Visitation Team: How to make a Friendly Visit
Guidelines and suggestions for making a Friendly Visit
1. A Friendly Visit—Defined
A Friendly Visit (abbreviated FV
) is when a caller knocks on the door of a home that has had some previous contact with our pastor or our church. The goal is NOT to enter the home, and NOT to engage in a theological discussion. The goal is to show Christ’s love by showing ourselves as friendly people willing to extend our friendship to them. With a friendly smile and pleasant voice, the callers invite the recipients to join us for worship and activities, and Bethany informational materials are handed out. The visit is short and sweet.
2. How this Works
We will occasionally stop by the doors of our “Unchurched Friends” (who receive our outreach newsletters and emails) to slowly, over time, methodically build a bridge of friendship. We do not want to be pressuring. Nor are we looking to get involved in a long conversation. Thirty seconds to 3 minutes standing outside at the door, handing off our Bethany materials with a polite conversation, is a normal call. As people show interest, pastor is alerted and more in-depth calls can be made later.
3. The Stuff you will Deliver
A) The "stuff" you will deliver is set aside in the designated area in the small office near the church altar. In the corner of this office, on the long (waist-high) shelf near the windows, is the specially designated spot where you will find the materials for conducting your visits.
B) The typical materials include yellow door-hanger bags with a prospect sheet attached to each bag. (Keep these sheets and bags attached until you make a delivery.) You will also find some postcards (or thank you cards). And you may have also requested some courtesy maps.
C) A bright yellow door-hanger bag, with our logo and name, is used to deliver the outreach materials which are already inserted inside each bag.
D) Attached to each of these yellow bags is a Prospect Sheet (that contains name, address, simple information). It's important to keep the Prospect Sheet attached to the yellow door-hanger bag in case the contents within each bag is specific to the home you are visiting. (For example, information on infant baptism might be in one door-hanger bag intended for a family with an infant, that may not apply to a different family.)
E) Materials inside the door-hanger bag may vary from home to home, but usually the materials will contain a pen, stickem notes, Forward in Faith magazine, and information concerning an upcoming event.
F) It is good for you to be familiar with what's inside the bag you're delivering, especially if there's an upcoming event that is specifically being advertized. This way, when you greet the person at the door, you can specifically mention something like: "we especially want to invite you to join us for (event)
and there's a sheet inside this packet that gives you all the details."
4. Getting Ready to Go Out
A) You and your Visitation Team partner will have decided when to meet and make your calls.
B) Please read through the information on the Prospect Sheet to become familiar with the occupants’ names and family make-up.
C) We assume that you can use your home computer to use Google maps, etc, to find the easiest route to the house; or that you will use your GPS. If you would like us to supply a printed map for each home, please let pastor know ahead of time.
5. When Are These Visits to be Conducted?
A) Basically, you may make your visits at any time convenient to you and your team partner. The system is designed for you to be able to pick up your materials (step 3 above) on Sunday morning at worship. Then you have the rest of the week, until the next Sunday, to make your visits. Any time sensitive material that you may be delivering factors in this week's time.
B) If your team partner is unable to go with you, please call pastor or our Evangelism Chairman to see if we can arrange a temporary partner. We do not wish calls to be made by one person only.
C) In winter, since sunset comes early, it's probably best to make calls on the weekend in daylight hours. Saturday morning at 11 am is often a good time.
D) In summer, since sunset comes later, calls may be made weeknights before, during or after the supper hour.
6. Our Guidelines for Knocking at the Door
7. Sample Call
- Personal contact with an adult is the goal. Ask for an adult. If there is none, leave the information at door and go. We do not want to have contact with a minor, lest our purpose be misconstrued.
- If you are asked to stay for a while, please assume that social pressure is making someone feel compelled to offer this. Our goal is not to get involved in anything but a short, polite conversation. Please apologize that you are not prepared to spend but a few minutes there at the door, and that you are on a time schedule. Perhaps offer to return at a future time with the pastor.
- If you get asked a theological question, answer as best you can. If uncomfortable, offer the pastor to come out to discuss this topic further.
- If no one is home: leave the yellow door hanger bag on the door handle; if this is not workable, place it beside the door on the porch so that it is visible as possible.
(Be yourself! But here are guidelines you can use to be yourself... more confidently.)
- ring bell, step back 3 feet from door to be less threatening: smile— Jesus loves you and these people .
- [if child comes to door, ask for adult: “Is your mom or dad home?”]
- Hi, my name is ____________. We’re from Bethany Lutheran Church....
- [hold out yellow bag] … AND we just wanted to stop by to share some information with you.
- [offer to hand off; if person is timid and won’t open door, offer to place or hang outside]
- If a special event is being advertized, specifically mention it. "Inside a packet is a special invitation for you to attend..."
8. Complete a Visitation Report using the Online Form
- Is there any way we can be of help for you or your family? Do you have any questions I could maybe answer?
- Our pastor would be happy to give you more information about our church. He makes home visits. Please call him. Thank you so much. Have a great day.
9. Follow Up Thank You Card or Postcard
- It's amazing how quickly details from one call can blend together, making it difficult to remember specifics. So please jot notes on the prospect sheet when you return to your vehicle.
- As soon as possible, use the notes you jotted on your prospect sheet to enter a "Visitation Report" at our church website.
- Go to our church website: at the bottom of the left column is "Member Resources"
- Click on Member Resources > then click on Visitation Team "Report A Visit"
- A "Visitation Report" form will open in a new window; answer the questions asked in the survey and submit. Repeat the process for additional calls.
~ Upon returning home, use one of the supplied cards to hand address a quick note. Be short, be original, or borrow from the examples below.
10. Shredding the Prospect Sheets
- Sample 1: Dear Joe, Thanks for coming to the door Tuesday night. I hope the materials will be interesting to you. Your friend in Christ, Sue
- Sample 2: Hi Lisa, Thanks for letting me swing by your door Wednesday. Such a cute daughter! Cross of Glory has been a great friend to me, and I just wanted to you know you are welcome to explore our church family.
- Sample 3: Greetings, Mack,: Sorry I caught you at a bad time; but thanks for your politeness. We just want you to know that we’re here, and if you ever have any questions about the Bible, we’ll do our best to help you get answers. Sincerely, Susie
After filling out a Visitation Report and mailing a follow up note, please properly destroy and dispose of the Prospect Sheets.
Thank you for serving your Savior by serving Bethany’s outreach ministry.