10 Ways to Engage First Time Guests

More than the sermon, more than the music, more than the building, first time guests will remember how you made them feel.

10 Easy Ways to Get Better at Engaging First-Time Guests


3. Use their name.

Quickly find out their name and use it. When you use a person’s name, it draws them into the conversation.

4. Show interest in them.

If you really don’t care about your first time guests, they will sense it. Talk about their interests. People love to talk about themselves.

5. Acknowledge it can feel awkward to be at a new place.

If you sense they are nervous, especially the children, put them at ease by telling them you know it can be scary walking into a new place, but you’re so glad they’re here and you’re going to help them feel right at home. Doing this can help put them at ease.

6. Ask open-ended questions.

Give them opportunities to share by asking open-ended questions.

7. Find something in common.

As you talk with them, look for things you have in common. Perhaps you have family in the state they moved from. Maybe your kids are the same age. Find something that will give you a connection with them.

8. Use FOR to spark conversation. 

  • F – Family
  • O – Occupation
  • R – Recreation (what do they like to do for fun)

9. Compliment them on something.

The best compliment is to say something nice about the kids. The way to a parent’s heart is to say something nice about their child.

10. Have a few backup questions ready.

If you’re having a hard time getting the conversation going, have some backup questions ready from a variety of subjects such as sports, weather, school, etc. Just make sure it’s not a controversial topic. This is not the time to bring up politics!

More than the sermon, more than the music, more than the building, first time guests will remember how you made them feel. Use conversation to make them feel welcome, accepted, and comfortable, and they will return.

Dale Hudson is a Strategic Partner with the Vanderbloemen Group.

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Dale Hudson has served in children and family ministry for over 25 years. He is the Director of Children’s Ministries at Christ Fellowship Church in Palm Beach, Florida. He has been named one of the Top 20 Influencers in Children’s Ministry. He is the co-author of six ministry books, including 100 Best Ideas to Turbocharge Your Children’s Ministry.