In my years of observing classes, I have seen many classes fail to close the deal. What do I mean? Consider the following scenarios:
- Bill tells you all about the new car you are ready to buy. He takes you for a test drive. He offers you a sweet deal. Then he disappears.
- Paul preaches God’s Word. The Holy Spirit stirs the hearts of the people. Paul ends the sermon and prays without extending an invitation.
- Mary’s class is well organized. A greeter warmly welcomes and registers Felicia, a guest. The greeter introduces Felicia and everyone greets her warmly. The prayer time is warm and the lesson is participative and challenging. No one in the class invites Felicia back or asks her to join the class.
While the first two scenarios are not likely to occur, the third happens every Sunday. Guests take a risk and attend Sunday School. They often come because someone invited them. They come searching for connections and spiritual encouragement. They come because they are interested. And we fail to close “the deal.” We fail to ask them to join.
In a recent Sunday School survey, I asked for responses to the following statement (along with the response choices):
When a guest attends my Sunday School, they are invited to join… (Never, Only when a guest expresses interest, On the first or second visit, After many visits)
Not surprisingly, growing Sunday Schools tend to invite guests to join more frequently than declining Sunday School. But every class should express interest in the guest. Every class should give the guest attention without embarrassing the guest. And every class should follow up a guest’s attendance in class by calling or visiting to express appreciation and answer any questions the guest may have. But I also believe every class should invite a guest to join. If they are preschool or children, we should ask permission of the parent first.
Now. some guests may not know what we mean when we ask them to join, so an explanation can help. Some guests may be thinking you are asking them to join the church when they are asked to join the class. So rather than using the word, “join,” why not ask them if you can add them to the class list? Or why not ask them if you can add them to the class ministry, fellowship, and prayer list? Or ask them if you can add them to the class attendance and care list.
But let’s care for our guests. Let’s care enough to invite them to join. Let’s care enough to pray for and follow up with every guest. Close the deal. Give the invitation. Make disciples. Be revolutionary!