Earlier this week I shared about our assimilation process at Church of the Suncoast. I said that assimilation begins in the parking lot. Read below for more info.
Here is what happens after the weekend is over (assuming your service is something people want to come back for):
Communication Cards are Processed
We use a communication card at the Suncoast. It is a 3 x 6 inch card that we print and ask everyone to fill out. We have blanks or boxes for: Name, address, phone, e-mail (make sure you leave enough room for long e-mails), are they married, did they spouse come today, do they have kids, are they here, & is this your first, second, or third time. It also has a "next step" section to the right for decisions for Christ, baptism, serving, volunteering, and small groups.
On Monday these cards are processed and put into our database (we used to use Outlook so don't freak out about this and spend more cash than you have to). We track first time guests, and second time guests. We also keep track of the "next steps" that are checked. All of this information is then sent to me on a 1-page report that has all the first time guests names, addresses, along with second time guests and the "next steps" people took.
I Send a Hand Written Note
For every first time guests we have I write a little 3 x 5 size hand written note. Yes it is hand written! This is another part of the WOW factor. It is only a few lines and I always include these things:
Thank you for coming
Come see us again soon
Some invite cards
A $5 gift card to Starbucks (or a gas card)
I know that seems like a lot of time and money to keep up but think about this. You have already spent all this cash on promotion to get them there. Why not spend a little to draw them back.
I Send a Letter
I also send a standard letter about me and the church to all the second time guests. E-mail me for this if you want it. firstname.lastname@example.org
Next Step Follow Up
For anyone that receives Christ, wants to get baptized, volunteer, or find a community group we send out the appropriate letter telling them about that. For people who received Christ I also send them a NLT Bible with their letter talking about now what do I do... For any of these e-mail me email@example.com
We then try to get people to attend an Area Fellowship. These casual, relational, times happen about once a quarter and usually at a restaurant we rent out. They allow people to get to know each other outside of Sundays. It is a stepping stone for our:
One of the first places we try to plug people into is our Community Groups that meet in homes on Wednesday nights. Serving and groups are the two best assimilation deals out there!
We also do a quarterly deal for our volunteers to appreciate them and re-cast the vision for why they do what they do.
So far we have not done membership or any of the 101, 201... type deals. We are a year into this and it still is about 6 months away for me.
For more info e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org