Creating a Learning Network for Kingdom Builders!

Retaining Visitors... Close that back door!

Johnny and I have been on the road this week. Mostly we have been meeting with pastors and church leaders. We have been discussing Kingdom's Visitor Retention Program. I'd like to report that many pastors and leaders are interested. Just yesterday we saw a small church of 100 who gets about 10 adult visitors per week. They know they have a big, swinging back door!!! And, they are interested in closing it. We are looking forward to them joining one of our groups of pastors who are learning to retain their visitors!

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Comment by Jerry Hartman on February 23, 2009 at 7:51am
In response to Sparrow's comment: You are right. From the research I have been studying, preaching is the number one reason that people went from being unchurched to being churched, and in most cases from being lost to being saved. However, the research also pointed out the effects of bad experiences in churches. When their isn' training and systems in place to truely extend God's welcoming hand, many don't even hear the preaching. When they walk into a church and aren't greeted and served they feel like a stranger and they feel unwelcome. When the facility isn't inviting they don't feel invited. When they have to find their own way to a seat or anyplace else in the church they feel like an outsider. When someone tells them they have to move vecause they are in their seat they feel like an outcast. When people have a bad pre-service experience, we make it very difficult for them to hear the sermon in a positive way. In America, we have to train our congregations and ministry teams to handle visitors well. We have to design systems that enable us to truly extend God's welcoming hand. This is why the research has shown that people make the decision to come back for a second visit within seven minutes of entering the parking lot. We have the responsibility to control first impressions.

Once we effectivley create a positive pre-service experience, then people are ready to hear the message preached from the pulpit. Ultimately it is the preaching and discipleship that turn new people into long-time fully engaged memebers. But if we don't get them to come back for a second visit, and a third visit, the preaching won't reach them. It all works together when it is designed right. Fortunately, we don't have to reinvent the wheel. There are about 4% of the churches in the U.S.A. that have worked hard to figure out how to reach people in our culture and keep them. We can learn a lot from these churches. It is because of the systems and programs that these churches have developed that they are able to get God's word deep into the lives of their people. I am convinced that this kind of dynamic growth can happen in any church in any community. The Biblical principles work anywhere, anytime.

Together, we can reawaken the church of America. We must reach the communities for Christ and change the spiritual climate of our nation. If we aren't growing, we aren't reaching. It's not about numbers, it is about each person that is represented by their number being counted in a strong Bible-believing church in Amercia.

God gave us brains so that we could multiply the talents he gave us. Let's think together as we pray together and follow Christ's lead together.

Jerry Hartman
Comment by Jerry Hartman on February 9, 2009 at 4:53pm
It has been exciting working with the churches in Kingdom's Visitor Retention Program. I know that the research that we are using reported fantastic results when basic biblical principles are followed, but I never dreamed that the results could be this fast. We are hearing that when churches truly learn how to extend God's welcoming hand that people respond. In the Old Testament there are many examples where the Isrealites were commanded to include the foreigners in their celebration and feasts. They were also included in their army. Jesus gave us the example of welcoming tax collectors and sinners. Paul welcomed all who came.

In our culture we have to be intentional about how we welcome our guests. The Visitor Retention Program looks at what the top 4% of the churches have learned. We have learned that the same principles can easily be reproduced in any Bible believing church. We have to show our guests that we care before we will ever have a chance to minister to them. There are many things we can do to show them that we care. When we do, we are demonstrating that Jesus cares.
Comment by Katie on February 2, 2009 at 4:02pm
I would like to share exciting results from 2 pastors who are currently participating in Kingdom's Visitor Retention Program.

Pastor Wendall Smith with Faith Temple Church of God in Wauchula Florida says, "In Early November we got into Kingdom's Visitor Retention Program. It has been a great asset to our church. We have seen the growth already in these short 3 months that we have been in the program. We went from 60, 65 people to in the 80's now. We are excited about reaching people for the harvest of God."

Pr Robert Campbell from New Beginning Christian Church says, " I wanted to make a couple of comments about my experience with Kingdom's Visitor Retention Program. This course has really helped us to focus on putting people, and procedures, and policies into place and causing them to focus on making others feel welcome at our church. Before I started this program, we were right at 280 people a Sunday, right now we are at 400 people a Sunday. This is in about 3 months. I have shared this with my friends and told them that this would be a good investment.

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