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By Jonathan Howe

We are routinely asked about the most effective ways to get guests to fill out communication cards or to turn them in. What if your church could get information on guests before they even set foot on campus? With an online registration form on your website, you can.

Whether you utilize this on a “Plan Your Visit” page, the home page, or the kids ministry page on your website, by offering an online guest registration form you are already ahead of the game when it comes to making a good first impression with a guest. Other than that, here are five reasons you should consider using online guest registration forms.

  1. It shows you expect guests. First and foremost, having an online guest registration form sends the message that you are expecting guests and want to be ready for them. This small detail communicates that your church is a guest-friendly one.
  2. Sunday mornings are typically hectic for parents. Online registration forms are great for all guests, but especially for those with kids. When my family visits a church for the first time, we dread the paperwork that comes with dropping our kids off in the nursery. We know we have to leave earlier than normal because of how long it will take. And we worry about how our kids will act while we fill out the information forms. Online registration allows parents to breathe easier and not dread the drop-off process. Parents will greatly appreciate the efficiency of an online guest registration form.
  3. You can prepare your volunteers. If you know to expect two or three extra guests in a toddler class, you can prepare those teachers for the extra kids. Volunteers are less likely to be stressed by larger-than-normal class numbers when they know what to expect ahead of time.
  4. It allows you to make an impression on kids and parents. On a positive note, knowing whom to expect allows volunteers to add a personal touch to their care. Imagine the impression a teacher can make on a hesitant child if they are able to greet them by name at first sight.
  5. You are more likely to receive accurate information. When a guest is unhurried to fill out a registration form, they’re more likely to fill it out completely and accurately. Also, handwriting issues are eliminated if forms are filled out electronically.

Does your church use online registration forms for guests? Have you ever visited a church that used them? Would you consider using them in your current church?

Jonathan Howe serves as Director of Strategic Initiatives at LifeWay Christian Resources as well as the host and producer of Rainer on Leadership and SBC This Week. Jonathan writes weekly at on topics ranging from social media to websites and church communications. Connect with Jonathan on Twitter at @Jonathan_Howe.

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