several weeks. Plus, it pulls you in periodically to ensure there’s still that all-important human element to the communication.
As churches grow their online services and ministries, maintaining that human connection will be vital to connecting with people, presenting the gospel, and discipling believers.
CULTIVATE RELATIONSHIPS – YES, EVEN ONLINE
Jesus said in Luke 10:2, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” Friends, you and I are the laborers. And the harvest – in-person or online – is plentiful.
Many churches had to dive-in to doing church online in 2020, as have guests. People have turned to churches for comfort and a sense of community – and all online! They can watch your sermons and see your social media posts.
As mentioned earlier, Text In Church provides the framework for digital connect cards that you can incorporate into any of your digital touchpoints. A digital guest can still go through the same process. That includes the all-important human connection with a staff member they might not have been able to meet otherwise.
What a time to be a part of the Church!
YOU ARE THE BEST CONNECTION METHOD
Much of what Patrick discusses in his session focuses on how the technology and automation facilitates connection points through the automated workflow and digital messages. But that serves solely to support the best connection method, and that’s people like you.
The tech is COOL. Don’t get me wrong. In working with Text In Church over the last two years, the team regularly adds new features and workflows so the system is as effective, intuitive, and easy to use as possible. However, none of that can compare to a guest knowing that an actual person is on the other side. That someone like you doesn’t just send out text messages and emails, but also picks up the phone and gives them a call. That when they RESPOND to a thoughtful (yet automated) text message, you or a staff member receives it and responds personally.
You are still the best connection method. Text In Church equips you to help people feel known, noticed, and loved.