Maximizing First-Time Guest Engagement with Church Connection Cards

Want to maximize first-time guest engagement? In this blog post we share simple ways to create a connection card for your church community.

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Welcoming new visitors should be one of the most important things a church community does. Not only are new visitors critical to the expansion of the Body of Christ, but they potentially represent people who are seeking Jesus for the first time, or coming back to the faith.

Consider the following scenario: A college student visits a church for the first time, looking for connection and truth. He’s overwhelmed by his studies and is experiencing difficulty at home–plus, he’s been struggling with anxiety and depression. When he visits, a couple people are friendly, but he leaves feeling like more of a spectator. He never has a chance to learn about small groups or specific ministries and never comes back.

Or consider this scenario: A couple in their thirties visits a church after years away from any sort of Christian community. Raising young children, they are now interested in returning to their childhood faith and are looking for others who can help support them on this journey as a family. They visit a church and have a nice time, but there aren’t any opportunities to connect in a concrete way with the community. They visit a couple more times, but after a few weeks of leaving the service without a way to connect outside of Sunday, they stop coming.

Unfortunately, these situations aren’t uncommon. And more than missed opportunities to welcome in new people, they can also represent missed opportunities to see Jesus “seek and save the lost” (Luke 19:10).

The solution lies in a simple tool: the Church Connection Card. But it's not just about having a Church Connection Card; it’s about having a card that’s effective and dynamic.

In the following article, we’ll look at simple ways to create a connection card for your church community.

What is a Church Connection Card?

A Church Connection Card is a gateway for newcomers to connect with your church family. Typically, a simple printed card, it’s designed to collect contact information, prayer requests, and interests in a form that demonstrates hospitality. Some churches may choose to simple only basic information (like name and email) on their connection card. Others may choose to do a deeper dive, and ask how the visitors discovered their community, and what they might be interested in learning more about (whether that’s a specific ministry, small group, or Biblical literacy).

Finally, a Church Connection Card doesn’t have to be exclusively on paper. It can also drive new visitors to input information on their mobile phones (such as with a QR code).

Common Missteps with Church Connection Cards

Here are a few mistakes that churches often make when creating and managing connection cards.

  • Missing the Mark on Follow-Up: Lack of prompt, personalized follow-up can make first-time guests feel overlooked. Remember that connection cards must be the first step in a process of follow-up designed to bring new visitors into deeper community outside of weekend services.
  • Neglecting Digital Integration: Not utilizing QR codes or digital connect cards alongside physical cards limits engagement opportunities. Not everyone will take out a pen and write their name down, but some visitors (especially younger people) may be more likely to scan a code and quickly thumb in their details. Not utilizing technology alongside connection cards also makes it more difficult to stay organized with contact information.
  • Overlooking Small Details: Make sure your connection cards includes all the details you need to make a meaningful connection with the visitor.
  • Failing to Equip Members for Outreach: Empower your church members to distribute connection cards to visitors they notice. This is especially important in larger churches, where new faces can easily get overlooked.

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How to Design an Effective Church Connection Card

1. Keep it simple.

Start with a clean, straightforward layout for your church connection card. Avoid clutter and use legible fonts and clear headings. Stick to a design that reflects the church's ethos, with enough white space to make writing easy for new visitors. A simple design helps ensure that the card is not intimidating and can be quickly filled out.

2. Start with the Essentials

Include fields for basic contact information such as name, phone number, and email address. Add a space for prayer requests to show that the church cares about individual needs. Provide options for newcomers to indicate their interests, like joining small groups, participating in church activities, or learning more about specific ministries.

3. Provide Clear Instructions and Next Steps

Provide clear instructions on what to do with the card once it’s filled out. This could be handing it to a welcome team member, dropping it in a designated box, or scanning a QR code that takes them to an online form. Also, inform them about what they can expect after submitting the card, such as a follow-up call or email within a certain number of business days.

4. Welcoming Tone with a Personal Touch

Use language that is inviting and warm. Consider a personalized message from the pastor or a welcome committee member, inviting them to be part of the church family. This could include a brief introduction to what the church stands for and an expression of eagerness to connect with the person.

5. Multiple Submission Options and Follow-Up Assurance

Offer both physical and digital versions of the connection card to cater to different preferences. Make sure physical cards are easily accessible in seats or at a welcoming station. For digital cards, use QR codes or a link to the church website. Make sure to communicate how the church will use their information and assure them of confidentiality and respectful use of their contact details.

Finally, make sure to follow up in a timely way, showing that your church values their decision to reach out!

Church Connection Card Inspiration

Need some inspiration for your church connection card? Here are 5 ideas to get the juices flowing.

  1. The Multi-Channel Card: Features a QR code that directs to a church website, alongside space for prayer requests and contact information
  2. The Outreach Pro: Doubles as an invite card with church service times, contact information, and a warm welcome message.
  3. The Social Butterfly: Includes social media handles, offering newcomers a glimpse into the church's community life online.
  4. The Resourceful Navigator: Comes with a detachable section with a list of small groups and bible study sessions, inviting newcomers to join.
  5. The Follow-Up Promise: Clearly states the church's commitment to reach out within a set number of business days, valuing the visitor's decision to reach out.

Church Connection Card Template

Here’s a basic Church Connection Card template that can provide a springboard for ideas.

Ideally, this template would have a QR code on the back that your visitors can scan and use to visit your website or church app!

A Final Note on Connect Cards and Your ChMS

With these strategies in place, every church connection card becomes a robust tool for church marketing, outreach, and personal engagement. And let's not forget, the goal of these cards is not just to collect information but to equip your church to welcome new members into the fold, build relationships, and share the love of God.

But without the proper ChMS in place, your connect cards will fall flat–with nowhere to store contact data, and no processes in place to build email or text followup, you’re unlikely to see real results from implementing these simple but cards. To learn more about using a Church Management System that can help your Church Connection Cards bear fruit, check out Breeze (the world’s easiest-to-use church management software).

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