Your class prays and collects prospect contact information. Then they do nothing with it. Guests attend. They complete registration information for you, but you set the information aside. Follow up is essential in order to show we care, develop relationships, discern needs and interest, and to invite prospects and guests to join the class and accept Jesus as Savior and Lord.
Over the last couple of months, we have said that Sunday School can be more inviting and evangelistic through prayer (Part 1), relationships (Part 2), fellowships (Part 3), greeting (Part 4), teaching (Part 5), and application (Part 6). In addition to these sixty ways, in Part 7 we will look at ten ways Sunday School can also be evangelistic through follow up:
- REGISTRATION. Follow up is difficult or impossible when registration is ignored. Make it simple but thorough. This can happen with Sunday School greeters at a church welcome center or strategic entrance. Or it can happen with class greeters or care group leaders. Also, guest registration information from worship should be shared with classes to add to prospect lists from which to make contacts.
- RECORDS. Records begin with guest registration, prospect information, or enrollment. Guests and prospects will have two kinds of records: (a) contact making information with name, address, phone, email, and age group and (2) contact reporting information with efforts and results of contacts by phone, mail, visit, and electronic means. Records of contacts are essential so the next people can build on previous contact rather than start over every time.
- ASSIGNMENT. Someone should be in charge of making sure that contacts are made with all guests and prospects. And opportunities for prayer and contact should be shared by everyone in the class. These assignments should be made (and reported) on Sunday and through the week.
- TIMELY CONTACT. Guests should be contacted within 48-72 hours following their visit in Sunday School or worship. Other contacts with prospects should be made quickly following discovery of ministry needs and addition to class prospect list. Contact on birthdays, anniversaries, and special days should also be considered timely contact to show you care.
- CARING CONTACT. Contact should be an expression of care rather than numbers or the function of a class job or responsibility. Contact should be the further development of a friendship. Often contact will include listening, encouraging, and prayer. This means that phone or visit are the preferred tools for follow up because they are more personal in nature.
- PERSISTENT CONTACT. Expression of care is not completed after one contact. Many may need to make these multiple contacts. And a system of records and contacts should be established so no one gives up on those who don’t come to class. The point is c are. Leave them on the prospect list until you know they are involved in another Su nday School class somewhere, until they have moved away, or until they have died. Or if they request to be removed–realizing that such a request is a sign of the need for prayer.
- PRAYER. All contact should involve prayer before, during, and after. Pray for guests and prospects by name. Pray for their lives and requests you have discovered along the way. Be intentional in prayer. And pray with prospects as often as possible. When leaving a message, remember you can even pray for them in the message. Ask for prayer requests, and that can be a great method for discovering ministry opportunities as well as to show you care. Pray for their salvation and growth as believers and disciples.
- LISTEN. One of the simplest, most powerful ways to show you care is to give the gift of listening. Ask questions, and listen. Ask for prayer requests, and listen. Don’t rush through “your” presentation. In person, look them in the eye. Reword what they said to make sure you understand. Don’t try to answer before you listen.
- TESTIMONY. When appropriate, share about why you consider Sunday School to be valuable. How has it helped you grow? How have class members ministered to you? Share about how God has been working in your life. Share how you came to realize your need for Jesus. Pray and allow the Holy Spirit to minister in and through those times.
- ASK. Follow up also means calling for the question. What I mean is that we should not say “no” for them. We should not fail to ask them for a response assuming they will decline. Ask them to join the class. Ask them to come over for a meal. Ask them to come to a fellowship. Ask them if they are ready to accept Jesus. Just ask. Care enough to ask.
What would you add to these ideas for making our lesson application even more evangelistic? If attenders obey God in His Word, those around them will be attracted to Jesus. Choose one or two and of the ideas above to implement in your class this week! In Part 8, we will turn to ways our class follow up can be more evangelistic.