We’ve seen some hopeful statistics about the rise in regular church attendance. Millennials doubled the rate at which they attended church regularly, rising from 17% reporting regular attendance in 2021 to 39% reporting regular attendance in 2022. Similar trends have been reported for other age groups as well.
What does this mean for your church? Well, you might have more people in the pews every Sunday, but you’ll need to strategically engage these new members to retain them for years to come.
Your first step for meaningful engagement with new members: church connection cards.
In this guide, we’ll offer concrete strategies to help you create a connection card your members will want to use. We’ll even throw in an easy-to-use template – for free.
What is a Church Connection Card?
A church connection card is just what it sounds like–a way for new churchgoers to connect with your church. These cards are usually a short form, online or physical, with fields for people to fill out some or all of the following basic contact information:
- Email address
- Physical address
- Phone number
This information will help you –
- Add new members to any newsletter lists.
- Invite new member to your youth ministry.
- Ascertain who wants to volunteer.
- Welcome them to your weekly program.
- Send personal welcome communications, making them feel more at home.
- Invite them to become formal members of your church.
These connection cards, also known as church guest cards, connect cards, church welcome cards, or church visitor cards, are a way for your congregation to say they want to go all-in with your church; it’s an excellent way to help them feel more connected to all you do.
4 Most Popular Types of Church Connection Cards
As always when it comes to starting and running your church, there are no one-size-fits-all shortcuts. Your needs for a connection card might differ greatly from the church in the next town over. That’s why it’s important to think about what type of connection card will best suit your church.
1. Visitor church connection card
What almost every churchgoer brings with them to church, in addition to their copy of your holy book, is their smartphone. With all that technology close at hand, it’s easy for them to quickly, safely, and efficiently get their information to you as well as a donation.
In the example above, One Community Church includes a “Welcome” page on its website that is filled with important information about the church. At the bottom of the page is an online connection card with minimal fields.
Their page design is beautiful with clear calls to action and bright background. Anybody who has gone through the details would feel inspired to connect. The short church connection card ensures that is easily and quickly possible for all new visitors.
2. Prayer-focused connection card
A connection card focused on collecting any prayer requests your new members might have is an excellent way to help them feel like part of your church community right away.
This way, you aren’t only asking them to do something for you by providing their information; You’re also doing something really important for them.
3. Volunteer-focused connection card
If someone is taking the time to fill out a connection card, chances are it’s because they want to get more involved with your church.
Allowing them to select their volunteer interests on their connection cards will not only shorten the time between receiving their information and reaching out, but it can also help them feel like a more connected and valuable member of your church right away.
Passion Week Ministries has a whole “participate” page on its website with clear calls to action and unique forms for every way to get involved. This is great for allowing new members to see all the many options to get involved.
Just remember to follow up weekly on the connection cards so they don’t lose that momentum. And you’ll have both connected new church members and potentially new volunteers!
4. One-on-one connection request card
A lot of people coming to your church would want to connect one-on-one with the pastor. To manage these requests well, many churches create a connect card specific to this reason.
Online or offline, the fields you add to this connection card would be different from other types. It is your chance to make a personal connection with your requestor and make them feel comfortable while making the request.
Do not add too many information fields. Just the name, email address, and preferred date/time should be enough. You can then send an email for further communication.
3 Important Tips for an Effective Church Connection Card
To determine which type of connection card is best for your church, consider checking in with your church board for guidance. You can always change up your plan if you aren’t meeting your response goals!
No matter which type of connection card is right for your church, here are some tips to make any type the most effective.
1. Match your church’s branding
Yes, it might feel overly corporate to discuss a church’s branding, but branding is just as important for your church as it is for a Fortune 500 company.
Consider the following about your church connect cards –
- Should they be formal or more casual?
- Should your connection card be bold and colorful or simple and clean?
- Should it include a bible verse?
- What call to action should it include – prayer requests, volunteer sign-ups, welcome, contact us, or anything else?
Think about what choices make sense for how your church presents itself.
A good rule of thumb: your church connect cards should match the branding used in your weekly programs (think font, layout, style, color, etc.).
2. Catch attention
No matter your branding choices, you’ll want your connection cards to be attention-grabbing. Otherwise, why would anyone want to fill one out?
- If you’re tucking the connection cards in the back of each pew, make sure to design them in a way that will draw someone’s eye; they should know what they’re looking at.
- If you’re using an online connection card, post QR codes around your church so new members can easily find your website.
- On your website, there should be a clear call to action in the form of a button at the top navigation menu. It should say “Connect With Us!” or something equally noticeable.
Look at how the St. Gregory Armenian Church does it on its website. The top navigation menu is visible on every page and anybody can easily access the church connect card through the “Contact Us” option.
3. Don’t ask for too much info
Asking for too much contact information upfront can be cumbersome for a new member who just wants to learn more about your church. 27% of people cite length as one of their main concerns when filling out a form.
Another thing to keep in mind is what information people are comfortable sharing with your church. In a national survey conducted by Barna, responses showed that 1 in 6 millennials attending a church for the first time didn’t want to share any personal information.
Some other crucial stats to help design your card include –
- 82% were willing to share their first name.
- 53% were willing to share their last name.
- 33% were willing to share their email address.
- 19% were willing to share their physical address.
- Only 12% were willing to share their phone number.
- And only 6% were willing to share their social media.
Consider asking for only the information you really need to establish a relationship.
Maybe you start with a name and an email address and build that relationship with thoughtful email touchpoints.
Free Church Connection Card Template
Still not sure where to get started? Here’s a basic template that you can customize to fit your church’s branding and needs.
This template asks for just the necessary information from your new attendees. Everything else is customizable as per your church’s connection needs.
Click here to download the template for free.
Time to Connect
Whether your church connection cards are online, physical, more focused on volunteering, or donation-focused, your goal doesn’t change. What is that goal? To connect with your new members, of course!
Between 10-30% of first-time attendees of your church could potentially become longtime members of your church. That’s why it’s so important to make a solid connection on that first visit to retain those first-time attendees.
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