Stop Ignoring Second-Time Guests

Ever had one of those AHA-Moments? Ya know, when the light comes on? I’ll be the first one to admit that I’m not the brightest crayon in the box. Metaphorically speaking, most of the time I’m so slow that I’m one of the final ones to reach the finish line. I finally got there the other day and I want to share my AHA-Moment with you.

One of the greatest insights that a friend taught me recently was about second-time guests. In fact, this was HUGE for me. Maybe you already know this. In fact, this will probably sound fairly elementary to you, just as it did for me when it first clicked in my little peabrain. Are you ready? Here’s the question…

Who has greater odds of sticking at your church? First-time guests or second-time guests?

The answer to that is simple, right? The one who’s come back for a second time, showing interest in your church, who obviously had a great first experience, have greater odds of sticking. That person is well on his/her way to becoming a regular attender and eventually a sold-out member of your church. Why is it, then, that most churches put more time and more money into their first-time guests over their second timers?

Allow me to suggest a few steps to implement to start giving more attention to your second-time guests…


It should go without saying that if you do not currently have a system in place which allows you to track your second-time guests, then you won’t know when they attend for the second time preventing you from giving them more attention. If you do not have some way to identify second-time guests, then you need to implement my Connection Card System immediately. It’s so incredibly simple. If you’d like more information about how to track and identify your second-time guests, just hit the reply button and let me know. It will take too long within this one post to flesh out. Bottom line, though, you have to track your second-time guests if you’re going to adequately follow up with them.


When I was growing up, we didn’t have internet and email. All we had was phone (and I’m talking about rotary-dial phones), snail mail, and face-to-face visits. Each week, the pastor would physically pick up the phone and call the guests from the previous Sunday. Well, as the internet took off and everyone become enthralled with email, the phone call began to take a back seat to the point that it’s rarely used any longer. We almost exclusively rely upon digital means to communicate. That’s why a quick, simple phone call is once again, extraordinary. I’m telling ya, if you begin to call your second-time guests, you’ll begin to hear comments floating around about how the pastor actually took time to call us. It’s a lost art. NOTE: A voicemail message is JUST AS effective as speaking with them. If they don’t answer (which the majority will not), leave a message. Also, make it a pastoral call and always finish by asking how you can pray for them this next week. If the person share’s something pretty serious, take a minute and pray with them on the phone before hanging up. (Want to really make a great impression? After hanging up, set a reminder for one week later to send that person an email asking about that prayer request.)


Here’s the transition we recently made at my church. Last year, I took the past 5 years of my sermons and revised and edited them into a book. I was very pleased with how it turned out and the people in the church went just a little crazy because “their pastor wrote a book.” (Even though I just self-published it.) Originally the bottom-line purpose for the book was to be a gift for new believers and for first-time guests. Now we’ve changed that. First-time guests get an email and a hand-written card from me in the mail the week after they visit. Second-time guests now get the book. It’s a simple way to go the extra mile with those who have clearly showed they’re interested in the church. I’m not saying that you have to go write a book. I’ll gladly sell you mine. LOL! It can be anything, though. Just give them a little more attention.

Okay, so I’m expecting for you to say, that’s all elementary. Maybe you just had an AHA-moment like I did. I hope you got a next step or two out of this to make your church more effective in retaining those who have expressed an interest in your church.

Be Blessed,

PS. Check out my book called DRIFT on Amazon HERE!