visitors before virus

Untapped Potential: Engage with Visitors from Before the Coronavirus

Your visitors Mike and Stephanie Oaks moved into your town in January. They took the risk and tried several churches in the area. They did what most people don’t and filled out visitor cards for every place they visited.

Most, if not all, of the churches called, sent a letter, or both, after they visited the first time. They expressed a genuine appreciation for the Oaks visiting, and a heartfelt invitation to come again. They were attentive and friendly. Since those first contacts, the Oaks have not yet found a church.

Then, the coronavirus …

None of the churches Mike and Stephanie visited have reached out to them. They felt disconnected before as they were looking, but now they just feel isolated and alone. Each church they watch online each Sunday talks about calling members, connecting classes and small groups, and making sure people are not left out. 

Hopefully, your church has been figuring out ways to take care of your members. You’ve set up online meetings, you’ve got your Sunday school or small group leaders engaged, and you’ve got plans to keep communicating any ministry or service updates.

But, have you thought about reaching out to those who have visited you?

Here are some overlooked groups to consider.

  • Visitors from December 1, 2019 to the present
  • Visitors from January 1, 2019 to the present
  • Friends and family of your members and regular attenders
  • Public servants: teachers, law enforcement, medical staff, etc.
  • Social Media/Facebook friends and contacts

What you can do.

  • Enlist church staff, Deacons, group or ministry leaders, Sunday school teachers, etc. We have a great resource on how to mobilize your group leaders. Check out the post here.
  • Pray that the Lord leads you to the right people.
  • Put together the list of people to contact. Your church members could make up their own personal list to contact, youth, and children with their friends from school/teams. You can make this an initiative amongst your church members to come up with a certain number of people to pray over, call, and invite to a small group or online service. If you want to help train your members on how to invite and share the gospel, be sure to check out
  • Divide up the list amongst your leaders.
  • Make personal calls. A personal contact is much better than just a text or email with people we do not know well.
  • People could start the conversation with: 
    • “Hi, I am from __________ Church. We are reaching out to people who have had any contact with our church to see they are taken care of during this unusual time. How are you doing? How is your family? Is there anything we can help you with? Is there any way we could pray for you?”

From there, see if there is a way to connect visitors to other groups or people in your church. The connections you make now can easily carry over after the wave of the coronavirus has receded. Prepare for follow ups. Be sure that you have the initial touch point (phone call) and then have a way to follow up with your visitors.

Maybe the people who came to your church are like Mike and Stephanie, in need of connection, care, and the gospel, but they are not going to beg for it. This could be the opportunity for you and your church to be a blessing in a fresh way to someone who needs it.

You can use these tips anytime, but now more than ever, people need to hear they are being thought about and prayed over. For more COVID-19 resources, join the group on Facebook.

Published April 14, 2020