Post 1 in a 3-part series by Reagan Lynn
Children’s Ministry: Connecting with New Families!
2015 flies by! Soon, Easter will arrive and masses of visitors will flock to church. Some of these visitors you may only see once or twice each year. Which steps can be taken to connect with them more effectively not just during their visit, but afterwards as well?
This is a crucial question to ask each and every week! It is connected to the very heart of your church’s mission. With this in mind, let’s read a visitor testimonial written by someone who could be your next first time visitor.
I step in, I step out. Will you remember me? I’m a father or a mother, a husband or a wife, and I’m visiting your church for the first time. I feel genuinely welcomed here. A warm couple even initiates a conversation with me and my spouse after the service.
But you’ll never see me again, or my spouse or children. We’ll visit another church next week, and they’ll follow up with us to invite us back. We’ll return there for a follow up visit. I enjoy your church’s worship gathering, don’t get me wrong, and nothing is really wrong at all (quite the opposite, in fact). It’s not personal – we just won’t be back.
But why not?
Two welcoming churches, two great experiences – what made the difference?
The difference-maker: The visitor did not fill out a visitor’s card at either church, but one church utilizes a system to make a record of every new visiting family without relying solely on visitors cards. But how?
When families check their children in at a kiosk or with a teacher at the entrance to a classroom, seize the golden opportunity to make a family feel welcomed. Offer a secure, electronic child check in system to establish peace of mind for parents that their children are safe and secure with your volunteers. Hopefully, these visiting parents can focus more of their attention on their own experience.
But we still haven’t revealed how a children’s ministry can record new families without relying on visitor cards. Here’s how: Through an electronic child check in system. Ideally, this child check in system is actually part of your church management software.
When a new family checks in their children, they are automatically added to your database, and more specifically, to a group in your church management software for new visitor follow up. This way, if a family forgets to fill out a visitor’s card, you still have a record of their visit – and more importantly, there is enough information to contact them the next week because they’re asked to enter at least a cell phone number. They also can enter an email address.
Imagine the positive difference that a single follow up phone call, email or text message can make for a visitor the first week after their visit! How many more visitors would return if they received just one touch?
“How many new families visited our church last year?” How many never received a follow up contact the following week and never returned?” These are hard questions to ask, but they are crucially important to ask.
Now let’s approach these questions with a positive spin. How many new families will visit your church this year? How many families can you identify that you would not have otherwise, because you implement a child check in system to record their visits? Most importantly – and this is the ultimate question – how many new families can we truly connect with to make a genuine, enduring spiritual impact?
Children’s ministry is integral to the health of the church, and it offers an untapped opportunity to connect with visitors who you wouldn’t connect with otherwise. Imagine the possibilities and envision the relationships that will form and be nurtured even in the coming months because of children’s ministry’s impact!
Upcoming in the series:
Improving Paging and Communication with Parents
- Which methods work best for contacting / paging parents during a worship service?
- We’ll cover: How SMS text messaging decreases interruptions and enhances security
- Which security methods fit your church best?
- We’ll cover: Utilizing different options, including iPad check in, wireless check in, security cards, and iPhone self check-in for parents
Reagan Lynn has a passion for helping churches increase ministry effectiveness, specifically through improving visitor follow up and enhancing member engagement. This drives his career, as he partners with churches to implement systems to accomplish exactly those goals. He resides in Tallahassee, FL and enjoys meaningful conversations, competitive tennis and people-watching at Whole Foods.