The number of pastors, Sunday School directors, teachers, and members who have told me they have no prospects is very high. They tend to tell me that everyone they know goes to church. When I start to question that statement, they quickly realize that there are many in their circles of influence whose church and Sunday School status they don’t know. A person is a prospect who is unenrolled in any Sunday School for whom we have contact information.
This post is the second in a series expanding on twenty methods in response to How Can I Grow My Sunday School Class Numerically?. The second method listed there was this one:
Challenge attenders to invest in relationships/friendships with unenrolled people.
Classes cannot grow numerically when the back door is open (people are leaving) and no one new is being added.
There are so many ways to discover whether a person is enrolled in Sunday School. But they all hinge around spending time with people. Care about them. Listen to them. Ask them questions out of interest. Share about yourself, but major on listening. Be available when they are dealing with stress and crisis. Invest in the relationship long term. Invite them to class, but don’t rush or push it. Lead attenders to seek out intentional opportunities to invest in relationships/friendships with unenrolled people.
Let me share a few of those ways to get to know prospects and discover whether he/she is enrolled:
- PARTIES. Invite guests to your class fellowship activities. Pick them up, and take them home. Spend time getting to know and have fun with guests. Introduce them to other attenders. Make sure someone invites the group to class before people leave.
- PROJECTS. Invite guests to join you for class ministry and service projects. Many today want to make a difference–even if they are not Christians or connected to a church. It can be a great opportunity to work together, get to know one another, and provide a natural opportunity to connect relationally.
- MEALS. Challenge class members to invite unenrolled people for meals, at home or restaurants. They are going to eat anyway. It costs very little time. The money spent on the meal can be a Kingdom investment. Get acquainted. Listen. Care.
- PRAYER. Pray daily for opportunities to care for people and pray with them. In conversation with people, listen for stresses and crises. Ask for permission to pray with them. Then commit to pray for them. And check on them.
- INVITATIONS. Invite prospects to parties, projects, meals, and class. Don’t forget to invite them to study the Bible with your friends (Sunday School). Some are interested in spiritual things. Share the upcoming unit of study.
- TESTIMONIES. Lead attenders to write and practice their brief Sunday School testimonies. Sunday School testimonies are reasons why Sunday School is meaningful to me, how Sunday School has helped me. Then challenge them to pray for opportunities to share their testimonies. These are shared most naturally in casual conversation.
- QUESTIONS. Sometimes the only way you will discover whether a person is enrolled in Sunday School or a Bible study group is to ask him/her. Don’t be afraid to do so. Don’t do it in a nosey way. Do so because you care. Do so as an opening to share your testimony or to invite them to your upcoming study or even to your party or project.
Challenge attenders to invest in relationships/friendships with unenrolled people. What methods would you add to the above methods? Which one(s) would work best in your class and Sunday School? Where do you need to start? If we are going to “make disciples of all nations,” this is an important step. Pray. Follow God’s lead. Invest. Care. Invite. Be revolutionary!