CNLP 232: Christine Birch on Connecting New People Who Come to Your Church

Christine Birch has been part of three large churches in both Canada and the US.

How do you connect people in a large church, and how do you connect them at your church? Christine shares her experiences on both sides of the border as they apply to large and small churches alike.

Welcome to Episode 232 of the podcastListen and access the show notes below or search for the Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts and listen for free.

Guest Links

 Instagram | Facebook | Connexus Church

Episode Links

Looking for a great gift this Christmas season? How about one that offers practical help for overcoming some of the biggest challenges in leadership and life? Learn more about my best-selling book, Didn’t See It Coming and give the gift that could prevent or heal the scars of burnout in the new year by visiting

My 5-day study called Beating Cynicism is now on YouVersion! So many of you are connecting with the cynicism chapter in Didn’t See It Coming, so I put together this FREE study. Beating Cynicism will help you identify your inner cynic and offer practical ways to reclaim optimism in your heart, relationships, faith and life.

Canadian Church Leaders Podcast (CCLP 020): Danielle Strickland on Becoming a Great Communicator, Knowing When It’s Time to Move On and Being a Rebel At Heart


Understanding Email Anti-spam Laws in U.S., Canada, E.U.

The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It by Michael Gerber

The Canadian Church Leaders Conference mentioned in this episode occurred June 2018. Registration for future events is not available at this time.  

3 Insights from Christine

1. Posture your church so that guests feels expected and accepted

People assume that community will just happen organically, but no matter the size of your church it takes intentionality and hustle. Size doesn’t have anything to do with how warm or cold a church can feel to a new attender and church staff must develop a welcoming posture to ensure a guest feels expected and accepted.

2. Make your follow up with new guests quick, personal and generous

Connexus Church has a great system for following up with guests. It isn’t time consuming and offers personal notes with generous gestures to make people feel welcomed into community. Here’s an overview your church can use and modify to fit your needs.

First Sunday: Connections Card & Small Gift (example: coffee mug)

Week One: Handwritten Post Card from a volunteer, BombBomb Email from Campus Pastor, Personal Phone Call from a staff member

Week Two (Attender): Hand written, stamped and addressed Note with Gift Card

Week Two (Absent): If a family doesn’t return,  mail a hand stamped and addressed Letter with incentive to return (example: coupon for a free book)

If attenders opt in to receive emails, send regular invitations to attend a new members style class and any current events happening on campus.

3. Honouring the personal space and privacy of attendees shows them respect and protects your church, too

Never force attendees to identify themselves. Instead, respect personal space by allowing them to remain anonymous until they feel comfortable being known. In the mean time, make sure that those next steps are clear and easily available so people can engage your church when they are ready.

If people have volunteered email addresses to receive information about your church you have the responsibility to continue communicating to them until they opt out, but take the time to learn about anti-spam regulations to protect your church from legal battles.

Quotes from Episode 232

No matter what your church size is, we have to make sure that we're posturing ourselves so that a new guest feels expected and then accepted once they have identified themselves. Christine Birch Click To Tweet Doing a better job on follow up can be the difference between you being a growing church and a flat church. @cnieuwhof Click To Tweet The average church sees 1 in 10 of their first time guests return, I'm not content with that. If they are opting in to be communicated with, I'm going to keep pointing them away from anonymity towards community. Christine Birch Click To Tweet The average first time guest or newer guest doesn't realize how good the experience of community can be and they're going to push against it. Christine Birch Click To Tweet If you can find someone to count the offering, you can find somebody to have coffee with new people. @cnieuwhof Click To Tweet

Read or Download the Transcript for Episode 232

Looking for a key quote? More of a reader?

Read or download a free PDF transcript of this episode here.

Solve the Problems Most Leaders Miss: Didn’t See It Coming Will Help

If you want practical help overcoming some of the biggest challenges leaders face, my new book Didn’t See It Coming: Overcoming the 7 Greatest Challenges That Nobody Expects and Everyone Experiences tackles the seven core issues that take people out: cynicism, compromise, disconnectedness, irrelevance, pride, burnout, and the emptiness of success and provides strategies on how to combat each.

I wrote the book because no 18 year old sets out to be cynical, jaded and disconnected by age 35. Yet it happens all the time.

The good news is, it doesn’t have to be that way.

Here’s what top leaders are saying about Didn’t See It Coming:

“Seriously, this may be the most important book you read this year.” Jud Wilhite, Lead Pastor, Central Church

“Powerful, personal, and highly readable. ” Brian Houston, Global Senior Pastor, Hillsong

“Whatever challenge you’re facing, whatever obstacle you’re hoping to overcome, whatever future you dream or imagine, there is something powerful for you here.” Andy Stanley, Founder, North Point Ministries

“Uncommonly perceptive and generous…You have to read this book.” Ann Voskamp, NYT bestselling author

“Masterful.” Reggie Joiner, CEO Orange

“Deep biblical insight, straightforward truth, and practical wisdom to help you grow.” Craig Groeschel, Pastor and NYT bestselling author

“This book is sure to help you.” Daniel H. Pink, NYT bestselling author

Over the years, one of the things I’ve enjoyed most about being a public speaker is having opportunities to hang out with Carey…It’s not a matter of if you’ll run into these challenges; it’s a matter of when. Be prepared by spending a little time with a leader who has already been there.” Jon Acuff, NYT best-selling author

“Nieuwhof’s book provides expert guidance…with an accuracy that pierces the heart.” Nancy Duarte, CEO Duarte Inc.

“A refreshingly transparent guide for all leaders in a wide variety of industries.” Bryan Miles, Co-Founder and CEO, BELAY

You can learn more and get your copy of Didn’t See It Coming here.

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Thank you for being so awesome.

Next Episode: Daniel Pink

There’s a science to maximum performance and productivity. Daniel Pink talks about the research that shows how morning people (larks), night owls and everyone in between (third birds) can find the perfect timing to do their best work. Dan also gives a number of helpful hacks on how to take the perfect breaks, the ideal nap and even how to take a caffeine fueled nap (a nappucino) to boost your productivity.

Subscribe for free now and you won’t miss Episode 233.

CNLP 232: Christine Birch on Connecting New People Who Come to Your Church


  1. Daniel on February 6, 2020 at 7:22 pm

    Hello! I would love to see that connection card and resources that you mentioned. Thank you so much for the content!

  2. Jenn Sykes on September 5, 2019 at 1:52 pm

    I hope I’m not missing the connection card sample you guys mentioned in the podcast with Christine Birch. Thanks so much! That was such a great one!!

  3. Paul Loeffler on February 14, 2019 at 7:12 pm

    I believe you mentioned a Connection Card example you would be making available. When might you be adding that to the show notes?

  4. Greg on January 28, 2019 at 1:43 pm

    Would love to see an example of your connection card and the template for the note card your volunteers can use! Very useful!

  5. Rick McKinley on January 14, 2019 at 9:49 am

    Hi – yes, came here looking for the connection card example – thanks!

  6. Cheryl on January 10, 2019 at 3:41 pm

    I also would love to see the example of your connection card. Please upload an example when convent :). Thank you for the podcast! I found it to be very helpful!

    • Cheryl on January 10, 2019 at 3:42 pm


  7. Jessica Stiller on January 8, 2019 at 2:42 pm

    I would love to see the resources mentioned for connection card and follow up process! thank you for this! We are revamping and looking for how to do this all the BEST way! Thank you

  8. nikki on December 30, 2018 at 3:43 pm

    I’d also love to see the resources that were mentioned in the show. This is super helpful! Thank you !

  9. Andy Jason Lavalley on December 21, 2018 at 4:19 pm

    I would love the resources mentioned..conncection/followup process. Great podcast like usual!

  10. Tamara Brandt on December 12, 2018 at 1:19 pm

    I would love to see what your notecard looks like and verbiage for it. Thanks!

  11. Robyn Bunch on December 11, 2018 at 4:53 pm

    Same as Les and Alex. When should we check back to see if it has been updated?
    Great work.

  12. Craig Carlson on December 11, 2018 at 3:51 pm

    Enjoyed the content, but also looking for the Connection Card and Connection Process. Thanks!

  13. Alex on December 7, 2018 at 11:17 am

    Yes, I agree with Les. I’m here for the mentioned resources and connection card / follow up process as well. Thank you!

  14. Les Woolsey on December 6, 2018 at 3:56 pm

    Can you please update the show notes to provide the mentioned resources such as your connection card and your connection/followup process. Loved the content. Very helpful.

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