Do you all do anything different from a Guest Services perspective on Easter? What has been the two to three most helpful things about handling Easter (either before, during, or after the services)?
Over the last few years we’ve basically taken three approaches for weekends or events where we are expecting a larger-than-normal crowd. The idea behind the different approaches has much to do with the nature of the event. If we’re expecting a large number of guests who are from area churches, our follow up will look much different. If we’re expecting the scales to tip towards unchurched guests, we’re going to err on the side of our normal procedures. Here’s how that breaks down for us:
Approach 1: acknowledge and invite back. This is the method we most often employ for our Christmas Eve services. While we do have a large number of guests who are unchurched, we’ve found that many of our DPAC guests have a church home, or are relatives of Summit members who are visiting from out of town. But more than that, doing follow up during the week of Christmas is tricky, at best. (“Hey I know you’re probably sitting down to open presents, but I wanted to thank you for visiting us WAIT DON’T HANG UP.”)
That’s why we will acknowledge our guests in the service, thank them for being there, and invite them back to a regular weekend service in the new year (usually accompanied by a brand-new series that we’ll intro at DPAC).
Approach 2: treat and repeat. We’ve used this for both of our Church at the Ballpark services, where the majority of our guests were unchurched. We gave them a modified version of our first time guest bag (translated: cheaper and easy to transport to the park and distribute), but dropped a card in the bag that invited them to stop by our First Time Guest Tent on a normal weekend for an additional gift. With this approach, we captured their information at the park and conducted a modified follow-up plan, but we didn’t make wide assumptions on their interest in the Summit until they showed up for an additional weekend.
Approach 3: all hands on deck. This is our typical plan for Easter weekend. On Easter, we assume that most of our guests are either out-of-town family members, or they don’t have a church home. The Easter first time guest process is identical to the other 51 weekends out of the year, except that we will staff the tents a bit heavier in order to accommodate the crowds. The week after Easter, we will follow up as normal, understanding that we may have a higher-than-normal call volume, plus guests who made some sort of spiritual decision in the service.
Now on to the “what have been the most helpful things to prepare…” question. Let me answer this in lightning round format, with links to posts which will go into more detail:
- Prepare your regulars. Encourage people to attend less-populated service times.
- Add to your volunteer roster. Easter is a great time for people who don’t normally serve to get their feet wet.
- Freshen up your facility. Take an hour and walk your property. Make note of what needs to be cleaned up, then invite some folks to help.
- Script your guest talk. You’re going to have a proverbial ton of new people Steward their trust well.
- Plan for Monday. How will you follow up with your guests the week after? The time to answer that is now, not when your brain is in coma-town.
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