To reach out with care reflects the compassion of our Savior. It recognizes His command to do so (Matthew 28:19-20) as well as His example. Reaching out as a class is a conviction and a choice. Steps to reach out are usually intentional and require leadership by the teacher or class outreach leader.
I want to share eight caring steps to lead your class to reach out. Success will require conversation about the steps with your class in order to help attenders understand why and to be willing to own and carry out the plan. Will it be best to talk with them about all eight steps in advance or one at a time as you work through them? You need to determine what will work best.
8 Steps to Reach out with Care
- Pray. Pray daily about who you will reach. Lead your class to pray about who they will reach. My alarm goes off daily at 10:02 to remind me to pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out workers. It is also a reminder to pray for my one.
- List. Naming your “one” mobilizes your prayer and care. Developing a prospect care list together will do so as well. The list should contain names and contact information of individuals totaling between your average class attendance and your class enrollment.
- Assign. You can assign names in multiple ways. Assign one name from the list to a class member for weekly contact and care. Or assign each name to a different class member each week for contact and care. Which works best? Both when done with genuine care.
- Care. Make caring contact by visit, phone, mail, or electronic. The most personal tend to be visit and phone. The caring contact should focus on the person, invitations, prayer, prayer requests, and praying together. Share reports of weekly contact and needs. Mobilize care when you discover a need.
- Invite. People are waiting for us to invite them. We can invite them to fellowships, meals, projects, class, worship, and Jesus. We can invite them to do life with us: ball games, plays, shopping, fishing, etc. Spending time together helps to show care and deepen friendships.
- Fellowship. Fellowships tend to be more social. Projects tend to involve more work. Meals involve food and can stand alone or be included as part of fellowships and projects. Stereotyping a little would say that fellowships are enjoyed more by women and projects more by men. Offer a fellowship, a project, and a meal every quarter.
- Greet. First impressions are made in the first 5-7 minutes. Enlist class greeters who arrive early to welcome, register, and introduce guests. See Job Descriptions: Class Greeter for more ideas.
- Ask to Add. Ask prospects and guests if you may add them to your class party, prayer, and care list. (Don’t say “no” for them.) Pastors tell me that 50-100% of lost people who join Sunday School accept Jesus as Savior and Lord within 12 months. Adding them to our list means we care for them well as members of our class.
Evaluate Your Class Reaching Efforts
Which of these eight is your class doing well already? Circle them. Which one not circled needs the most work? What is your plan for talking with your class about efforts to reach out with care? Will you set aside class time to talk about taking action on this important list? Or will you plan a planning fellowship which includes a meal?
I want to suggest that the eight are listed chronologically. There will be some natural overlap, but prayer is the natural first step. I would suggest that you work first on the earliest item on the list that you did not circle.
Another suggestion you as a leader is to set an example. Share about praying for your one. Share the name you are adding to the list. Assign your one to you for ongoing care. Report on your weekly caring contacts. Invite your one. Welcome your one if he/she attends class or class activities. And invite your one to the class party, prayer, and care list. Be an example. Make disciples. Be revolutionary!