6 Parts to Successful Visitor Assimilation

Visitor assimilation is one of those things that if you’re not intentional and don’t have a system, it won’t happen. But if you want to see your church grow, then getting visitors to return is vital. Imagine if just half the visitors who attended a church service ended up coming back again and again, eventually becoming members. Your church would grow!

6 Parts to Successful Visitor Assimilation

The great thing about being intentional about visitor assimilation is that they are already there. They have already encountered the culture of your church and have a taste of what it’s like to hear you preach a sermon. Their encounter could be good, bad, or okay, but if you get this piece right, it could make all the difference.

6 Parts to Successful Visitor Assimilation

1. Information Card

In order to do successful visitor assimilation, you’ll need to get their contact information. You need an information card or connection card or whatever you want to call it. For us, our connection card is on every chair and is encouraged to be filled out by everyone as it’s our way for people to get signed up for events, submit prayer requests, and more.

If you want to follow up with visitors, you need to get their contact information.

2. Gift and Info Bag

Go all out with this! It will be the incentive for them to fill out their information card and turn it in. Blow them away with the value they receive from this bag.

We decided to include a $5 Panera Gift Card, a customized coffee mug with our colors and logo, an information folder explaining who we are, and a business card.

Below is what the inside of our information folder looks like (just to give you some ideas):

visitor assimilation

3. Dedicated Visitor Table

When you do the next step (#4) you’ll need a place to tell them to go after service. This is that place. You’ll want to recruit a team of people to be at this table on a rotation so that you have coverage every week. Their job is to make sure that visitors fill out at least their name and email, engage with them as much as they are open to, and answer any questions they may have.

We call this our “Get Connected Table.” Whatever you decide to call it, be sure to get appropriate signage so that visitors know where to go without question.

4. Start With Them in Mind

From signage to cleanliness, keep the visitor in mind. Then, once your service starts, start with them in mind. Take some time at the beginning of the service to acknowledge their presence. Welcome them, invite them to fill out the information card, and encourage them to take it to the table (#3) where they’ll receive a free gift bag.

5. Email Follow Up

Email may be a somewhat old technology, but it’s still extremely effective. We use MailChimp for this part. To do this, you’ll need to pay, at a minimum, $10 a month, but it’s completely worth it.

Every Monday, you’ll want to take the new information cards and plug in the information to your email list that is setup for email automation.

I’ll create a tutorial on how to setup email automation for visitor assimilation on Monday. Be sure to subscribe so you won’t miss it!

Over the course of a month we send out 5 different emails to visitors. I took the emails that Bobby Williams shared with the UnSeminary audience when he was featured on the UnSeminary Podcast and then modified them to meet our needs.

Check out the podcast episode here and get the emails here.

How to do email automation in Mailchimp for visitor follow-up:

6. Visitor Video

In the first email that is sent to visitors they are invited to watch a short welcome video from our lead pastor, Kenny White (have you read his post on finding your preaching voice?).

Watch the visitor video.

Don’t overthink this video. Simply talk with the viewer (a visitor) as if they were right in front of you. Tell them you were glad they were there and invite them to come back.

What About You?

Would you add anything to this list? If so, what would it be? I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment below or on social media (Facebook Group | Facebook Page | Twitter)!

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Written by Brandon Kelley

Brandon Kelley is the co-founder of Rookie Preacher and the author of Preaching Sticky Sermons and Crucified to Life. He serves as the Lead Pastor of First Church of Christ in Bluffton, IN. He also writes at BrandonKelley.org. You can follow him @BrandonKelley_. Watch his sermons here.


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