In Part 1, I shared that one reason many Sunday Schools are declining is that they have not identified or invited Sunday School prospects. Many go to Sunday School to have their needs met, forgetting many others who need those same experiences. If we don’t identify prospects, they won’t be invited or loved to Jesus.
In Part 1, I defined prospects to help in identifying them. My definition was this: “Sunday School prospects are men, women, boys, and girls not enrolled in Sunday School for whom we have a name and contact information.” Then I went on to list categories of prospects: Sunday School guests, worship guests, guests in other church ministries, guests during church special events, church members not enrolled in Sunday School, family members of church and Sunday School members, friends and neighbors, associates, and acquaintances.
Finally in Part 1, I began to share ways to discover prospects. I mentioned asking in class or in worship, “Who do you know that is ________?” The blank would be filled in with one or two of the above categories of prospects. Some of our best opportunities are with people we already know!
What are some other means for prospect discovery? Many means/methods are fairly obvious in the definitions of prospects shared in Part 1. To discover church members not enrolled in Sunday School, you will have to compare the two membership lists. The time spent here will be well invested. In fact, while you are searching, look for Sunday School members who are not church members. These may be persons needing to be invited to join, or even more importantly they may be persons needing to be invited to Jesus!
For family members of Sunday School members, you will need to know the Sunday School member and their family or else ask. For guests in all aspects of church life, you just need to register guests and keep good records. Names and contact information must be shared with and consistently pursued by Sunday School classes. We should seek from our members the names and contact information of friends, associates, neighbors, and acquaintances.
Beyond these, a community survey can be helpful in identifying prospects. Ask a few (perhaps five) key questions door-to-door, and if conversation lends itself to follow up ask for names and contact information. A neighborhood watch can help identify persons moving into a neighborhood in order to initiate conversation to discover if they might be a prospect. Reading, where available, the local newspaper and identifying persons to affirm/appreciate or who may need ministry and initiating contact can also be a source of suspect information–until you discover contact information and if they attend Sunday School elsewhere.
Having shared in Part 2 ways to discover prospects, in Part 3, I will share methods for setting up a good record system to keep up with prospects and record contacts. In Part 4, I will share ideas for inviting and enrolling prospects. Look through the prospect definitions in Part 1 and the discovery means listed above. What steps do you need to take to identify prospects for your Sunday School? How can you get more information on those categories of people? Pray. Start asking questions. Start seeking prospects. Starting invitin g. Be revolutionary.
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