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Beyond the First Visit: The Complete Guide to Connecting Guests to Your Church Paperback – September 1, 2006


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Baker Books (September 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801091845
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801091841
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 5.4 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #312,194 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Does your church put out the "Welcome" mat or the "Do not disturb" sign?

We all like to think that our church is the friendliest one in town. But do visitors see it that way? Church consultant Gary L. McIntosh invites you to take another look at your church through the eyes of a first-time guest to identify the things that might be holding them back from a second visit.

This very practical book offers sound advice on assessing and improving the ways in which your church attracts people, welcomes them, does follow-up, and brings them into the church family. More than simply offering mere techniques, it gives suggestions for making a welcoming attitude part of the very fabric of your church.

"McIntosh is a coach who knows the fundamentals of church life and outreach. Beyond the First Visit is an essential training tool on how to implement these fundamentals."--Dr. John W. Ellas, Center for Church Growth

"Gary McIntosh has learned, as a church consultant with years of experience, to see the churches he visits from the first-time guest's point of view. We have only one chance to make a first impression!"--Eddie Gibbs, Fuller Theological Seminary

"McIntosh's new book fills a long-standing void. No one (to my knowledge) since Lyle Schaller's Assimilating New Members, published in 1978, has addressed the challenge of effectively including new people in the church's life with this much background, savvy, and precision."--George G. Hunter III, distinguished professor of Evangelism and Church Growth, Asbury Theological Seminary

"This book is great! It's filled with practical ideas to tackle every local church's greatest challenge: how to connect and disciple new people. We have already begun to implement many of Gary's excellent ideas."--Dr. Gary D. Kinnaman, author, senior pastor, Word of Grace, Mesa, AZ

Gary L. McIntosh is professor of Christian Ministry and Leadership at Talbot School of Theology, Biola University. He is a former pastor with many years as a church consultant. He is the author or coauthor of thirteen books on church leadership and growth, and the editor of Church Growth Network and Journal of the American Society of Church Growth.

About the Author

Gary L. McIntosh is professor of Christian Ministry and Leadership at Talbot School of Theology, Biola University. He is a former pastor with many years as a church consultant, is the author or coauthor of thirteen books on church leadership and growth, and the editor of Church Growth Network and Journal of the American Society of Church Growth. McIntosh lives in Temecula, California.

More About the Author

Gary L. McIntosh is professor of Christian Ministry and Leadership at Talbot School of Theology, Biola University, and president of the Church Growth Network. He has consulted with church leaders in more than five hundred churches from fifty-five denominations. He is editor of the Church Growth Network newsletter and the Journal of American Church Growth. He has written or co-authored more than fifteen books and manuals.

Customer Reviews

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We don't need to be very concerned about the folks who are going to end up at a church somewhere.
Chad Oberholtzer
As a pastor I am excited because the book puts practical steps within reach that will help us keep guests who come to church, especially from our mailings.
Kurt D Wolfe
GOOD- It is comprehensive in scope, full of helpful ideas and information, and forces you to ask very helpful questions in a systematic fashion.
Eric R. Molicki

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

47 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Chad Oberholtzer on September 19, 2007
Format: Paperback
I'm on staff at our church in the area of First Impressions, and the subtitle of this book ("Connecting Guests to Your Church") is a major part of what I do. When I first saw this book, I knew that I needed to read it.

Quite frankly, I was disappointed on several fronts. First and foremost, this book felt like it was written for the church of the 1980s. I was taken aback by the almost complete failure to mention internet strategies. When it was discussed at the end of Chapter 5, it was almost as if the reader was supposed to be only vaguely aware that the "World Wide Web" even exists.

I was also frustrated by the rather hokey feel of many of McIntosh's suggestions. The DWYPYWD principle (Do what you promised you would do)? Come on, that's a ridiculous and utterly useless acronym. The rule of three-thirty-three? The MOT (Moment of Truth)? I just think that this stuff is silly.

I was disappointed by one underlying message throughout the book, that the purpose of making good connections with guests is to convince them to attend your church rather than another church. But this totally misses the point of caring about guests. We don't need to be very concerned about the folks who are going to end up at a church somewhere. Our energies should be directed to the folks who are going to choose between attending our church and never attending church again. Those are the folks for whom first impressions and guesterizing strategies should be focused.

Finally, I could not see how Chapter 13 fit into this book. In the midst of all of his connection strategies, McIntosh spends this chapter providing a brief summary of the emergent church movement.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Derek A. French on November 9, 2006
Format: Paperback
He has several, practical steps for making your church more hospitable. From the 10 foot rule, to the 5 minute rule, to such advice as "Recruit for attitude, Train for people for skills," it was worth the purchase.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By EvangelismCoach on May 1, 2008
Format: Paperback
The cover promises to offer the reader a complete guide to church hospitality, and is written by well know church growth scholar Gary McIntosh.

If you have NEVER picked up a book on welcoming visitors, this can be a helpful introduction.

This book does have some strengths in looking at the visitor flow of your church.

Attracting Visitors -- Getting them to come.
Welcoming Visitors -- The art of Hospitality, dealing with first impressions and service.

But there are better books on the market Such as FusionFusion: Turning First-Time Guests into Fully-Engaged Members of Your Church

How do YOU welcome a visitor

McIntosth begins with reminder of how important it is for churches to welcome the visitors that come.

He asks: How do you react differently between a guest and a visitor?

A guest is invited, expected, and thus you make sure the house is clean and in order.

A visitor shows up unexpectedly, uninvited, and typically when you're doing laundry or dressed in your painting clothes.

McIntosh encourages the church to think through how it welcomes guests, to review what it thinks about guests, and to encourage churches to see themselves through the eyes of a guest.

In the 2nd chapter, he reminds of how to be a great host. Welcoming guests doesn't happen accidentally, but on purpose with some careful planning and attention to the process (which is where a consultant can help you).
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Kurt D Wolfe on January 27, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have given a copy of this book to Lay Leaders in the church to read and review. They have been impacted by it and we have begun a program in the church modeled after the book and fashioned for our particular small congregation. A Lay Leader in charge has developed a training program for committed team members of the "Welcome Wagon." As a pastor I am excited because the book puts practical steps within reach that will help us keep guests who come to church, especially from our mailings. Our congregation is mostly blue collar and is under 100 in attendance but this has potential for all shapes and sizes as it impacts the sociological perspectives of Laypeople regarding their church. It is like having a consultant talk to you for the price of a book. Blessings!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Judy Crowder on July 26, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The title of McIntosh's compelling book shoud be an eye-catcher for anyone concerned about how their church looks to visitors--or guests, as the author puts it. He offers thoughtful, practical ideas about church people in churchs of all sizes. This book is a compelling read and a great starting point for discussions.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By O. MARTINS on April 2, 2007
Format: Paperback
This is an excellent, practical, and insightful book on how growing a church to the next level can be done. The author has writen it from the biblical, psychological and sociological perspectives which therefore makes it a wholistic and comprehensive treatise on how to boost the attendance of a declined or declining church. Read it and put it into a action. The growth of your church will surprise you.
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