Those first few weeks can seem like speed dating for churches as students try out new churches and decide where they will attend. How do you make the most of their visit to your church?
After you've done your "test run" of a student's first visit (see last week's article here), here are a few things to add to your checklist for those first few weeks.
Host an event. Plan a first week event to invite students to. It doesn't have to be elaborate, just highly relational. Make sure there is oan pportunity for them to get to know students in your group and hear more about your college ministry. Plan ahead with the regular attenders so that they are making an extra effort to interact with new students. Remember "if you feed them they will come." Food creates a great atmosphere for fellowship!
Follow up right away. So you've got an event on the calendar. Be sure to contact visitors right after their visit. It's great for them to hear from the college leader, but a contact from another student is important. Thank them for their visit. Ask them what questions they have about the church. Invite them to your next event. Let them know you are praying for them as they begin the semester.
Make connections. What social media platforms are you using? Ask them if they would like to be added to the text group, Facebook group, Instagram, etc. Then connect them right away. Have a student follow up with them on social media.
Call again later. Unfortunately, some students will "date" those first few weeks and never really connect to a church. In the next month or two be sure to call again and check to see if they have found a church. If not, invite them again to visit. Be sure to let them know that you care about them and that you are praying that they will find a church home away from home.
What other strategies do you use to engage new students in the first weeks of school? Share them with us on our Facebook page.