12 Creative Ideas for First-Time Visitor Gifts
Churches love people. And people love free stuff.
That’s why most churches give some kind of gift to every first-time guest that attends their church gatherings.
The goal of a gift is not to bribe or pay off a church visitor. No matter how awesome your church visitor gift is, it’s never going to make up for a terrible experience at your church. They will remember the friendliness of your church long after the visitor gift is used up or worn out.
But generosity makes an impact. So it’s worth investing some time and money into your church visitor gift. You want something that will be thoughtful, memorable, unique, and fun!
If you’re looking for some fresh ideas and inspiration for your church visitor gift, here are the 12 most common types of gifts that churches give to their first-time visitors.
This is the classic, go-to church visitor gift. Who doesn’t like food?
Of course, you need to be aware of your church and community. People are increasingly suspicious of homemade foods. If you go to the type of church that still offers monthly potlucks, you might be able to get away with fresh-baked treats.
But most likely, you’ll be better off sticking with store-bought food items.
If there are local specialty food items in your area, those are also great options.
And if you’re really set on the homemade route, you can have a delicious scratch-made pies mailed directly to your guest’s home.
Mugs, stainless steel travel cups, tumblers, water bottles - this gift option comes in all shapes, colors, and sizes.
It’s relatively inexpensive to get these mugs and cups branded for you church, and they’re very likely to get used on a regular basis. That’s probably what makes them one of the more common gift options for churches.
They’re also perfect for combining multiple gift ideas. You can easily fill your gift mug with a Starbucks card, candy, or hot chocolate.
Gift card are another classic option, because they are easy to purchase, and they have a long shelf life.
Here are some great ideas for gift cards:
- Local restaurants
- Coffee shops
- Amazon gift cards (what can’t you find on Amazon?)
- Gas cards
- Oil change card
Depending on the size of your church and the number of visitors you get each year, you may want to let your first-time guests choose from a selection of gift cards.
If you go this route, just make sure you include a range of options to cover the various age groups and interests.
Maybe a movie night gift package would be a good gift option for your church.
Just purchase some Redbox movie rental codes. Then, print a simple “Movie Night” card with the rental code handwritten on the back. Throw in some popcorn, and you’re set!
In place of Redbox codes, you can also purchase gift cards for Amazon, iTunes, or Google Play.
Most any item that can be used functionally in everyday life is a great option for a church visitor gift.
That’s what makes carry bags or sack packs such a great gift. A simple, lightweight drawstring backpack is perfect for play, work, or school.
Most churches will brand these bags with their church name or logo, and there’s nothing wrong with this. But since you’re giving this gift to first-time visitors (who are still trying to figure out if your church is a good fit), you might want to keep the church branding a little more subtle.
They’re probably more likely to use the bag on a regular basis if they don’t feel like they’re a walking billboard for your church. You may want to skip the branding altogether and go with a Scripture verse instead.
Whatever you decide to do, just keep the visitor in mind. After all, this is a gift. At the end of the day, you do want the person receiving it to actually use it.
In recent years, this has become a very popular choice for visitor gifts.
With dozens of online resources to order high-quality t-shirts, it’s easy to get these for five or six dollars each. For most churches, this is an affordable gift option. And it’s almost certainly going to get used.
But just like the last option, the same branding rules apply. There’s nothing wrong with using your church branding somewhere on the shirt. Just make sure it’s done professionally and tastefully.
You should definitely consider getting some professional design help with your initial concept. If you’re going to print and give out these shirts all year, you want to make sure the design works from the start.
Many churches include digital products as part of their visitor package.
Maybe there’s a message from you pastor that really communicates the heart of what your church is about. Maybe you’ve professionally recorded music from you own church, or maybe you just want to provide a download code for some Christian music.
Again, this would have to be a right fit for your church and community, but if the dynamics are right it can be a memorable gift that ministers to people far beyond your church walls.
If you decide to include something like this, you may find it more effective to offer these digital files on a flash drive, instead of a physical CD or DVD.
This is another classic church visitor gift that has been used for many years.
Here are some great options to consider:
- Book written by a pastor (if you have one)
- Books that explain the gospel
- Practical books on basic Christian living
Along with the Bible or gift book, you might also include a branded journal for keeping notes.
Of course, paper books aren’t for everyone, so you may consider offering digital versions of these books as well.
Just keep in mind that a physical book is much more likely to stay top-of-mind in the weeks ahead. It’s much easier to forget about an eBook buried in some app on your phone.
These options probably won’t work as stand-alone gifts, but they are easy and effective additions.
Here are some common printed ideas for your first-time guests:
- Welcome brochure
- Next steps card
- Coupon for a free t-shirt if they visit next week (maybe on a small, mini invite card)
- Information about ministries and activities in your church (kids, youth, seniors, etc.)
There are dozens and dozens of other options for branded church visitor gifts. Some of them cheesy and impractical, but there are also a lot of great ideas out there.
There are a few very affordable online options for creating stickers or decals with your church name and/or logo.
Of course, you can go with the standard pen and branded journal option.
Again, there are so many online options for this type of gift. Just make sure you consider more than just the price point. Sending a cheap toy or trinket home with church visitors is not going to communicate professionalism or generosity.
For families who visit your church for the first time, you may want to put together a gift package that’s customized just for them.
The family movie night that we’ve already mentioned would work well for this. But there are a lot of other great gift ideas for kids.
- Coloring Books
- Kids Music CD
God has placed your church in a particular city. Among other things, this means that you are called to engage with your community and reach the people who live there.
Anything you can do to help people connect your church to their community is a win-win. And there are a lot of gift ideas that can help you do just that.
Tickets to local attractions like water parks, theme parks, zoos, and museums can be a great way to show appreciation to first-time guests.
Of course, this gift may not be appropriate for everyone, so it probably won’t work as your only visitor gift. But it’s a great option to keep on hand.
You may even be able to work out a deal with those local businesses where they only charge you for tickets or certificates that are actually redeemed.
These are a few of the most common categories for church visitor gifts. Just a little inspiration to get you started on how you can generously show the love of Christ to the people that God brings to your church.
If you’re looking for some more ideas on how to combine and personalize these ides for your church, check out this great guide from Church Marketing University. You’ll find real-life examples from multiples church, along with pricing guides and links to resources.