Welcoming and Retaining First-Time Guests

Welcoming and Retaining First-Time Guests

Welcoming and Retaining First-Time Guests

These resources are recommended by Melanie Smollen, founder of the Mystery Guest Program. Smollen facilitated the workshop Welcoming and Retaining First-Time Guests in April and November 2018. For additional resources, contact the Center at 866-307-2381 or check out the Congregational Resource Guide at https://thecrg.org/.

“Faith Perceptions Blog.”  Faith Perceptions. Accessed April 9, 2018. https://faithperceptionsblog.com/.
On this site, you will find musings about the real-life experiences of our mystery guests across congregations of every size. Gain helpful insights into what makes guests in your church feel welcome from the very people your church is trying to reach. You’ll also find first impression ministry best practices.

Corcoran, Tom and White, Michael. Rebuilt: Awakening the Faithful, Reaching the Lost, and Making Church Matter. Notre Dame, IN: Ave Marie Press, 2013.
Fr. Michael White and lay associate Tom Corcoran present the compelling and inspiring story to how they brought their parish back to life. Rebuilt is a story of stopping everything and changing focus. When their parish reached a breaking point, Fr. Michael White and lay associate Tom Corcoran asked themselves how they could make the church matter to Catholics, and they realized the answer was at the heart of the gospel. Their faithful response not only tripled their weekend mass attendance, but also yielded increased giving, flourishing ministries, and a vibrant, solidly Catholic spiritual revival.

McIntosh, Gary. Beyond the First Visit: The Complete Guide to Connecting Guests to Your Church. Grand Rapids, MI, 2006.
In this book, McIntosh helps readers assess and improve the ways in which congregations can attract people, welcome them, follow-up and bring them into the church family.

“The Mystery Guest Program.” Faith Perceptions. Accessed April 9, 2018. http://faithperceptions.com/what-we-do/mystery-guest-program
How many people have visited your congregation and not returned? Do you know why? The Mystery Guest Program sends unchurched visitors (people who aren’t regularly attending church) to attend your worship services and share feedback about their experiences. On this website, you can explore how the program works and how unbiased feedback can help your congregation to become more welcoming.

Waltz, Mark. First Impressions – Creating Wow Experiences in your Church. Loveland, CO: Group Publishing, 2013.  
This book will provide you with some practical ways to ensure a visitor's first impression is the best impression. Waltz, who is on staff at Granger Community Church, shares the strategies that work in his church and takes welcoming guests to a whole new level.

Click here for Melanie Smollen's workshop presentation from November 2018.