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Mary Deckert

Mary Deckert has over 40 years’ experience in multiple communications and strategic functions including leadership, marketing, crisis management, creative and problem-solving roles in government and business (both private and public sectors); for-profit and ... read more

Church Connect Cards – Best of the Best (with Examples)

 

Church Connect Cards play a vital role in helping you turn first-time visitors into members. In fact, the first few experiences a new person has at your church will determine whether or not they decide to stay… So it’s worth getting this right!

 

That’s why we’re so excited about the upcoming Engage Focus Event!

 

 

 

But, we’re getting ahead of ourselves! Let’s jump into talking about what church connect cards are & how you can use them at your church!

Let's Connect

So, you’ve followed CMU’s advice, taken the steps we recommend and you’re getting new visitors to your church every week! Yeah, time to celebrate!!! … 

But now what? How do you build trust and develop a relationship that turns a visitor into a regular attender and ultimately a devoted follower regularly serving at your church? The first step is to gather contact information so you can build that relationship.

 

Pretty much, every church has a “Connect Card”–  you might call it something different: the Connection card, the I’m New Here card, the Welcome card, the Let’s Connect card.

 

Regardless of what you call it, its purpose is to allow new visitors to share their information with your church and allow current congregation members to take their next steps. But that may be your biggest mistake – stop trying to make the connect card do everything!

 

Asking for too much information on your connect card is actually keeping your guests from filling them out. 

Most Important Part of Church Connect Cards – Simplicity

Plain and simple, the most crucial element of your church’s connection card is the number of questions you ask.

 

The less you ask, the more cards you’ll have filled out. So the question you need to ask yourself is, “What is the absolute least amount of information we need to capture from a new visitor? How limited can it be without it being useless?”

 

Obviously, having a connection card that only asks for a new visitor’s first name would yield the highest percentage of cards filled out. But this card would be of no use to you. It’s important to keep in mind the reason the connection card exists – to allow you to follow up with new visitors beyond your Sunday service. That’s the ONLY reason they exist, or it should be the only reason. It’s perfectly fine to remove certain questions on your connect card because you can always follow up and capture the remaining information at a later time.

 

With that in mind, the following information should be gathered, ranked from most to least important. Remember to eliminate as many blanks as possible:

  • First Name (necessary)
  • Email Address (necessary)
  • Last Name (optional)
  • Phone Number (optional, but highly useful!)
  • Physical Address (not recommended)

According to Tyler Smith, Co-Founder and CEO of Text In Church, you only need to ask three things – name, email, and cell phone.

 

We get it, it would be nice to know if your guest has children and if so,  how old they are; if they are interested in baptism and membership and volunteering and giving … but here’s the deal, you don’t need to know everything about your guest on their first visit. Your visitor connect card should be simple, and should only ask for the information you absolutely need to be able to follow up with them.”

 

Name, email & phone is enough to start the conversation, to ask them how you can pray for them, to invite them to keep coming back, and to encourage them to connect in another way.

 

… And once you begin building a relationship and trust with your guests, they’ll be more likely to share information about their families and how they hope to connect with you and your church.

Church Connect Card Examples

Here are a few examples of simple and effective connect cards, shared by members of our Church Marketers Facebook Group:

Courtesy of Emily Beyea

Courtesy of Andrew Davis

If you’re having trouble giving up some of that information you’ve always asked for, consider a compromise to have more than one card – one to connect, one to volunteer, one to take the next steps. Here’s an example:

Courtesy of Zac Minton

Still unsure about what to ask for? Barna recently did a survey where they found out what information Millennials are willing to share with churches at a first visit. Keep in mind that as a group, Millennials are generally not guarded about sharing their personal information and privacy, but they do tend to distrust churches. Basically, providing their name was not a problem, email was the next bit of information they are willing to share, but it drops significantly after that. This should tell you it may take more than a first visit to get the contact information you would like.

You can read more about Barna’s findings here.

Always keep in mind that the connect card is just the start of the conversation!!!  If you have the basic information you need to be able to follow up with people, then you can start to build trust and develop more authentic connections because it’s less about what YOU need to know about your guests and more about what THEY need to know about you and your church.

How to Get People to Fill Out Church Connect Cards

So, if you have a simple and noninvasive connect card, how then do you get people to fill them out? Tyler Smith says it comes down to one thing, and one thing only: TRUST. People don’t give out their contact information if they don’t yet trust you. It’s not personal, no matter how nicely you ask – they aren’t willing to give that information just because you ask. 


Yet, gathering contact information is the foundation of an effective follow-up system, so don’t give up. If you fail to gather contact information, you can’t follow up with visitors and your chances of building a meaningful relationship with them are nearly impossible.

Start With the Welcome Speech

You can begin to build the trust you’re looking for with something as simple as your welcome speech. Following the four-step Cornerstone Method developed by Text in Church will help you build trust, overcome objections and inspire guests to take action and connect with you. This proven “perfect” format can be followed by anyone welcoming people to your church:

  1. Welcome: your guest: Share your name, your role in the church, and how long you’ve been attending.
  2. Connect: Share a quick but powerful story that demonstrates your church’s values, community involvement, or connection activities.
  3. Be Clear: Tell them the exact action you want them to take and show it visually, if possible – if you want folks to fill out a paper card, hold it up and tell them what to do; if you want folks to text, hold your up phone and tell them the number and keyword.
  4. Explain Why: Tell them why they should follow your directions and what will happen after they do; why will connecting with your church be of benefit to them?

PRO TIP: While most church Welcome speeches are typically done at the beginning of service, be sure to repeat steps 3 & 4 above at the end of service as well. Why? A guest may have forgotten the instructions by the time they’re ready to fill it out, or they may not have trusted you enough at the beginning of service, but they might by the end of your service.

How to Increase the Number of People Filling Out Contact Cards

Want to increase the number of people filling out contact card information? The answer is quite simple – and isn’t that always the key to success? Make it as simple and convenient as possible for your guests.

 

If your church is only using one way to gather contact information, you’re significantly limiting the opportunities for people to connect with your church:

  • Some people prefer to fill out a paper connect card
  • Other people, especially post COVID, prefer a touchless option like texting a keyword or scanning a QR code to access the digital connect card
  • Still others will prefer to have someone gather the information from them at a welcome center, filling out the form for them
  • Don’t forget your online viewers where a digital connect card is an absolute must 

By offering several options, you make it easier for more people to provide their contact information in a way that’s convenient and safe for them. 

 

 

Plain and simple, getting more people’s contact information means you’ll have more opportunities to care, communicate and connect with them in simple, meaningful ways.

 

Paper or Digital, That is the Question

OK, so we get it, multiple varieties of connect cards is best. But really, which type works the best and which should your church focus on? Which is the preferred method for most people?

 

Honestly, using one type of connect card instead of the other isn’t the right way to look at it – you should use both. The fact is, one isn’t better than the other because some people will prefer paper connect cards and some will prefer digital cards as discussed above. 

 

If you’re worried about paperless cards, consider this: digital connect cards can significantly reduce the tracking, data entry, and the headaches that paper connect cards cause for you and your staff. Digital card benefits include:

  • Text to connect option
  • Scan QR code to access form
  • No paper cards to keep track of
  • No data entry
  • No difficult-to-read handwriting
  • Gather information from online viewers

But don’t get the wrong impression – we’re not saying digital is better or preferred over hardcopy cards. Even if one method is better for you or used more often by your guests, using multiple formats is still the best way to increase the number of people who give you their contact information. Because you offered a way to connect that was more convenient to your visitor, whatever THEIR preference, they’re more likely to complete it – and that’s what it’s all about.

 

Always remember, collecting the contact information is just the start of building lasting and meaningful relationships, of truy connecting people with your church. A systematic, long-lasting, frequent and personal follow up system is critical. But that’s a topic for another day, one that deserves it’s own “best of the best” discussion. However, it starts by making a great first impression and gathering the contact information that makes follow up possible.

Putting It All Together

Nathan Teegarden of CMU says best practices from churches that have tried multiple approaches to church connect cards boils down to one thing – less is more!  To put it in practical terms, this means:

Don’t ask too many questions- especially when they haven’t had the chance to learn to trust you!

Give people several opportunities to fill out – not just at the start of service. Here are some great times and places to do that: Before service at the welcome/connect center. At least twice during the service (beginning and end). Reminders on line for folks to fill out the digital card. And after service in the lobby welcome/connect center.

Use multiple cards if you need to accomplish more; use color to make identification easy (no more than 3 total). New Here for visitors/guests, Connect or Sign Me Up for regular attenders next steps, Need Prayer or New Believer/Accepted Christ, and Event sign up are all options.

Provide Multiple formats – make it easy and convenient for guests to use whatever format they prefer – digital or hard copy, in person or online.

Volunteer training – make gathering contact information from all guests part of your church culture. Teach all volunteers to ask everyone they encounter if they’ve filled out a card. If not, fill out for them … as  you would in the lobby before or after service.

One last thought – be playful! Filling out a card is boring. Don’t be shy about using fun words and design to show off your church’s personality. And whatever you do, don’t use “church language” in any form!

Further Reading

If you want to dig deeper into resources concerning Church Connect Cards, here are links utilized to develop this article:


Find multiple helps involving follow up systems and connecting with visitors, members and the community on the Text in Church YouTube Channel


Text in Church website


The Perfect Church Connect Card Template from Pro Church Tools


7 Perfect Connect Card Examples from Nucleus Church


The Ultimate Connect Card Template from Nucleus Church


Step-by-Step Church Follow Up System by Brady Shearer

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