One of the trends we are seeing is churches offering an option on their website for people to prepare for their visit. This blog will address this new trend. First a few ideas on the concept and then suggestions on how to use Churchteams registration to implement this strategy.
Why do it? Here are six reasons to offer a Prepare Your Visit (PYV) registration on your website.
- Your website is your front door. You spend a lot of effort and money making it attractive and welcoming. Make it more than just an information brochure. With Prepare Your Visit it becomes interactive opening the way for further conversation.
- People want to know what to expect. Let them know not only the times, but also what to wear, how long it will take and what the check-in process looks like. Create a one page info sheet that they can download or share to their phone.
- Expedite their check-in on Sunday. Explain that your child's safety is of primary importance and how much effort you put in to screen and train volunteers. Then, share what the check-in process looks like and how pre-registration can make that easier.
- Welcome them. When they register, you have an opportunity to respond back with a warm and inviting welcome email or text. Send another Sunday morning. This will help them feel like a special guest even before they show up.
- Follow up with them. Create a Prepare Your Visit workflow to follow up with them until they actually show up the first time. Once they do, be sure to remove them from this workflow when you put them in the first time guest workflow.
- You have nothing to lose. If anonymity is their goal, nothing compels to register online. They can register as usual when they first arrive at the church. But, other families will be grateful to streamline the Sunday morning process.
Here's how you set up your Prepare Your Visit (PYV) registration in Churchteams.
- Create your PYV Kids group.
- Include on the registration form the information you would collect at new family registration on Sunday. ex. Birth date and Allergy/Notes. Do not ask for kids email or phone numbers. They will be linked automatically to their parents. Be sure to identify their family role as "child" on registration settings. This will make it more clear who in the family is registering.
- Customize registration attributes to auto-register kids for their classes. Go ahead and link responses from the class registration attribute to the actual classes. This will automatically enroll the kids in their class.
- Note: The form will be filled out for each child, so make them as simple as possible.
- Create your PYV Adult group.
- Customize registration settings to collect minimal information. Name, email, mobile phone number. Be sure to set household role as Parent/Guardian (adult).
- Create a registration attribute that matches adult worship and/or class attendance options and link them to the actual classes just as you did with the kids.
- Add the PYV child group as the Completion link for your adult group.
- Customize the rest of the registration settings page options: header image / instructions, completion message (or select "Don't send"), etc..
- Copy and place the link for your PYV Adult group on your website. Adults will register themselves first and then be taken to the registration form for their children.
Romans 12:13 instructs us to practice hospitality. It is one of the clearest indications that we truly love someone when we invite them into our home and prepare for them ahead of time. We all understand that for our own homes, but what about our church home? Why not be all the more hospitable there. Prepare Your Visit is a simple, little touch, but who knows what impact that little detail might have on helping a person, couple or family overcome obstacles to visit your church? Why not give it a try?