It happens every week at churches all across the nation and the world. Someone walks in the door who is not a member of the church of Christ either because they are completely new or they have been visiting for a while and have not yet decided to put their faith in Jesus. I’ve written in the past about how to format a Guest Packet for these types of people so they leave with information and encouragement about the body of Christ, but there’s more to evangelizing our guests than just handing them a packet of information and walking away. How can a church really teach these guests and pour into their lives so they will see the love, truth and mercy of God?
The 5 Minute Rule
The most important times in services for guests is not during the worship itself. For the most part, they are either going to be confused as to why the worship of the church is so different from that of what they have experienced in the past or they are going to be focused on worshipping God themselves Worship is not for the non-Christian. However, it is a great teaching tool and edification tool for the local church to reach out to their guests.
No, the 5 Minute Rule is the important time for guests to our worship. That is, the 5 minutes before and after worship. That is the time that members have the chance to welcome them, answer their questions and pray with them. It is the time where they are going to see the family of the church, not just the worship of the church.
Make it a point to really focus on the 5 Minute Rule when it comes to guests. Don’t let them walk in without a greeting and meeting someone. Don’t let them sit alone without anyone around them.
Here is where every church can improve. The 5 Minute Rule is easy to implement because the person is right in front of you. It’s after they leave that it becomes real work because the goal is to either get them to see a need in coming back to services or have some other means of teaching them the Gospel. Here are a few tips…
- Email them the day after they visit. (I use Mailchimp for this)
- Send a note/card a few days after they visit. (Either from the preacher, elders or from members)
- Call them a week after they visit. (This should be from the leadership in my opinion)
- Pray for them every day after they visit!
That brings me to my last part. How many times do we pray for the guests to our services? I know we will if they voice a concern or a specific request, but I believe it’s important to pray for them regardless of whether or not they have said they need it. If they aren’t a member of the church, they need something (the salvation found in Christ). If they are visiting looking for a new church, they need something (somewhere where they can work and serve Christ faithfully). There is always a reason to pray for our guests and too often we forget that because we are focused on running the machine instead of serving the Lord.