This week, a guest walked into our church for the 3rd time in 4 weeks. Due to the crowd, I had been unable to meet her face to face for the first 2 times she had attended. I greeted her, and she began to tell me of a friend in jail, asking if I could visit. I reached for my pen, to write down the name, but didn’t have it.
With a big smile, she reached into her purse, and said, “No problem, I’ve got one — because I got THIS in the mail this week!” She pulled out this:
I smiled really big, and said, “Great! I’m glad you got it!” We finished the conversation and I walked away, glad that the system I built was working.
IS IT REALLY OK TO GIVE GIFTS?
We’ve been giving gifts to guests at our church for a couple years now. I’ve had some people object to this. I’ve even had 1 or 2 guests object to it! Usually their objections are one of these:
- “People will just come back for the gifts, not the truth.”
- “You’ll train people to be consumers instead of ministers.”
- “It seems gimmicky, like bribing people.”
- “It’s too expensive — $300 for a case of pens & $400 for water bottles?!”
I hear them. I’ve had the same doubts.
But here’s the reason we’re going to keep doing it:
1. I want people to have a positive thought about us during the week.
Satan can snatch the Word of Truth so easily from a heart. All he has to do is convince them that no one cares. Even if they felt a stirring spiritually when they were present… Satan is active Monday thru Saturday.
But then, on Friday, they get a personalized note & a gift. And an invitation to come back Sunday. And suddenly, the Holy Spirit is there, whispering of the love of these people — they care! They invited me back. They noticed me! I was valued!
Think that’s not powerful?
2. I want to help create a “wow” moment for people.
The gap between expectations and reality is where WOW comes from. If they expect that you’re just like every church, but you set yourself apart in thoughtfulness and service… you go beyond the call… you just created a WOW.
Didn’t Jesus tell us that “by this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you love one another?” (John 13:35) Unexpected, unexplained love is part of the Wow.
3. The gifts aren’t valuable enough to be the main attraction.
I worried for a while about people just coming back to “get stuff”… then I realized, “Who spends 2 hours on a Sunday, just to get a $4 gift?”
4. It’s a way to serve as Christ served.
Even if people DO come for the gifts… is that… really a problem?
In John 6, Jesus was confronted with a crowd of thousands, in a remote area well outside the local villages. He saw their hunger, and set himself apart from the other rabbis in a way that was not soon to be forgotten! 5,000 men (plus women & children!) were fed from one little boy’s lunch.
The next day, the crowds were back, and they wanted more. And Jesus knew it.
Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, you are looking for me, not because you saw miraculous signs but because you ate the loaves and had your fill.” John 6:26 (NIV)
He knew they came back for the bread. He knew! But he had served them anyway.
Can we do any less?
Frankly, I’d rather risk serving the greedy than miss serving the needy.
What should we give?
Here are a few suggestions:
- Nice gift pen
- Water bottle with your logo
- gas gift card “your next visit is on us!”
- package of popcorn & hot chocolate packet “have a relaxing evening on us!”
- Invitation out to eat with a pastor
- For more ideas, please register for my FREE webinar (below)
What these items cost will be flexible depending on the level of product you choose.
Want to know more?
Sign up for my free webinar “7 Steps to Build a Killer Guest Follow-up System — Before Christmas!”
One of the things most frustrating to pastors is how to find time to follow-up on guests without people falling through the cracks. In this webinar, you’ll learn:
- how my failure in a key outreach event changed our guest followup forever.
- how to effectively collect info from first time guests
- how to consistently stay in touch with people
- tips for convincing your congregation to start a guest followup system
- how to help people see your church as friendly
- how to do all this without increasing your work load
Don’t miss this special 90-minute training event! 3 different time slots to fit your schedule! Sign up today!