Thursday, October 29, 2015

How to have a successful 'Friend Day'

Friend Days are an excellent way to boost attendance. More than ‘a one-time shot in the arm,’ these days should be a piece of the growth-strategy-puzzle for your church.

Why Friend Day is successful
  • Statistics don’t lie – the vast majority of people who visit a church are the result of a friend inviting them. Of those with no previous church affiliation, most (82%) say they would visit a church IF invited by a friend
  • A Clear Objective – Friend Days work because both, the church and those invited to attend, understand the purpose of the event. By making it a bi-annual event on the calendar, the church will focus prayer and energy on the effort. Every time the announcement is made, people begin to think about who they can invite. By having a meal and a special invite, friends think they are painlessly doing us a favor by coming, all the while enjoying the fellowship of a loving, positive congregation.
  • It restocks the visitation “pond” with viable prospects – Culture is forcing a change in visitation tactics. The day of “cold-calls” is quickly passing as more and more people isolate themselves from strangers and despise door-to-door “salesmen.”
  • The momentum created. Momentum is virtually impossible to create when a church has been in decline. Special days help the church refocus on the things that matter… gets their vision on something other than themselves… generates excitement by achieving goals and experiencing growth. New life is always a good thing.
Important Elements in a successful Friend Day
  • Prayer – concerted, specific, rigorous praying
  • A goal – 50% is a reasonable goal – If you avg. 50, your goal should be 75
  • Publicizing the event (bulletin, marquee, handouts, posters, newspaper, but the greatest of is word-of-mouth)
  • Organization – parking strategy, special music, ushers/greeters, welcome packets or brochures, visitor cards, promotional items, a simple gospel sermon (limit whole service to 50 minutes in length)
  • Have a work day to spruce up the building and grounds BEFORE the big day
  • A meal - Food prep (always have more than expected) – minimize wait time through sufficient staffing. Use nice supplies – table cloths, center-pieces, plates, cups, utensils, etc.
Those who come to Friend Day
  • Saved /satisfied members of other churches.
  • Lost people with little or no church exposure
  • Backslidden Christians who have fallen out of church
  • In each case, something productive has occurred. Those who are lost will be exposed to the gospel… those backslidden will be reminded of what they are missing… and those who are satisfied will remember the good experience should they ever be faced with the need to change. Never underestimate the power of people talking about their experience at your church.
What to do afterwards
  • Praise your people specifically for things they did to help the day be successful. 
  • Share the Statistics from the day and any testimonial you can think of that would encourage your people to do this again
  • Sit down immediately and write down any flaws or problems you can brainstorm and solve for the next big day.
  • Contact every visitor card with a nice letter from the pastor, thanking them for attending and saying SOMETHING about the mission, the purpose of the church and the hope of seeing them again soon
  • Have a “kind voice” call those cards that provided a phone number (keep it BRIEF!) Calls should be made between Thursday and Saturday night… no later than 8 PM.
  • Pray for those people who came on Wednesday night and get any “stories” you can use for follow up visits: “I understand you are friends with Jim and Judy Smith…”
  • Begin visiting those who are genuine prospects – keep the visit BRIEF
While a pastor should be contacting people on his own, the old saying “many hands make short work” is true. There is power in team-work. By having two days per year for the church to make a concerted effort, souls will be saved, families will be strengthened that might never have darkened the door of your church otherwise. Make the effort – and see what God will do!