Do you have a plan for engaging visitors?
I was having breakfast this morning with a 2×2 reader in Michigan. She has been very active with 2×2, most recently organizing the relief effort for Pakistan—(which, by the way, will be an ongoing project).
She was looking over her email for news and commented that her church was aging and there is often news that another member died.
We had been talking earlier about “engagement.”The two thoughts started to come together. How do congregations engage with members and with prospective members? This is especially difficult for aging congregations, who have lost contact with the changing neighborhoods surrounding them.
Will changing the way we engage change the way we minister?
Our Ambassador visits to 80 congregations in the last few years were revealing. In most cases we entered the church, worshiped and left without anyone engaging us. People might have been friendly and said hello. Sometimes we were pointed to a guest book. Only once did any pastor write to us after we signed the guest book. That engagement ended with our response. We saw no intentional engagement plans as part of any evangelism effort.
It is the congregation’s job to keep the conversation going! If the ball is dropped, it is most likely our fault!
Engagement is so possible today on so many different levels. It could be transformational for any church.
In the business world, marketers use something called an Engagement Sequence. It details the exact steps they take to keep in conversation with people who show interest in their product or service. They know that it takes time to earn trust and confidence. The engagement sequence is designed to foster that relationship.
This was so much harder before the internet. But now churches can take advantage of this new capability.
The process is very intentional and can create multiple channels depending on the responses.
Prospect A shows interest in a product or service. They immediately get a first response which is followed with as many as 8 or more follow-ups spaced a few days or a week apart. Each response is triggered by the action taken by the recipient. The engagement sequence could divert an interested recipient to a different engagement track or keep them on their initial track. It all depends on the responses.
None of this is “engagement” is spam. The process is initiated and approved at every step by the recipient. If a prospect loses interest, they can opt out at any time. No harm. No foul. The art is in creating engagement that is helpful to the recipient — and isn’t that what mission is all about!
Does your church have an Engagement Sequence? Do you have a way of engaging with people who visit. What about online (which these days is the where people look when planning to visit)?
It is SO possible to engage with prospective members before they ever set food in church.
There is NO reason to wait for a second visit.
2×2 is starting to incorporate this tool as part of our summer reconstruction of our website. We’ll share what we are learning in future posts!