Landing a Second Date With First Timers

3 weeks ago

BY Field Day

Landing a Second Date With First Timers

Ah, the elusive second date – a milestone many of us have pursued with a mix of excitement and trepidation. While the initial spark may have ignited during the first encounter, securing a follow-up rendezvous often proves to be a daunting task. So many things can stand in the way of you and a second date. Things like the pressure to impress, compatibility, chemistry and the fear of rejection. The desire to leave a lasting impression can sometimes overshadow our ability to relax, be ourselves and authentically connect with our date. Mixed signals and subtle cues leave us second-guessing our date’s level of interest and intentions. All kinds of questions pop up. How soon is too soon after a date to reconnect with a text or DM? What would be a good follow up date idea be. It can all be so overwhelming, sometimes you may end up not doing anything at all and just “hope” for the best. 

There’s not a lot of difference between securing a second date with a potential partner and landing a second meet up with a first time guest to a church event. While we may find our guests fun and interesting, compatibility goes beyond surface-level interest. Shared values, past experiences and lifestyles play a crucial role in determining long-term compatibility. It makes it challenging to gauge the potential for a meaningful connection after just one encounter. Sometimes, external factors beyond our control can hinder our chances of securing a second date. Conflicting schedules and unforeseen circumstances may disrupt our plans for a follow-up rendezvous, leaving us feeling disheartened and discouraged. “Was it something we said?”

A church’s version of a “date” is an event.

A church’s version of a “date” is an event. Events are one of the greatest tools the church uses to entice new guests to check out their community. As church leaders, you understand the significance of events in fostering connections. From trunk or treats to block parties, these events serve as invaluable opportunities to extend your church’s reach and welcome new faces into your community. However, the true challenge lies not just in hosting successful events, but also ensuring that guests feel like they want to come back. 

Here are six effective strategies to engage first time event guests and encourage them to become regular partners in the life of your church. Three you can do during the event and three you can do after.

DURING THE EVENT

Cultivate Genuine Connections

It’s not enough to simply serve new guests. You need to connect with them. One of the most impactful ways to encourage guests to return is by cultivating genuine connections during the event. Encourage church members to warmly welcome guests, engage them in conversation, and express genuine interest in their lives. Seems like we wouldn’t have to go out of our way to encourage your members to be hospitable, but trust us, you do. Surveys show over and over again one of the main reasons someone does not return to a church is that they did not feel welcomed by the current members. In most cases they were not even spoken to. Train your volunteers to ask meaningful conversations with open ended questions that will help them engage the next time they see them.

Provide Clear Next Steps

Your guests are way more likely to return if you give them clear next steps for future engagement. During the event, make sure you are communicating details about upcoming church activities, services, or small group opportunities that guests can participate in. You may even strategically create another social event that would further opportunities for a first time guest to reconnect with folks they met at the first event without the intimidation of coming to a worship service. Give them some options. Maybe the Spirit has already been moving in some of their hearts. You may want to delay the start of your next small group season until after your event to ensure a more spiritually focused avenue. Providing concrete lanes for continued involvement helps guests understand you have more to offer.

Promote your resources

Be sure to direct new guests to your digital presence. Invite folks to download your church app. Similar to a dating app, you can ensure the ability to both; capture their info and send real time notifications. Get social about your socials. Equip event guests with resources that address their spiritual needs and interests.  Promote places where someone can find sermons, podcasts, or other online resources that delve into relevant content or topics discussed during the event. Offer complimentary copies of relevant books or study guides that align with our church’s teachings. By offering resources that resonate with their interests you will encourage further exploration of your community and their faith. 

AFTER THE EVENT

Create Relatable Content

In today’s digital age, creating relatable and engaging content is key to attracting and retaining guests. Utilize social media platforms, church websites, and email newsletters to share compelling stories, testimonies, and messages that resonate with event guests. Keep putting yourself in front of your event guests after the event by showing up on their “For You” page or threads. Highlight the impact of your church’s ministries and outreach efforts in the community. By showcasing real-life experiences and demonstrating the relevance of faith to everyday life, you can capture the interest of event guests and inspire them to explore more about our church. Bottom line…show up in their feeds after they showed up at your event. Take the opportunity to show them what you are all about after an event where you spent time telling them what you’re about.

Foster a Culture of Invitation

Encourage church members to actively invite the people they met or invited to the event to the next church event or a weekly service. Provide resources such as invitation cards or digital invites that make it easy for attendees to extend invitations to others. Host special events or services specifically designed for guests, where they can feel comfortable and wanted. By fostering a culture of invitation within our church community, we empower every member to play a role in the growth of the Kingdom. Extending an invitation to a church event can be intimidating, so it will also serve as a way to grow their own faith.

Personalized Follow-Up

Following the event, take the time to reach out to each guest personally. Send handwritten notes expressing gratitude for their attendance and genuine interest in getting to know them better. Try a phone call focused on thanking them for their participation or maybe even use the call as an opportunity to evaluate the event with a survey. Use it as a way to open up spiritual conversations by asking if you can pray for them. Personalized follow-up shows guests that they are valued and welcomed. It is also another way to show kindness and love.

Like with dating, bridging the gap between a first encounter and a follow up connection requires intentionality. In order to capitalize on a church function, you will need to be intentional about not only what you do during the event, but also how you follow up. Using strategies like providing clear next steps and finding ways to follow up after will multiply your chances of turning first time guests into forever community.

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