After all your hard work to get people to come to your Christmas events, you want to make sure you make a connection with them so that they will return to your church after the holidays. To do that you need to capture names and contact information.
These Connection Cards and Registration for Christmas are a simple-to-create, but very useful tool. The one to the left is free for everyone, just click the image to download the PDF, print, and use.
At the end of this article is a link to a ZIP FILE that has ready-to-print PDFs of all the images below and editable MS Publisher files of all the cards plus hi-res images of them. The ZIP FILE is free to ECC MEMBERS.
Strategy behind the cards
Churches often put on Christmas events as a gift to the community and some have told me that they don't want to be "too pushy" during that event and so they don't do anything to try to get information from their guests.
Though I understand the thoughts behind this thinking, we need to remember that the kindest and best thing we can do for our Christmas guests (or church guests at any time of year) is to introduce them to Jesus. We may begin that introduction at Christmas, but what is strategically important to remember is that it takes at least SEVEN exposures to any idea for acceptance. For many people in our world today, the idea that Christmas is about Jesus or that he is more than a baby that inspires kind thoughts and lots of parties this time of year is a totally new idea.
You must have a way to get people to come back to your church after the initial contact that you have with them during the Christmas service.
These cards are perfect because they are easy to produce, and very non-intimidating to present.
One of the best ways to do this is to focus on the PRAYER REQUEST part of the card. You might say something like this:
Christmas is a time for giving and one of the most important things we'd like to give to you this holiday season is our prayers. Let's take a minute while the choir sings for us and write down what you would like us to pray for you this holiday season or in the coming year. We have a prayer team that takes these cards very seriously and if you'd like a call, a visit, or if there is any way we can be of service to you, please let us know.
To get the most out of the cards if you ask for prayer requests
There are several things that are important for you to do if you want to get the most out of these cards:
- Have a dedicated prayer team and response team in place ahead of time.
- Be sure you have people on the team that can respond personally with a call or email if it is asked for.
- Be sure you follow-up all requests with a postcard or email as soon as possible. Make this card or email separate from the material you send out to everyone.
- Be sure people are sitting down and have something to write with when you make the announcement.
- ***VERY IMPORTANT*** have people turn in the cards in the offering basket as it goes around. They will be much more motivated to do that than to take it to a Welcome Center.
Commitment to follow-up is essential
As part of looking over an unrelated church communication at the start of last year, (this was early February) the church secretary apologized that she was just now getting around to recording the response cards from the Christmas season. That was tragic.
I totally understand busy, but don't even bother doing these if you aren't going to be committed to follow-up immediately. That prayer request may be the first time someone has the courage to share a need, to reach out to the church and if there is no response for over a month and then it is an unrelated, "Glad you visited hope to see you in church on Sunday!" sort of response, what do you think that will do to advance that person's interest in a relationship with the church and Jesus.
Probably not much.
We are all tired. We all have too much to do, but at times like this I have often reminded myself and others of something Ann Ortland said at a very early morning devotional for Christian writers that I attended many years ago, when acknowledging how exhausted all of us where, she ended by saying, "I think most significant work for the Kingdom of God is done by very tired people."
You will be tired; your team will be. But regardless of how tired you are, have your follow-up plan in place, work it, and trust God to use what little strength you have and your mighty heart to bring people one step closer to knowing Him.