Connecting with Church Guests

Dear New Beginnings UMC Members,

I have a close friend named Rev. Bob Farr who co-wrote a book called Get Their Name: Growing Your Church by Building New Relationships (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2013). While New Beginnings is already doing many of these steps, it does not hurt to see if we can include any steps that may be missing. I hope that this information is helpful.

-Pastor Mike Shearon

 Connect with your Church Guests-Facilitate a Culture of Inclusiveness


We’ve all become desensitized. We don’t make eye contact, because it uncomfortable, or we are too busy looking down at our phones. Let’s make a change. Let’s look at each other, say, “Good morning! How are you?” and actually mean it! Let’s invest in our church guests, which is investing in the growth of our churches and the Kingdom of God. Our guests have already done the hard part. They got out of bed, and through our church doors. The next part is up to you: Make a genuine connection.  Let’s not just make Jesus and our church memorable for them. But make our guest memorable for us!


-Obstacles- talking instead of listening, things to do, wrong focus, ect.

-Fears (of connecting with people)

Tools to Connect

  1. Learning Names

Try to learn 2-4 New Names every week. This is very do-able.

How to:

-Use nametags when appropriate

-Make notes in your phone about people you’ve just met. Include physical details and things you talked about

-Don’t give up. Keep trying and asking. Be sincere if you forget, and ask again.

  1. Make an Appointment to Connect outside of Church

Let it be appropriate, teenage girls with other teenage girls. Men go with men. Couples with other couples.

-Women’s small group, make a coffee date

-Couple’s Sunday School class have dinner together at one another’s homes

-Teen Movie night with chaperons

  1. Be inviting at Church

-Sit with guest (where they feel comfortable sitting, meet them where they are sitting and ask to sit with them)

-Introduce them to others in church

-Show them to where they are going. Example: They are looking for childcare, walk with them to where they need to go.

-Ask if they would like some coffee, serve them.

  1. Get Personal

-Ask questions, get to know them. Find out if they have kids, if so, how old. Where they went/go to school. Hobbies, talents, etc.

-All this will help you get them plugged into the church.

  1. Follow Up

-Are they getting plugged into the church?

-Are they staying connected?

-Keep investing and asking?

Example: “Where you able to chat with Jim about joining the praise band?” “How are your kids liking Joan’s Sunday School?” “Did Jessica sign up for the Teen Movie Night?”


  1. The Domino Effect

Teach your church leaders the plan. Have your leaders teach their friends. Create a culture of a domino effect of your church constantly connecting with your guest.

*Deal is: If you learn a name, you are responsible for all the steps!

 First, ask yourself: Do we regularly have NEW GUESTS?

If not, it is ok. Get with your Outreach Team, and start driving traffic to your church!