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Being one of the instructors of the Visitor Retention Program, I am amazed at how QUICKLY results have been happening, especially noting INCREASED ATTENDANCE. Have you been seeing the same? Please share your results and your best methods of achieving them.

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Hi Jack,

 

It has been a long time since I heard from you. This is great.

 

The category that you have questions about is the one about visitors from another church. But before I comment on that group, I would like to point out that with the many churches I have coached in the visitor retention program, most of the visitors who stayed were either unchurched, unsaved, or rechurched. There are many reports of new salvations and baptisms, in fact, it appears that this is the largest category of the three for many churches. Some of the unchurched were saved, but never found a church home. This is a growing group in our culture, because of TV and Internet church, and a culture that has "downplayed" going to church. The rechurched category often contains people who "technically" are members of other churches, but who haven't been attending for a long time. Many churches keep people on their rolls long after they stopped attending. Or, they keep them on the rolls even if they are only C&E Christians. (Christmas and Easter.) But this group really hasn't been connected to a church in a long time. Often their memebership is kept in a church that is a long distance away from where they live now. So I don't consider them to be church hoppers.

 

Now to the question at hand, people who switch churches and show up as visitors. (And not because they moved to another location.) First, on their initial visit, you won't know which category they are from. So you have to treat them all the same. (This isn't just because you don't know the category, it is what extending God's welcoming hand is all about.) With the churches I have worked with , this seems to be a smaller group of visitors. When this group chooses a different church there are two reasons. The first group are Christians who are members of a strong Bible-teaching church who are generally dissatisfied with how an issue is handled in their church and are taking the easy way out - find another church. We teach the once you have identified people from this group, our first goal is to try to encourage them resolve the issues they have with their church and not abandon them. Unfortunately, we don't usually know about those issues in the first few visits. However, with the processes we coach, it should show up within the first few weeks. Then a good pastor will deal with it appropriately. The other group of church hoppers are Christians, (and often the unsaved) from other churches who are either unsaved, recently been saved, or rededicated their lives to Christ and are seeking a strong Bible-teaching church that will disciple them. Often this seeking is started by the realization that their current church isn't a strong Bible-teaching church, or one that isn't a church that disciples their people. There are many churches like this in the USA. This group is legitimately church hopping and should be welcomed in.

 

Regardless of which of the above categories people are in when they visit our churches, we have the responsibility to be ready to receive them. We can't neglect this ministry and expect to grow. After all, you will never add a single person to your church without them first coming as a visitor.

 

Jerry

Jack Frost said:

So the question still comes...are those 30 new 'members' just transplants from other churches?  If so, then the other churches are not saying "Praise the Lord!" but 'why are our people leaving?'...and some leaders are getting upset because someone is "stealing their sheep"....

I don't see an issue when new folks are truly new to church, but that isn't the normal new visitor to church.


Joseph & Alohma Bishop said:

Dear Jerry,
Praise the Lord........WOW. WOW. WOW. Can you feel and experience the power and move of the Holy Spirit in these days. Just returned from an outside evangelism event in cener city Philadelphia. The altar call was packed with unchurched persons, people were coming from the streets asking for prayer and salvation. This was amazing........the bible says this is the Lord's doing and it is marvelous in our sight. By the way we have very nearly reached the three hundred barrier. God is amazing. Why did it take us so long to believe His word? Concerning growth in the church. Get ready for the above and beyond what we can think or imagine!!!!!!----I AM VERY EXCITED-----FIRE FROM HEAVEN-------PASTOR JOSEPH

Jerry Hartman said:
Pastor Joe,
I know from working with you in the Visitor Retention Plan that you are very committed teaching all these people to be fully engaged Christians. It isn't numbers just for numbers sake. Every one of those "numbers" represents a transformed life. I pray that this renewed spirit continues to grow in your church so that it spreads to your entire community, so much so that it transforms the spiritual climate of your community. And I know that you have a rather large community.
Jerry

Jerry Hartman said:
Joseph & Alohma Bishop said:
DAVE,
I AM A WITNESS TO THE FRUITS OF THE VISITOR RETENTION PROGRAM. THESE CHURCH GROWTH PRACTICES DO WORK. ONE MUST DISCIPLINE THEMSELVES TO THE PRACTICES UNTIL THEY SEE THE RESULTS. THIS WEEKEND IN OUR CHURCH WE HAVE EXPERIENCED OVER 20+ GUESTS. FIRST TIME VISITORS. WE WERE AVERAGING 9 PER SERVICE. WE WORK HARD AT THE PRACTICES THAT WE HAVE JUST LEARNED AND WE SEE THE FRUIT OF OUR LABOR. GOD HAS ALLOWED US TO RETAIN 1 OUT OF EVERY 2 GUESTS THAT VISIT. WE ATTRIBUTE THIS TO PRAYER AND THE METHODS THAT WE HAVE LEARNED FROM YOUR PROGRAM. WE HAVE GROWN BY 30 PERSONS WITHIN THREE MONTHS.

WE MUST BE DILIGENT.--------PASTOR JOSEPH

WOW! 30 new regular attenders in 3 months! Isn't our God great. When we dedicate ourselves and our ministries to prayer and in following the principles that God has given us, he multiplies the efforts.

Are there any more out there who have been experiencing an increase in visitor retention?

Praise the Lord Dave,

 

     We are still utilizing the VRP training and we are still increasing and growing.  Haven't heard from you in a while but just wanted to let you know that we are still increasing and to God be all the Glory.  We believe that we may have maxed out the facility that we are in and are praying for a strategy to move forward.  We went from one service to two services and will probably look into a third soon.  One of our challenges still continues to be gift baskets because of the amount of guests that we have.  But we are still retaining one out of three guests.  Our church is steadily growing and know we have had an explosion in one of the nearby highschools.  Once again thank you for the timely training, we are forever grateful for your obedience to the call of God upon your life.  Thank you.

Sincerely,

Pastor Joseph A. Bishop
VICTORY OUTREACH CHURCH OF PHILADELPHIA

P.S.

     WE HAVE BROKEN TWO GROWTH BARRIERS WITH YOUR TRAINING AND LOOKING FORWARD TO BREAKING ANOTHER WITHIN 3 TO 6 MONTHS.

Greetings, Pastor Joe,

SOOOOO good to hear from you.  I speak of you often in our continuing VRP classes.  You have been a GREAT example of being faithful to the Lord, preparing ahead of time, and giving God the chance to respond to your level of preparation.  Remember Elisha telling the widow to collect all the empty vessels in the village?  She prepared in faith ahead of time, and God responded to her level of preparation.  What if she had determined to go beyond her village--say, every village in a radius of 5 miles?  Or maybe every village in a radius of 10 miles?  Would God still have responded to her level of preparation, which HE interprets as faith?  You bet!  Is there anything wrong with expanding our faith beyond what God instructs?

I told one pastor the other day--Do you want a church of 1,000?  Then let God see the 1,000 Gift Packs you've prepared in the back of your church, and let Him see how you've prepared your staff to follow up on 1,000 visitors.

Blessings, Dave

 

Joseph & Alohma Bishop said:

Praise the Lord Dave,

 

     We are still utilizing the VRP training and we are still increasing and growing.  Haven't heard from you in a while but just wanted to let you know that we are still increasing and to God be all the Glory.  We believe that we may have maxed out the facility that we are in and are praying for a strategy to move forward.  We went from one service to two services and will probably look into a third soon.  One of our challenges still continues to be gift baskets because of the amount of guests that we have.  But we are still retaining one out of three guests.  Our church is steadily growing and know we have had an explosion in one of the nearby highschools.  Once again thank you for the timely training, we are forever grateful for your obedience to the call of God upon your life.  Thank you.

Sincerely,

Pastor Joseph A. Bishop
VICTORY OUTREACH CHURCH OF PHILADELPHIA

P.S.

     WE HAVE BROKEN TWO GROWTH BARRIERS WITH YOUR TRAINING AND LOOKING FORWARD TO BREAKING ANOTHER WITHIN 3 TO 6 MONTHS.

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