One thing we can count on each Easter (in addition to those nasty goo-filled chocolate eggs) is the Easter bump. Like Christmas, most of us experience a surge in our attendance on Easter morning. Many of us have to add a service, adjust times, or pull out extra chairs to accommodate the swelling crowds. And then a few weeks later, our attendance is usually back to normal. Unless we prepare to communicate and help those new people connect to the life of our church, they simply won’t come back.
There are quite a few reasons for this. Some guests are family from out of town and some are the Christmas/Easter-only crowd; yet, even with these factors, there are several visitors on Easter morning who are looking for a place to call home. While we may not retain 100% of the increased attendance, with proper planning we can make it easy for people to connect.
Instead of only focusing on making your parking lot experience welcoming, let’s look at how you can use technology to reach people, even when they aren’t at your building.
These tips will help your connections team work smarter, not harder, this Easter.
Mobilize Your people
With all the activity around Easter, you will need some help. Using a platform like aware3 enables you to recruit and sign-up volunteers for the various tasks that need to be completed.
In the weeks leading up to your Easter services, make it simple for people to serve by creating forms that can be completed from a mobile device and will instantly alert your staff of someone’s interest.
Don’t Let People Fall Through the Cracks
Give people a reason to pull out their cell phones on Easter morning. Visitors might not know the expectations during the service. Let them know that it is okay to have their cell phone out in service. In fact, one easy way to engage them is using aware3’s Text-to-Act.
During your announcements, you can tell them that, if they are a visitor, you have a small gift for them. Instead of using paper sign-up sheets or visiting a crowded welcome table, all they need to do is text “I’m New” to your dedicated Text-to-Act number. This allows you to customize your response and connect with each new person immediately, and ensure they aren’t missed. It closes the back door and makes sure no one falls through the cracks.
All About Follow-Up
Follow-up is the not-so-secret ingredient to having return visitors. It used to be that after service a flurry of activity happened in the church office, mostly centered around sheets of paper that hopefully wouldn’t get lost. In that traditional experience, the visitor might receive a letter in the mail – assuming you can read their writing on the connection card!
By using digital engagement tools on Sunday morning, visitors can receive a custom thank you note from the pastor while the Easter ham is still in the oven. You can ensure they are connected in a personalized manner to the specific ministries in which they express interest, rather than a generic response sent to everyone.
How your church handles giving on Easter may differ from how you normally do it other weeks of the year. Some churches don’t do an overt offering on Easter Sunday, some make a bigger deal of it, and others even do a special offering supporting a specific cause or mission. Whatever you do about giving on Easter morning, there will definitely be people in the crowd who are visitors and won’t know what to expect.
Using a tool like Text-to-Give lets people connect and give in an easy and comfortable way. As an added bonus, if a visitor makes a gift using Text-to-Give, it creates a profile for them in your aware3 system that makes it much easier for you to follow up with a thank you and an invite to come back.
This Easter, connect and engage with your first-time visitors using the tools that are available to you and comfortable for your guests.