Yesterday I celebrated the fifth April 1st on the blog. That’s right. In case you have the spiritual gift of gullibility, you were the victim of the annual Connective Tissue April Fools’ prank. (Seriously, people. You really should click the link at the bottom of the post.) Contrary to what you read, there are no plans to upgrade our First Time Guest bags. Keurig machines? Come on. Car washes while you wait? Not likely.

My favorite response of the day? Had to be the tweet from former WonderIntern Aaron Coalson: “sadly i was torn b/w trying to figure out how to win that iPad and why we didn’t give it 2 the poor.”

But I digress. You can read the “why” behind the bag here. And as tongue-in-cheek as yesterday’s post was, it might’ve raised the question: what actually goes in the bag? While that changes from time to time, here’s the current inventory:


The bag itself. We only use this bag for First Time Guests. That’s it. That way, when we see someone carrying it, we know exactly who they are. (We currently use Promo Direct as our bag supplier.)

Welcome brochure. This very simple brochure highlights only five things: our age graded ministries (Summit Kids, Summit Students, Summit College), our Small Groups ministry, and Starting Point, our newcomers event. Why five? Because we didn’t want six. Seriously, I find that too many welcome bags at too many churches contain an implausible number of next steps and enough ministry brochures to kill a small forest. We decided to narrow the focus to just those things that cover the broadest range of people, and keep Al Gore happy in the process.

Gospel booklet. We’ve used various books / brochures over the years to encapsulate the good news of Jesus to newcomers. But when our pastor wrote his own version of the gospel we decided to capitalize on it. :) Thanks to the generosity of Broadman & Holman, we are able to put a sample chapter of J.D.’s Gospel in every bag. (Within the next few weeks we’re going to be replacing that with an updated booklet that J.D. recently wrote.)

Summit acrylic tumbler. This is the “gift” in the bag. We intentionally chose a big chunky cup in a flat bottomed bag so that guests would have to keep it out of their pockets or purses, thereby making the bags visible. I reckon we could’ve had the same effect with an inflatable raft.

Starting Point rave card. Yes, we mention Starting Point in the welcome brochure. But because that’s our primary next step, we want to make sure guests know it’s important. The card is the only thing that’s not already in the bag. Our FTG volunteers talk about Starting Point with the guest and write the next date in white space on the back of the card before they drop it in.

So that’s it…what’s in the bag. What about you? What goes in your guest bag? Comment below.


By the way, if you enjoyed yesterday’s post, here’s a trip down April Fools’ Memory Lane…