Getting a visitor or guest to attend Mass (or anything) at your parish is a big deal. But discipleship takes relationship. How to get to know your guests?
A visitor/guest card is usually the first step to attaining the concrete information for follow up.
Some churches will provide a small gift as a thank-you to those filling out and returning cards. And this is good. It’s not bribery. It’s being hospitable. If you come
visit me at my house, I’d probably offer you a beverage and snack (or at least I should!). Likewise, a gift of a $5 gift card to a local coffee shop for visitors who take the time to stop by a Welcome Table after Mass isn’t a sin.
But, some parishes just don’t like doing gifts. Period.
Here’s an awesome alternative idea from Life Point Ohio, from their website:
After our church service is over, please visit Guest Central outside the main auditorium doors to get your questions answered. Do you want to hear a fast and easy way to do a good deed? If you bring us a completed Guest Info Card (inside your listening guide that you’ll receive before the church service) we’ll make a $5.00 donation to a local or international charity. It’s our way saying, “Thanks for joining us!”
A parish could even give visitors who come to return or fill out a card a choice of 2-3 places to make a donation (just look at the success of “Donors Choose” and other initiatives).
What does your parish do to boost or increase the # of visitor cards or contacts you make at parish events? Share your successes and failures here, since it’s great to have visitor cards, but without guests returning them or a follow-up strategy, the value for growing disciples seems limited.