In a recent post I mentioned that new generations bring new preferences on how we greet and treat them. Not everyone in your church will respond to every on ramp in the same way. Having said that, the biggest guest service win for us over the years has all sprung from one practical tool:
The First Time Guest Tent.
We have a FTG Tent at all campuses. They stand obnoxiously in the way of the main entrance. They’re clearly emblazoned so that people know what it’s for. And if you’re in an area of the country where there’s any way possible to have one, I highly recommend it. Here are six reasons:
1. It’s a neutral zone. Many of our churches have formal stained glass, imposing wooden doors, and a looming sense of “What’s about to happen?” when it comes to your guests. The tent can serve as a safe place for them.
2. It’s a place of identification. If you’re a church of any size, first-timers may be harder to spot. Giving the tent as an on-ramp makes it easier for them to be known.
3. It’s a point of reference. Even if the guest doesn’t stop by before the service, a well-placed announcement at the end can draw them there afterward.
4. It’s an opportunity to bless your guests. A small gift tells your guests that you planned for their visit and you’re glad they came. The gift can also help you spot your guests later in the day.
5. It allows you to capture information. Good info leads to good follow up, and good follow up leads to deeper connection.
6. It can provide a personal concierge for the guest’s visit. Don’t overlook the importance of overstaffing your tent. More-than-enough volunteers allow them to step away and stay with the guest, escorting them to your kids’ area, the auditorium, and other key spots they need to know about.
Coming up next: resources for your First Time Guest Tent.
photo credit: Brett Seay