I recently had a conversation with a church member about the failure of his church to act with any urgency to a new person’s desire to be baptized.
“This person came to church for the first time in years at my invitation; they were powerfully moved by the message and immediately after the service signed up to be contacted about baptism. Four days later no one has contacted them. I took them out to dinner myself, made sure that they understood the gospel, but I’m concerned that my church just doesn’t exhibit any urgency about following up with people.”
I don’t know what the reasons were for the tardy response by the staff at my friend’s church but he has a point. Unfortunately, this conversation could be duplicated all over America every week.
Why do they visit? Why do they leave?
Every church is asking these questions, or should be. One of the answers to why visitors leave is that they think that they don’t matter when they take action to draw nearer to Christ and no-one seems to notice or encourage their movement.
Dr. Gary L. McIntosh has been thinking hard about such questions for a long time. And the fruit of his thinking and working with churches is what Beyond the First Visit is all about. Here’s a great resource to help you begin to analyze your own situation and what you can do about it.
It’s an excellent resource for all your greeters, ushers, welcoming team members, but really everyone in the church. You will find a wealth of insight for improving your response to your newest guests as well as discover new ideas of how to keep newcomers coming back again and again.
There’s no impact without contact. And the quicker and longer the contact, the more responsive we are to the stated needs and desires of those who God brings into our orbit of relationships, the more likely visitors are to see a “welcome mat” rather than a “do not disturb” sign as their lasting impression of the church.