What is your church doing with the Church Guest Book?
Are you wondering why I am asking? There is a very good reason! I cannot say enough about this most unused tool that church leaders have but do not fully utilize. It may not be only a problem for Methodist Churches alone. No one seems to get the fact that this vital resource was put in place for a very important reason. They were very smart people who designed it and wanted to reach out to new people, add them to church mailings and then later they would invite them to become members of their church. They were successful in communicating with those who visited their church in the past. The guestbook was their means to reach out and get the visitor to return a second time. This was how they built up their church membership and spread the gospel. Times have changed but people are still the same today. They come to church for a reason and sometimes wish to be acknowledged. The same welcoming process should still be important and it can be as effective in 2020 as it was in years gone by.
The “Church Guests” Book, from a former lay leaders prospective, is one of the most overlooked free resources in any church today. This may just be my personal opinion but it definitely is a good idea that is not fully utilized. For instance ,You may have done the same as I did by Signing a Guest Book and then you never heard from anyone at the church in question. Did they not like me? Did they think I was not important, the same person who took the time to register their signature and address information and then the church administrators believed that it was okay to ignore them?
I have signed many guestbooks over the years. Rarely am I ever contacted by anyone from the church. Why is that? It is an example of a grossly neglected church resource. I’ve even pointed this out to pastors, church administrators and other church members. They do not seem to share my concern. I once asked a pastor who was responsible for getting back to those who sign the guest book? The response was that it was the job of the church secretary. I do not think so. What do you think? Churches should always know who is responsible for doing this vital work. Someone should get back to that person within 48 hours. Without contacting the person, they are being rude to a possible new member and do not even know it!
The idea of first using a guestbook was to reach out to more potential members. Those churches were growing. It is not a casually unimportant resource. In fact some of those who sign the guestbook fully expect to be contacted. With this in mind, a guestbook that is not used as it was intended, may actually chase some people away.
If your church is not growing, time to utilize every resource available and that includes the lowly guestbook. It further reminds me about a pastor recently who said she hadn’t seen me in church for a while and did not know how to contact me! I remembered that I had previously signed the guestbook and left my information. I decided it was not a good time to remind her about that fact.
So it is most likely that not using it, does not help a church. Don’t use it as a resource if you do not respect its purpose. If your church wants to grow which is what the church was built to do, someone needs to follow up with people who sign it. Someone in the church congregation needs to take up the task if the pastor does not. I would even follow up with them later as well as putting them on your church newsletter, email or mailing list. If they do not want to be on your list they will tell you. A church that steps out of their comfort zone, is doing what is expected of them and will start to grow again. Just do not forget about the vital guestbook.