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Faith Leaders Resources 4min read

3 Reasons Why Church Guests & Visitors Are Key


I recently visited a local coffee shop because local still matters. As I was completing my order, the staff person asked me for my rewards number. I didn’t have one, but I spent the next two minutes with them signing up to get one.

It reminded me that everyone is always looking for new people (church guests/visitors) and ways to engage them to retain them. Of course, I thought about the church and our process, or lack thereof, and why it’s critical.

Church guests help you understand your REACH

As Church leaders, we should be focused on guests and not just who they are but also where they’re coming from. When I first started to serve in youth ministry, I learned that it was essential to have representation at each middle and high school near our Church.

As a result, we would have different leaders from the ministry, and I go to certain schools and engage the students there, serving their schools and inviting them to our youth services on Saturday nights.

During those services, we would ask for guests and ask them to complete a form to see where they came from and what schools. This helped me to see where we were reaching and where we weren’t.

It helped us sharpen our focus; in the same way, now that I serve over the adult ministries, we look very closely at where our guests or visitors travel from. This also helps us understand our reach and what areas we are reaching, and what areas of the city or state we aren’t.

Reach is important.

Guests help you work on your RECRUITMENT

Another reason guests or visitors are critical is that they’re new. They don’t know anything about the usual way your Church operates; this is golden because they can give you great feedback on what makes sense to them or what makes sense to you; after all, you’re part of the Church.

In many of our Churches, we do things that make sense to us but are very hard for outsiders to understand, and if they can’t understand it, they might not get involved. The more we engage guests and visitors, the more we develop and improve our recruitment process. We should all have a process or a flowchart of sorts that we want every guest to walk through. We need to have a flowchart for every member of the Church as well.

Some churches call this their assimilation plan, but whatever it is, we should all have a “growth” plan for guests and members. This growth plan is the vision of where people start and what their next growth steps will be.

We all need a growth plan.

Guests are your REASON

Lastly, guests are essential because they honestly are our reason. As we focus on those longtime members of the Church who we love, we have to remember that sometime in the process, they were also guests. And if we are going to be the Church that God has designed us to be, we must focus on reaching new people for Jesus and helping them see God in a new way that compels them to make a decision for Jesus.

These are my thoughts, I would love to hear your thoughts. We all need a process, as we should all expect guests to show up to worship and when they do, are we prepared with a plan?

Do you have:

  • A guest card for them to complete online or in person?
  • A person on the team who is assigned to the guest process to get them connected?
  • A moment during the service where we acknowledge or explain what we do so guests are aware?
  • A free resource available for guests to have to grow closer to Christ?

About the Author

Russell St. Bernard is the director for ministry operations at Kingdom Fellowship AME Church in Maryland, and the founder of After the Music Stops, a full-service youth ministry company as well as founder of Ministry Pivot, a company dedicated to assisting leaders and churches seize opportunities for growth.

Russell St. Bernard