In Part 1 of this series, I answered two questions: (1) Who is a prospect? and (2) Where can I find prospects. In Part 2, I answered three questions: (1) What is a prospect list? (2) Where do I get a prospect list? and (3) How many people should be on our prospect list? In this final series post, I will answer who’s in charge of the list, what to do with the list, and when to remove prospects.
WHO’S IN CHARGE? Whose job is it to develop and maintain a prospect list? In an adult or teen class of two or three, that job will fall to the teacher. But as the class grows, the teacher will prayerfully enlist a class outreach leader who will lead the class to focus on outreach. The prospect list development and maintenance is then the responsibility of the outreach leader working together with the teacher and class.
In younger classes, the job of developing and maintaining the prospect list falls to one of the teachers. All younger classes should have a minimum of two teachers due to safety and security concerns. Both teachers may pray, care, and contact from the list, but one will take the lead in developing the list and keeping it updated.
WHAT DO I DO WITH A PROSPECT LIST? As soon as you have one name with contact information, that is your cue to begin extending the care of the class and love of our Lord. Lead the class to pray for, care for, and contact the people on the list. Here are a few of the many ways you can put the list to use:
- pray for people on the prospect list by name, you might focus on 3-5 each week you gather;
- assign a prospect name to a class member to pray for the prospect;
- invite every prospect to every class fellowship and project planned;
- make special plans to get to know the people on the “hot prospect list”—invite them for a meal, go to a ball game, or have coffee;
- call prospects weekly to share prayer requests, ask how you can pray for them and their families, share class plans, and pray together;
- mobilize the class to meet any needs discovered; and
- set aside a month for a couple of class members to have a meal with a prospect.
As you can see, the prospect list is intended for the outreach leader to involve the class in reaching out in care to those not enrolled in the class. Pray for them. Care for them. Contact, invite, and enroll them. Love them into relationship. Love them to Jesus.
WHEN CAN WE REMOVE PEOPLE FROM OUR LIST?Sometimes we can get overwhelmed by the amount of care we have to do. There can be so many prospects and so many needs that it is difficult to keep up. Sadly, that is seldom the reason I discover when I ask why a teacher or outreach leader wants to remove names from a prospect list.
The root of the reason I hear most often is in one of two directions. One reason is that the teacher or outreach leader is busy and not doing a good job and wanting to narrow down responsibility. The thought is if I drop a few people, then I won’t have as much to do. Then stop doing all the work yourself! Share the prayer, care, and contacts. Allow others to help.
The second reason given is that prospects have not come to class, so they are not really prospects, are they? How likely are they to come to class, to church, and to Jesus if you remove them from your list AND your care. You see, if you remove them from the list, you will stop praying for them, caring for them, and contacting them. Instead of removing them, get some help. Connect members who share affinities with the prospects. Rotate assignments. Look for fresh ways to contact and connect.
Remove them only if the prospect dies, moves out of the ministry reach of the church, or joins another class. Continue to love them to Jesus. Some will eventually come to class. Keep in mind that only some class members come to class as well. We will never get 100%, but we will likely reach none if we remove them from our list and our care!