Nobody through the Cracks: Using Faithlife for Online Church Visitor Follow-Up

With so many churches holding services online, there’s a good chance that more people than ever are hearing the good news of Jesus Christ right now. In fact, we asked hundreds of churches about this year’s Easter attendance, and 34% of them saw as many—or more!—people than previous Easters

Which leads to an updated version of the question church leaders ask every year about this time: How do we follow up with online church visitors?

It’s a vital aspect of church management, and if you’re using an online connection card or form, you may have a stack of church visitors waiting to hear from you. 

A good next step for visitor follow-up is mailing your guest a handwritten thank-you note and sending a short personal email with your contact info and a few Bible studies or upcoming events that are great on-ramps for guests. Ideally, that happens within a day or two of their visit. It’s best to do it right away, but if it takes you a bit longer, it’s still worth doing. This communicates to your guest, “There’s a place for you here.” Personal (and analog!) efforts like these are particularly significant in our plugged-in world—it shows you care.

Once you have that initial touchpoint nailed down, you can create a short automated newsletter series for online church visitors using a free, private church group on faithlife.com. (These come through as emails, but you’ll send them as newsletters on Faithlife.)

Here’s how you get started:

  1. Create or find your church’s Faithlife group.
  2. From your church group, look for the Content dashboard (left side of the screen), then click Content and Newsletters.
  3. Click Create newsletter toward the top left.
  4. Choose whether you want the newsletter to come from your name or the church’s name.
  5. Add a header photo (dimensions), a title (and even a subtitle, if you’d like), and then drag and drop sections to create body copy.
  6. Once you have the newsletter the way you want it, you can preview or send a test to confirm everything looks and links right.
  7. Last thing: set the newsletter schedule! On the right side, scroll below the calendar to the Auto Respond section. You can choose when you want new people in your church group to receive newsletters here.
  8. Once your newsletters are built, it’s time to invite visitors to join your church group. They’ll start receiving your newsletters right away!

Find more detailed instructions on sending newsletters here.

These newsletters don’t replace your personal connections, but they offer a few additional touchpoints to help visitors learn more about your church and how to get involved. Here’s an example of how you can automate your church’s visitor newsletter series:

Newsletter 1 (send on the day someone fills out a connect card)

What’s the big idea? 

A personalized (using the first name field) letter from your lead pastor thanking the person for visiting your church, welcoming them back next week, and inviting them to poke around your website and ask any questions they have.

What can a reader do next?

Reply with questions or explore your church website.

Newsletter 2 (send 6 days after filling out connect card)

What’s the big idea?

This is a great time to address people’s felt needs—and that begins with community. Suggest ways that people can join a small group or Bible study, and remind them to join you for next week’s services.
What can a visitor do next?

Explore your church’s group on Faithlife to connect with others in the church.

Newsletter 3 (send 12 days after filling out a connect card)

What’s the big idea?

If someone has visited your church two weeks in a row, they’re probably in the investigation phase of church searching. They’ll want some basic details, such as:

  • Who’s in leadership—pastors, elders, deacons, and staff?
  • What do you believe?
  • How do you care for people by life stages? (This specifically applies to kids, students, singles, and empty nesters.)

Point out a few places on your website where people can learn more or register for upcoming events. If you can, this is a great point to offer a face-to-face meeting (via video chat) with a pastor, elder, or church leader.

What can a visitor do next?

Meet with someone from your leadership team or sign up for an upcoming event.

Newsletter 4 (send 19 days after filling out a connect card)

What’s the big idea?

Regardless of whether a person decides to attend your church, you still want to help them grow in their biblical literacy. Giving them a gift, like access to free resources in Faithlife TV Church, can equip them to find answers to tough spiritual questions—and disciple their kids along the way. You can even throw in a $5 coffee gift card or something else that can be shared digitally, just to let visitors know you value them!

What can a visitor do next?

Join your church’s group on Faithlife to get free access to Faithlife TV Church.

How are you following up with online church visitors? Drop a comment below—we’d love to hear how it’s going at your church!

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With Faithlife Equip, communicating with your entire church is a cinch. People can find you through your website, join your church’s Faithlife group, and connect with people in your church—in just a handful of clicks. And when you send church-wide communications, people can get them via email or text—once they set their preferred communications method, each person receives your updates in their chosen method. No duplicating work required!

Schedule your demo of Faithlife Equip today.

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Written by
Jennifer Grisham

Jennifer Grisham is a writer for Faithlife, makers of Logos Bible Software and other tools for churches. She previously served as director of administration at a church and managing editor and administrator for a ministry to worship leaders. Her work has been published by The Gospel Coalition, The Gospel Project, and Doxology & Theology, to name a few.

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Written by Jennifer Grisham