How do you lead a class to take steps toward inviting prospects? Setting simple goals can help. First, it might help to define prospect:
A class prospect is someone not enrolled in Sunday School with whom we have a relationship or repeatable life encounter who would fit the class demographics. Ultimately to be considered a prospect, we need some ability for regularly extending care and invitation. That means we need to be able to visit in person, make a call, send mail, or contact electronically. That could be at home, at work, at school, the marketplace, or a neutral site.
I want to suggest two goals which can lead a class to reach out to prospects (thanks to Bob Mayfield for the idea):
- PRAY FOR THREE PROSPECTS. Pray is the right place to start. Ask God for help in naming the three. Write down their names. Place the list somewhere you will see it often. Pray for the three prospects daily. Pray that you and your class will reach out in care. Pray for God to open up moments for caring and for inviting. Pray that any lost prospects would recognize their needs for Jesus as Savior and Lord. When a prospect joins, add another name to the list!
- INVITE FIVE PROSPECTS. Invite the three for whom you have been praying. But God will give you life encounters with others which will give you opportunity to share about your class, your church, and Jesus. Extend class care. Invite them to your home. Invite them to a class fellowship or ministry/community project. Invite them to church and to Jesus. Offer to pick them. Seldom will one invitation be enough. Be open and not pushy. Be excited about your class and class activities. Share your testimony about what you value about Sunday School and your class. (See Grow Sunday School by Sharing Your Sunday School Testimony for ideas about Sunday School testimonies.) Above all, be caring and prayerful!
It always helps when the teacher sets the example. Share your prospect prayer list. Introduce people you have invited. Ask about members’ list, prayer, and invitations. Your example and questions can be powerful. Enlist a class outreach leader. Set deadlines to develop the list and to invite the first person. Then keep challenging, encouraging, and affirming. And watch what God will do through you as you are faithful! Pray. Invite. Make disciples. Be revolutionary!