Follow-up Calls with Church Guests: What to Do and What Not to Do

Sam Rainer

March 5, 2017


Phone calls are an important connection point with church guests. Not all guests will give you their phone numbers. For those who do, here are some guidelines to consider.

What to Do When Calling Church Guests

Clearly identify yourself. Make sure you mention your name and the name of your church. It’s easy to forget this step!

Double-check the name of the person you are calling. I tend to make my phone calls in batches. After I’ve made several phone calls, I can lose track who I am calling. When I’m making several phone calls in a row, I’ll write the name of the person on a Post-It Note and have it right in front of me. For each call, I’ll use a fresh Post-It Note.

Ask how you can serve them. You should ask every guest if you can help them. People new to the community need help with local connections. People with life changes often have spiritual questions.

Ask if they have prayer requests. One of the best ways a church can serve a guest is through prayer. Always ask guests how you can pray for them.

Ask if they have any questions about the church. Some guests have questions. Most will not ask unless you prompt them. Encourage guests to ask questions. Through the pattern of questions people ask, you’ll learn something about your guests and your church.

Be kind, be brief, and call at a convenient time. Kindness and brevity are a must. Also, early morning calls and late evening calls are ill-advised.

What Not to Do When Calling Church Guests

Don’t wait to follow-up. Call within the week of a guest’s visit. A Sunday visitor should receive a phone call by Wednesday, Thursday at the latest.

Don’t ask personal questions. There is a time and place for questions like, “Where do you work?” A phone call with a first-time guest is not one of those occasions.

Don’t use pressure as a tactic. With church guests, you’re not closing a deal. Rather, you should look for avenues to serve them. Aggressiveness is unnecessary and will scare away most people.

Don’t attempt to tell jokes. It’s awkward. Not many people can land a good joke over the phone with someone they don’t know.

The phone call is one means of communication with church guests. You should also write a letter and send an email if you have the contact information. My church now asks for social media handles from our guests as well. Contact someone two or three times, spread out over a couple of weeks. With your phone calls, follow this list of things to do and not to do.


14 comments on “Follow-up Calls with Church Guests: What to Do and What Not to Do”

  1. KyleB says:

    Sam, I’m curious. Do you make a call in addition to, or instead of, sending a personal note When following up with a visitor?

    1. Sam Rainer says:

      Kyle – We have several points of connection with guests, depending on the amount of contact information they give us. We 1) send a snail mail letter from me 2) have a staff person call them 3) have a Life Group contact them, and 4) reach out via social media. If they have an interest level in our church, we’ll keep following up for about three months.

  2. Thanks for sharing this Sam. Excellent insights. I’d only add, be sure to smile while you speak. There is a significant change in the tone when you do that.

    Thanks again! Great post!

  3. Martin Low says:

    Just want to learn from you more so that I can serve in my Church better. Thanks and God bless.

  4. Jim says:

    I have some heavy stuff on my heart that I sent an email to all the pastors at my church and how important it was to contact them about this and sitting down with them to talk about it… That was 2 weeks ago and no one has reached out to me. I feel like I am being black balled and whatever I had to say was not important. What or how should I respond…Frustated

    1. John says:

      Often times a pastors schedule can be a lot more filled than we realize. At the same time It is the role of a pastor to shepherd, and I doubt they are ignoring you.
      Have you tried reaching out to them again? sometimes it may take more than one reaching out.

      1. JW says:

        First thing I would do is verify my email actually went thru and got received by at least one of the people it was sent to. Secondly it may be that if it was sent to multiple people, each person may be thinking someone else has responded; so I would follow up with another email letting them know I haven’t heard back And again, verify it is received.

  5. Jake says:

    Sam, good thoughts! How do you go about obtaining the names and phone numbers of guests for follow up?

  6. Charles says:

    Is it better for the pastor to do the visitor calls or someone else from the church. Some visitors will be reluctant to return the call when it is the pastor.

    1. I am the “Invite, Welcome, Connect” guy at our church. I call all first time guests each Wednesday. We are small enough that the pastor can sense when and if she should make a call or not.

  7. Rosevictory MBU OTONGUM says:

    Thanks .Please if we have not called our guest who once visited ,what can we do now ,if we call them now though late and very long ,what do we tell them .

  8. Our follow up system begins with

    1. a text message Sunday afternoon to all who have attended a service or event in the last three months.

    2. Mon or Tue, an email with links to our website, FB page, or other sites of interest if they have those.

    3. Wed, a phone call to first time guests (that’s how I came here, looking for script ideas. Excellent, and thank you!). Also Wed: a hand written note to new folks who have returned.

    4. Fri, another text with why they really shouldn’t miss this Sunday.

    In January we had half the people and half the pledges we need to meet our budget. That’s not why a church should reach out, but it certainly helps build support for doing so. We have a long way to go, but we are going in the right direction.

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