Easter is coming! Here are 8 ways to be ready this year.

#marriage

#marriage

No, this is not me and “Cousin It”. This is my wife Michelle and I. I call this California Spring Super Bloom photo “#marriage”.

Let me explain. We were on Highway 58 in the middle of nowhere when we stumbled upon this manifestation of the Super Bloom phenom that has hit post drought California in this heavy season of rain. We were so excited, we jumped out of the car, crossed a creek and ran into a field full of cows. When I said to my wife, “Let’s take a selfie”, she said OK and this happened: 2 people taking a selfie at the same time in opposite directions.

No planning or special effects here. This is just marriage at its best folks. Because of the sun, I didn’t even realize my wife wasn’t facing the camera but was taking her own photo of the back of my head. When I swiped through the photos when we got back to the car, I discovered this beauty.

Stop judging me…

As I look around the corner toward Easter at my church, I feel a little like this photo: A leader making calls, surrounded by leaders and followers who I think are in synch with me, but finding that we have the potential for a lot of sideways energy.

Don’t be like my wife and I in a Spring Super Bloom facing two different directions. Take some time to get ready and wow your guests with a great experience to celebrate the greatest event in human history-the resurrection of Jesus.

Toward that end, I recently shared 8 ways to be prepared for guests this Easter on a podcast with Rich Birch from unSeminary released last week. Here are 2 of those ways:

#5: The gift you give away in exchange for people’s contact information matters. 

Give a good one. It doesn’t have to be expensive. Perceived value is what matters. I saw a church in South America give away a free cup of coffee at their welcome counter to new guests who were willing to share their contact info with them. (they have incredible coffee down there!). Incidentally, since that church built their “4-Point Assimilation Strategy”, they have grown by 32%. Helping them with this effort was a blast.

Another church in the rural Midwest gave away incredible homemade cookies in exchange for their contact info. Another in downtown San Francisco gave away their own version of homemade “Texas Toast”. It’s beyond incredible (I vouch for it). It doesn’t have to be expensive. It just has to be good. It lets those who are guests at your church know that you value you them and they are special.

I have come across a few churches that do not invite guests on Easter (or Christmas for that matter) to share their contact info with them. No welcome gift shared, no way to connect with guests afterwards. These churches (some of them mega-churches) feel like it is unspiritual, “uneasterly” to focus on giving gifts or asking for contact info. When I hear that I think to myself, “Is it unspiritual to make a disciple on Easter?” How could you make a disciple of Jesus if you cannot even contact them to invite them into such a relationship?

I like to say, “She’s not your girlfriend till you have her phone number and they’re not your guest until you have their contact info.” At my church last year, 18% of all the guest cards we received came on Christmas. 10% of all the cards we received for the year came through, you guessed it, Easter services.

The bottom line: If you want to make a disciple, start by getting their contact information to build a relationship. A good welcome gift makes that possible.

easter post 2.jpg

#6: Make sure you have an assimilation follow up plan beginning on Easter.

Ours includes a welcome email (or letter if no email address is shared by the guest) within 48 hours. In addition, a hand written note card from our Guest Central Team is sent along with a gift card for our church’s cafe. When they use it, we have an automatic way of tracking our 2nd time visits.

Our follow up includes clear invitations to an environment we have created especially for guests called Next Steps. It’s designed for guests to have fun, meet friends, and grow in their faith in 4 sessions. Attending it automatically helps them find a small group and join a ministry team which many of them do within a month of experiencing Next Steps.

Whatever environment you have designed for guests to find new friends and a ministry role in your church, make sure all your follow up is pointing them there.

Curious about the other 6 ways to be ready for Easter? 

Click here to listen to a short podcast where I cover all 8 in greater depth, along with invaluable comments and thoughts about Easter from Natalie Frisk, Ben Stapley, and our host Rich Birch.

Want to build a guest connection strategy to automatically assimilate guests by your Fall Kick-Off this year?

Watch these 6 videos. Share them with your team and build it in just a few months. I am so grateful for all of you who have taken the time to tell me how this video course is changing the game for you. Could not be more excited.

If you would rather just have me come and work with your staff on site for a couple days to help you create the plan hands-on, consider a Base Camp for your staff. These are fun, personalized and ultra-productive in getting your team designing, implementing and using the same effective assimilation strategy.

#headingthesamedirection

#headingthesamedirection

Whatever it takes to get your team facing the same direction this Easter and this Fall, do it. You won’t regret unleashing the power of alignment in your church or the healthy results it brings your ministry.