5 Ways to Make a Great First Impression This Easter
Easter is a time when many new people visit churches to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. As a church leader, It’s important that your church makes a great first impression on these visitors, and provides an enjoyable experience for them. Here are 5 ways to make a great first impression this Easter:
1) Improve your curb appeal. The next time you visit a new business or restaurant, think about your first impressions and what feelings the location, parking area, and look of the building give you before you step inside. Now drive up to your church with some fresh eyes:
- Is the area outside of your church clean from litter and weeds?
- Is there a sign or banner outside that includes your service times and website so people passing by can learn more?
- Are there ample parking spaces? Are there special spots reserved for visitors and are they well marked? If not, do you have a parking team on Sunday mornings who can help visitors find a spot?
- If your church campus is large or has multiple buildings, make sure you have directional signage that points guests to key areas like the nursery and children’s classes, the information center, and the main worship center.
2) Provide a great welcome! Be sure to have smiling, helpful greeters stationed at all the entrances of the church. Your greeters should be trained on welcoming guests, directing them to where they need to go, and making them feel comfortable at your church. Here are a few things to consider:
- T-shirts and nametags – Make sure your greeters look “official” by providing them t-shirts and nametags. The shirts can be simple with just the word “Welcome” or “Ask Me”.
- Handheld greeting signs – these bright fun signs are a great way to welcome guests from a distance. They also have many uses from the parking lot to the main worship doors to youth and children’s areas.
- Convenient drop off areas – have an area near an entrance where cars can pull up and drop off passengers. This can be a big help to those who are physically challenged, pregnant, or bringing many small children.
- A smooth “hand off” – train your greeters to walk new people inside to someone else who can direct them to seats or help them get their children’s check-in.
Make sure you have all your entrances and exits covered too! Many churches only use the main entrance and miss out on guests who arrive or leave from other directions – so at the least have someone at every door shaking hands..
3) Ease the Minds of Parents. Your children’s areas are one of the most important spaces in your church – if children love coming to church and their parents feel comfortable leaving them in your care, then chances are the family will return for a future visit. Is your children’s area up to the task?
Here are some things to consider:
- Security and Safety First – Unfortunately these days you need to have a secure check-in and check-out process for the children so parents are confident that no one besides them can get access to the kids. If your church does background checks on volunteers, be sure to post that information at the check-in desk. Be sure to thoroughly explain your process for finding and alerting parents if their baby or toddler has a melt-down.
- Clean and safe classrooms – the nursery and classrooms should be spotless and smell good! Make sure the toys are age appropriate and if you offer snacks to children, make sure parents are aware so volunteers can be aware of allergy issues. Lastly, the children’s classrooms should be decorated with bright, fun graphics.
4) Make ministry information easy to find. No matter the size of your church, there are simple ways to set up an Information Center where visitors and regular attenders can find out more about the church, sign up for events, and learn about ministries. This info area can be as simple as a table with a banner in your lobby just to make sure it’s easy to find, organized and staffed with friendly, helpful people. Have visitor gift bags or boxes ready to hand out and extra connection cards and pens so that you can do your best to get visitors’ contact information.
5) Post-Visit Follow Up – The days following a guest’s first visit are important too. Make sure you have a plan in place to send first-time visitors a “Thanks for Visiting” card or note that is handwritten and signed by the pastor or key staff member. Make sure the note includes an invitation to return the next week, attend a connection class or a new visitor luncheon. A gift card to a local coffee shop or bakery is a nice touch too.
The key to post-visit follow-up is to not go too overboard. Many churches find that visitors like to remain anonymous for a few visits before completing a connection card so if you do get visitor information, be sensitive about how much and how often you are reaching out.
Making a great first impression on new visitors is important for every church. Visitors want to feel welcomed and comfortable and have easy access to ministry information, these simple things can make a big difference in how welcoming your church appears. To get started, check out all the Easter resources on our website.