How to encourage someone to come back to church: Practical strategies for pastors

September 1, 2023

If you’re a church leader, you know that church attendance continues to fluctuate in our post-pandemic world. Watching church visitors come and go can feel like an emotional rollercoaster—highs from meeting new visitors one week to lows when they don’t come back the next week. 

Churches need practical strategies to address the overall decline in participation. And while you can’t control who decides to come to church each week, you can control the experience people have when they do attend. 

Church culture is one of the main reasons people choose to either join or leave a congregation. It's an intangible element, yet you can feel it as soon as you walk through the doors of any church building. So, how do you create a culture that brings people to church over and over again?

Check out the three practical strategies below to help you create an atmosphere that encourages people to establish roots and get plugged into your church community.

3 practical strategies to keep people coming back to church

Getting people to return to church starts with passionate people in leadership. Church leaders bear the responsibility of making sure people feel valued, welcomed, and spiritually nourished. When leaders are committed to caring for their people, their personal approach and attitude set an example that creates a ripple effect, establishing a healthy church culture that people want to be part of. 

1. Create an inviting & meaningful in-person church service

Why would someone consider coming back to church? Because your church service offers a unique experience in community, corporate worship, and belonging they can’t get anywhere else. In-person gatherings are one of the places where church leadership can create a unified community committed to regular attendance. 

Let’s take a look at a few ways churches can keep people coming back each week:

Warm greetings & personal connections

People who visit in person are often looking for a new church to call home. Greeting newcomers with warmth and sincerity helps create an environment where visitors feel they belong. 

At the same time, visiting a new church can be intimidating. Encourage your greeters to start up conversations with visitors both before and after services or gatherings. Be sure to welcome your guests from the pulpit and let them know how much you value them. 

Meaningful worship experiences

Every worship service should begin with thoughtful, prayerful planning. From the worship set to the sermon, each element should be crafted with the entire congregation in mind. When weekend services resonate with the spiritual and emotional needs of your community, it encourages members to remain an integral part of the church.

Quality youth programs

Actively seek input from young church members to understand their needs and interests. Use their feedback to tailor programs that are engaging, relevant, and spiritually enriching. Church leaders should foster a safe and welcoming environment where youth feel valued and can form meaningful friendships with peers and mentors.

Accommodations for young families

There is a current upward trend of Millennials with young children attending church. Demonstrate a commitment to supporting young families with childcare during your gatherings along with designated family-friendly spaces within the church. Adding tools like child check-in integrated with church management software can help make it effortless for parents to enjoy the service and know their little ones are safe. 

2. Launch a process for visitor follow-up

Promptly following up with visitors and providing them with relevant information is crucial for fostering a positive and welcoming experience. Whether they’re first-time guests or returning members, your efforts convey a genuine interest in their presence and foster a sense of belonging. 

Text messaging has become a popular way to establish a direct and immediate connection with visitors. Powerful platforms like Subsplash can be used to send SMS messages to thank guests for visiting, share important announcements, and send reminders of upcoming services or events. These interactions build personal connections, making it more likely for people to come back to church again.

Free ebook, How to Connect with Church Visitors

3. Maintain an active & engaging online church community

Digital platforms serve as the first point of contact for unchurched people wanting to learn more about a church. An attractive, easy-to-navigate church website provides essential information about services, upcoming events, and community outreach. Convenient church apps can also offer your community resources for personal spiritual growth and facilitate online giving

Going online isn't about replacing traditional church activities but complementing them. Here are some more ways to attract people back to church with online resources. 

Live online experiences

Offer church live streaming to allow people to worship with your community in real time. Many potential visitors will watch church live streams several times before deciding to attend your church in person. 

Spiritual growth resources

Make it easy for members to engage with your gospel-centered content at their own pace and on their own schedule from anywhere. Tools like Subsplash Media allow you to create a searchable library of online resources, such as archived sermons, study materials, and inspirational content that members can access at their convenience. You can even personalize their experience with features like “Suggested content” and “Continue playing.”

24/7 community

Although nothing can replace in-person gatherings, an inclusive online community can continue to facilitate spiritual growth and personal relationships. For example, Subsplash Messaging can be integrated with email and your church’s app, allowing your people to have group or one-on-one conversations, share prayer requests, or discuss a recent sermon series. 

The Subsplash Platform makes it simple for people to stay connected with features like Group Finder, making it easy for people to find your small groups, register, and start real conversations with others. From discipleship groups to ministry teams, people can check in with each other and share media items directly from the app. 

Discover how the right tools encourage people to come back to church

By providing in-person and online opportunities for live worship, meaningful conversations, and powerful discipleship content, your visitors will see your church's commitment to being present and accessible. This welcoming and engaging church culture opens doors for them to stay connected and visit again.

Subsplash helps over 16,000 churches connect with billions of people around the world with gospel-centered content. To learn more about leveraging technology to attract and retain visitors at your church, [.blog-contact-cta]schedule time for a quick demo today! [.blog-contact-cta]


Ashley Powell, Guest author

Ashley is a writer and lover of all things handmade, living in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and three children. Through research and collaboration with marketing teams, she creates informative and educational content such as reader-focused blogs, guides, and product reviews.

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