A Come Back Strategy for Christmas

A Come Back Strategy for Christmas

My goal in preaching is to get people to come back next week and bring a friend. I once heard a pastor at a preaching conference state that as his goal in preaching each week. Churches spend much time and effort getting new people in the door. Yet few think about how to get those same people to return the next week. As churches prepare for one of their largest gatherings of the year, Christmas, my thoughts are on how to devise a strategy for when attendance and engagement spike to yearly highs.

Church strategist, Thom Rainer, wrote this about attendance spikes. “I understand numbers are not everything in the health of the church. But we would be negligent if we did not see the gospel opportunities in reaching new people who might come during one of the spikes.” Here is his list:

  1. Easter. Reason for spike: More inactive and less active church members attend, often to make their annual token appearance. The attendance growth is therefore the result of most of the church members showing up at the same time. Easter is typically not a day where a large number of unchurched people show up.
  2. Christmas Eve. Reason for spike: More unchurched persons attend. From an evangelistic perspective, Christmas Eve services may be the most important services of the year. Many unchurched are attracted to the traditions of Christmas, particularly those demonstrated in Christmas Eve services.
  3. Mother’s Day. Reason for spike: Mom desires to have many family members attend church together. The spike thus is typically a mix of nominal Christians and non-Christians. The spike of Mother’s Day is usually not as large as that of Easter or Christmas Eve.
  4. Contextual/Planned Day. This spike may be the result of the church’s heritage. I remember in two rural churches I served where the annual homecoming was a big deal. I know an urban church that goes all out to honor first responders on a high-attendance day. A number of churches plan a day to invite unchurched persons.1.

Behind every number is a life that God created for a purpose. They didn’t accidentally wander into your church. God sent them to you. Their engagement or attendance at one of your big event days gives you an incredible opportunity to disciple them in the Faith. The question is how.

At OnlineGiving.org, we understand how important these attendance spikes can be, and we have designed our system for such challenges. Let me share with you two of our features that are designed to help you engage with both new attendees and long-time members. First, our Custom Forms tool gives our clients a powerful tool of engagement that starts from welcoming guests and thanking people for their donations and continues allowing you to communicate with them instantly. Read more about the power of our Custom Forms: https://www.onlinegiving.org/support/remarkably-custom-forms

The next feature I want to highlight is our chatbot. Wikipedia says, “A chatbot or chatterbot is a software application used to conduct an online chat conversation via text or text-to-speech. Chatbots are used in dialog systems for various purposes, including customer service, request routing, or information gathering.”2. Northridge Church in Rochester NY uses our chatbot feature for many things. Northridge has found our chatbot particularly effective at following up on new attendees and those who prefer attending online. Brad stated, “We find two specific kinds of people that chatbots help us communicate with. The first is church members who are uncomfortable attending in person for whatever reason. The second group is those who have questions about spiritual matters and seek answers. Again, for whatever reason, they have not felt comfortable attending in person. OnlineGiving.org’s chatbot feature is perfect for helping us engage with these people.” With your church set to see a spike in attendance this Christmas, finding a way to instantly communicate with this segment will be key in whether you can continue engagement with them. Our chatbot can help you develop a strategy that gets them back after Christmas.

Read more about how Northridge utilizes our chatbot: https://www.onlinegiving.org/support/chatbot-for-church-growth.

What would you do this Christmas if over 500 people came to Christ? Earlier this year, we posted how one of our clients utilized one part of our platform to help them follow up on their huge spike event of the year, Easter. You can read more about their story here: https://www.onlinegiving.org/support/how-todays-tech-advances-a-2000-year-old-story. If that worked for Easter, the same strategy will work for Christmas or any spiked attendance.

As you work these next few days to increase your Christmas attendance, my question is, do you have a follow-up strategy to bring those coming this Christmas back again? We do, and we have the platform and tools to help your church design one for your spike attendance weekends. Let’s get started now!

  1. https://churchanswers.com/blog/the-four-common-high-attendance-days-in-churches/
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chatbot

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