“Are You Sure We Need This?”
We get it — you don’t want to waste your time. You’re busy with ministry and only want to spend time and energy on projects that matter in the long run. But we promise that a Customer Journey is one of the most valuable tools you can harness. It shapes everything — your digital outreach, visitor follow-up, and member communication. When you take the time to map out your Customer Journey, you can create a system that keeps your people from falling through the cracks.
And if you’ve never heard of a Customer Journey, don’t worry — you’ll learn all you need to know right here! And if you’re a lover of knowledge, you can go read even more in our previous post, Your Marketing MVP: The Customer Journey.
How Does A Customer Journey Translate To The Church World?
In the marketing world, a Customer Journey is the entire process from before a customer knows a company existed to the point where they’re advocating for the brand.
But in the church world, we’ve renamed this process the Member Journey.
Whether you realize it or not, you probably already have a half-baked Member Journey in your mind. What’s your plan to encourage visitors to become members? How do you urge members to get more involved? These are the bare bones of your Member Journey.
Start By Imagining Your Average Visitor
Put yourself in the shoes of your church’s average visitor: What do they value? What do they care about? What aspect of their life is the most stressful for them? What would make them trust your church to guide them? This mental exercise breaks you out of your tendency to use insider language and refocuses your Member Journey on the cares of your visitors. As you create your Member Journey, ask yourself what would encourage your average visitor to move from one stage to the next.
The 5 Stages of a Member Journey
Stage 1: Awareness
In order for someone to visit your church, they have to know you exist. While personal invitations are great, you need a wider net if you’re going to catch more fish. When a new family moves into town, will they find your name when they Google search nearby churches? When someone is scrolling Facebook, will your recent sermon snippet catch their attention? Investing some of your budget in Google and Facebook ads can go a long way.
Stage 2: Consideration & Evaluation
The moment a new visitor steps into your church, they’re in evaluation mode. If they’re a non-Christian, they’re evaluating whether Christ is the answer to their problems or questions. If they’re already a Christian, they’re evaluating whether your church is a good fit for them and their family. This period of testing the waters can last anywhere from a few weeks to even a few months if they visit small groups and events before joining. This is when follow-up is crucial, and a good Welcome Email Campaign can make all the difference.
Stage 3: Membership Decision
Now we get to the good stuff. When a visitor joins your church as a member, they’ve officially decided to link themself to you. They’ve “bought in”, if you will. This is a crucial moment in the Member Journey — some members will jump right in and get involved, while others maintain a Sundays-only mentality or mysteriously disappear altogether. Follow-up can be even more important right after membership, so make sure you have a plan in place to connect your new members with small groups and serving opportunities.
Stage 4: Member Involvement
After a member joins your church, they need to be in the know about all your upcoming events. While they might have been getting weekly emails from you as a visitor, now you have new opportunities for engagement. Does your church have a system of emailing certain segments of your congregation? You can invite specific segments of your church to certain events or service opportunities, or connect members with specialized ministries they’d find most relevant.
Stage 5: Service & Advocacy
This is the ideal member! We all have those members that feel like part of the ministry team. They’re engaged in our small groups, they’re serving regularly, and they’re sharing the love of Christ in the world. These Member MVPs need your support and encouragement as they strive side-by-side with you in the Gospel. Make sure that you’re connecting with them regularly and equipping them with resources as they grow in Christ.
The Bottom Line
A clear Member Journey keeps visitors from falling through the cracks and creates more involved members to help bear the burden of ministry. As you take the time to map out your Member Journey and adjust your marketing strategy accordingly, your church will become more streamlined and effective.
Need Help Getting Started?
We know your main priority is serving your church members, so why not let us handle your marketing? Contact us today for a digital marketing and advertising consultation, and let’s work together to keep your members connected.