One thing I want to get just right is our first time guest communication sequence. A first time guest communication sequence can be a series of communication that you perform manually, or automate. Many church software systems can automate a sequence like this. I prefer something like Planning Center People, which can automate things very well. My church uses Elexio Community, which is decent at automations, but a little more complicated than Planning Center.

Rather than delve into the details of my specific church software and how I setup an automation, I want to share what I actually communicate with first time guests.

My First Time Guest Communication Sequence

We usually have about 5-10 first time guest families check in a child on a Sunday. It’s very easy for me to see those records, so those are the ones with whom I’ll be communicating. Right up front though, I want to remind you to check your system to make sure that it will only send the communication stream to one person. It can feel very unprofessional and “chatbot” -ish if the person is getting 3 copies of the same message.

So the person attended and checked in children on a Sunday. Then on the next day, a Monday, we send them a text message that says, “Hi @NAME Thanks for attending at Greenwood Baptist Church yesterday! Please let us know how we did by filling out this survey:” (@NAME tells our system to use their first name). The link included goes to a survey about our children’s area. This survey helps us to know how first time guests view our preschool and grade-school areas. But it also communicates to the guest that their opinion matters, and that we want to know what they think.

Next, on Saturday of that week they get the following text message: “Hi @NAME we hope you will attend at Greenwood again this Sunday. You can find out more about our ministry team here:”. That link takes them to a page where they can find out more information about our staff. I do this so that they will recognize some faces when they show up for their second Sunday.

On Monday, 8 days after their first attendance, we send them a text that says, “Hi @NAME we would love to see you on a Wednesday Evening for Bible study, you can also view our calendar here:”. This third text message communicates that we have more than just our Sunday morning stuff going on. We also want to make sure that they feel invited to join in.


I hope that you will leave a comment below to let me know what you think of our first time guest sequence. I’ll be posting a few more of these sort of posts in the future. We have several communication sequences that we want to take place when people make decisions, or give, or attend a small group. I look forward to sharing those things in the future.

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