Church visitors won't always give their contact information. This impairs church hospitality and makes follow up impossible. Follow up is vital to the assimilation process. Without knowing how to reach them you can't send church visitors a thank you note, phone to invite them back or have someone deliver a gift. Visitor retention metrics are skewed because you can't track whether they return for a second visit.
But what if there was a guaranteed way to gather the information? What if you could gather it with your church visitor's glad participation? How much better would church hospitality, assimilation and visitor retention be if this was possible?
Would you use it?
It turns out that virtually every church has all the components of this fool proof system in place. They just don't use it to its full potential. And church hospitality suffers as a result.
It's called the Children's ministry.
Church visitors care about child security
You can leverage this concern to gather their contact information during the check-in process for Nursery and Children's ministry. If your church isn't gathering this information already you need to start - now - if only for security and liability reasons.
Get church visitor info at the Nursery
[pullquote]Like most parents, concern for the welfare of our child was not something we could just leave on the church doorstep. We would drop off our son (and later, our daughter) at the nursery and then spend the entire service wondering if they were all right. More than once, my wife would actually leave the service to go check on them.
Kevin Hosey, "How to Protect Children in Church"[/pullquote]Your church should gather the following information during the check-in procedure.
- Child's name
- Child's age
- Parents' names
- Home phone and cell phone numbers
- Names of those authorized to retrieve the child
- A photo of the parents
The last two items are very important in large churches. It's unlikely nursery and children's workers will know all the parents of all the children when 5,000 people go through the church lobby on Sunday.
But even small churches should collect these last two bits of information. Reassure the parents you need it to insure the child's welfare. Then take Mom and Dad's photo with an instant print camera or an electronic camera that emails the image to the head of the assimilation team.
After the service the next step in assimilation kicks in. All the information is forwarded to the folks who will process it.
This process works beautifully on so many levels.
- Security is improved because nursery workers will have a photo to identify the parents
- Parents will appreciate the concern for their child's safety. (Add this to the wow list)
- You are certain to get your church visitors' contact information
- You can send a card (and a small gift?) to the child as part of the follow up process
It goes without saying that this "foolproof" method isn't if the visitors don't bring their children to the Nursery or the Children's ministry.
Tell us how you gather information from your church's visitors. We're all looking for as many tools as we can get!