What happens to your new visitors? Are you a good host?
Maybe you have a random supply of people trickling into your ministry this summer (if you have a summer ministry), or maybe all your newbies come during the school year. Regardless, this week’s Fridea is actually 4-for-the-price-of-1.
You may disagree with me, but I would argue that any or all of the following very easy additions can actually make you and your students better “hosts” for the new guests that come.
Interestingly enough, these moves are all pretty prevalent. But in college ministry right now, what is “obvious” to many college ministers is often completely surprising to others. So depending on where you stand on each of these, don’t say “duh” too loudly – or be too skeptical of these new-fangled ideas. You might be surprised at how many ministries do / don’t do these very things.
To nametag or not to nametag? That is the question. College students have hang-ups about not remembering names – and so do college ministry leaders! So name tags facilitate community, plain and simple – both by increasing the repitition of each person’s favorite sound (their own name) AND by decreasing the community-destroying instances of what-is-their-name?-itis.
How many of your “core” members have you “deputized” to assimilate visitors? This can be formal or informal; I would vote for a mix of both. Formally, we can assign (friendly) students to this task. Informally, we can also encourage great habits of the whole group – like, “Spend five minutes talking to people you don’t know, before you talk to people you do know.” (I would consider that one a particularly strong Best Practice, by the way.)
Honestly, if a visitor leaves without having an obvious, encouraged chance to give us some contact information, I think we lose! I’m amazed at the number of college ministries I’ve been able to slip into (and out of) without once having someone ask for information or at least encouraging visitors to provide it somewhere. Most students are used to giving info anyway, so this is low-hanging fruit. Of course the ways we follow up must be helpful, wise, low-pressure ways… but we do want to follow up, don’t we?
Lastly – and this might be one I’ve noticed the least around the country – do you provide your visitors with a next step? How can that student find out more about your ministry? Or when’s the next fun hang-out? Any strong event coming up? I don’t encourage a push to “joining” (whatever that means in your case) just yet, but give me something to do next – either on-the-spot or in that follow-up message!
The previous Frideas (some zany, some normal, lots for summer): go here.