When laypersons make 15 minute visits to the homes of first time Sunday visitors within 36 hours 85% of them retun the following week. Make this home visit within 72 hours and 60 percent will return. Make it seven days later and 15% will return. A pastor making this call, rather than laypeople, cuts each result in half. The statistic, I have used, came from this little 1987 book by Herb Miller and often quoted by Joel Comiskey.
It’s a helpful little book for helping make your church more magnetic. Herb Miller reckons there are three types of churches – one is magnetic attracting more people than it looses through death, transfer and backsliding. Another is neutral attracting as many as it loses. The third kind repels, loosing more members that it gains each year. It’s a practical book, aimed at the US scene and a little dated now that we have added communication forms, but sprinkled with helpful gold nuggets.
By far the most helpful chapter is called “Visit your visitors” chocked full with ways to help visitor retention. The author reckons visitor visitation increases the percentage of visitors that become members from 7% to 30% -given that we have had 285 visitors in 4 years – that would be a great help!
When someone visits a church they communicate “we like your church, don’t know how much yet, but we like it some.” When someone visits we communicate “We like you to!” Herb Miller reckons only 6% don’t like being visited.2 8% find them somewhat helpful amd 66% find them very helpful – so he argues not to let people say that visitors wouldn’t like it.
- Recruit a Terrific trio or Super Six to be the visitor visitors!
- Have a way of getting address details from visitors -we have a nice person go round with a visitors book every week!
- The Terrific Trio/Super Six drop by singly or in pairs the visitors from that Sunday – preferably the same day! Without phoning ahead – now there’s a Southern UK stronghold to break!!! “Hi, we are from ~ Church, so glad you came today. We just wanted to drop by and say hello – hope it is not an inconvenient time.” Most invite you in, if it is inconvenient, thank tehm again and invite them back.
- If you get invited in. remember you are there to…
- Get acquanited
- Answer any questions about the church
- Find out about their background and needs
- Leave a brochure
- Invite them back next Sunday and to a small group!
- Fifteen minutes is enough! Don’t stay more than 30mins
So “How to build a magnetic church” is a helpful book. How are you looking to improve visitor rentention?