In Part 10, I will continue expanding upon the outreach/ministry goal of outreachers. Andy referred to space, contacts, and outreachers as outreach/ministry goals. Over the last several blog posts, I have expanded on a post I wrote four years ago entitled Sunday School Growth Spiral. There I shared growth goals from Andy Anderson’s book, The Growth Spiral.
Not only is mobilizing outreachers an outreach/ministry goal, it could also easily be a quantity goal and a quality goal. Sending out more outreachers to make more contacts enables more care for prospects (quality). At the same time, contacts with prospects shows the love of the class and of Christ and leads some to visit the class and to join (quantity). But mobilizing more outreachers to make more contacts is obviously an outreach/ministry goal because of its focus on prospects.
Andy defines outreachers as the
people who participate in the visitation program every week.
For clarification, I would add “for the Sunday School, church, and Lord.” And I would add that while some visits will be caring visits with Sunday School members, the focus for outreachers will be “reaching out” to prospects.
The goal is someone making visits for every class (of every age group) in the Sunday School. If you have five classes, the goal would be five (even better would be sending them out in pairs) every week. But Andy also recommends making visitation/contact assignments “during Sunday School to those who cannot attend the visitation program.” Get everyone involved. Make sure you call for reports and record the results of the visits.
In order for the class to be in a growing posture, every class should have a list of prospects with names and contact information for a number of persons equal to or exceeding the class enrollment (see Foundational Pillars of a Sunday School that Grows, Part 3). Andy recommends dividing prospect lists into separate categories: ministry visitation (class members needing ministry), enrollment visitation (focus on asking prospects to enroll), and evangelistic visitation (focus on inviting prospects to Christ). Please note that Andy clearly makes this statement:
Absentee visitation will kill the visitation program because the same people seem to be absent each week. As a result, we ask our people to visit the same people every week…Also our people stop visiting if the only people they have to visit are the absentees.
Providing a light, quick meal can mean that more people will be able to participate after work. Also, if only one person from a class participates, then it would be good for individuals from two classes to join efforts and make visits for both classes. Enlist and mobilize outreacher teams. Contact and minister to members. Contact and care for prospects. Pray. Meet needs. Build relationships. Invite. Plan to grow! Be revolutionary!
While The Growth Spiral, is out of print, you can still find used copies for sale online. The book is worth adding to your Sunday School library for all the practical ideas that run throughout the book!