Because your class cares about friends, relatives, associates, and neighbors (FRANs) who are not enrolled in the class, they do more than wish good things about them. Your attenders pray for and contact guests and prospects because they know the impact of Sunday School. They do so to develop relationships as well as to invite guests to meals, fellowships, and class sessions. Without evidence of care, these FRANs may never know of care or of the impact of Sunday School. Contacts are a natural and necessary evangelistic step for a class that cares.
Over the last couple of months, we have said that Sunday School can be more inviting and evangelistic through prayer (Part 1), relationships (Part 2), fellowships (Part 3), greeting (Part 4), teaching (Part 5), application (Part 6), and follow up (Part 7). In addition to these seventy ways, in Part 8 we will look at ten ways Sunday School can also be evangelistic through contacts:
- CALLS. These allow two-way communication even though facial expressions and gestures may be missing to add greater understanding to the communication. They can be quick or take time according to the needs of both parties. Ideally, a caller will take whatever time the individual being called needs to listen and answer questions, share prayer requests, and pray together. A Sunday School or evangelistic testimony can even be shared by phone.
- MAIL. Contact by mail, especially handwritten, is often appreciated today. We all get bills and junk mail, but few of us get much personal mail. Even a postcard can communicate care, appreciation, invitation, and even scripture.
- TEXTS. These are easy, as-you-go contacts. They can be made while standing in line, in between meetings, and more. Contact information (phone number) is already in the phone. So when you think of the individual, it is a fast way to make contact with him/her. When they have questions, needs, or life stresses, they can likewise contact you. Invitations can be sent. Encouragement can be offered in just a few characters and spaces.
- EMAILS. These are frequently longer than texts, but with the integration of email access and phones (Blackberry, iPhone, and more), it can be easy to send out mass invitations. It can be easy to remind about the meal at your house, the class fellowship, or what will be studied on Sunday. Prayer requests are easily shared as well. Without the character limits, emails can go into greater detail about salvation when the door has been opened.
- HOME VISITS. Visits are the most personal form of contact. Since 93% of communication is nonverbal, a visit often understands more of the communication. A visit also requires the most time of the contact methods, and is often appreciated because of the significance of the investment. A hom e visit, even at the front door, can be a very effective way to express your care, answer questions, pray together, and sense an opportunity to share about the love of Christ and the class. A home visit can also help the person making the visit learn some things from the setting about the guest or prospect.
- WORK VISITS. These are not always possible or appropriate with every person. It may not be possible to visit a school teacher, ICU nurse, or others in their work setting. On the other hand, some might welcome and prefer contact there. Be wise and sensitive in choosing. And be aware of others around the person you are visiting.
- COFFEE. People are busy, but many enjoy pausing for coffee or soda. Be intentional to plan these before or after work and along the paths of guests and prospects. Look for opportunities for them to say “yes.” Buy the coffee/soda. Ask questions. Listen. Get to know each other. Pray together. Answer questions and concerns. Be sensitive to the Holy Spirit.
- HOME MEALS. You and the guest or prospect is going to eat somewhere. Invite them to your home. Many will relax and share more casually over a meal than in any other setting. Two class members (or couples) could host the meal–that can make conversation even more lively. If attenders are not comfortable having people in their home, they should consider coffee (above) or restaurant meals (below).
- RESTAURANT MEALS. Some do not have entertaining space. Others do not feel their home is clean or straight enough for guests. When that’s the case, just ask guests and prospects to join you for a meal at your (or their) favorite restaurant. Offer to pay or suggest going dutch. Again, ask questions and listening is the main agenda. Get to know each other. Talk about the class, church, and Jesus as conversation allows. Not having to fix the meal or clean the dishes is a positive for many. Enjoy the meal along with relaxed dialogue.
- WEB. Today there are many ways to have conversation, send invitations, develop relationships, and/or to share Jesus. This can be done using Skype, Facebook, AIM, and much more. Ask people if they are on Facebook, and add them as a friend. Get a group chat going dealing with specific questions. Invite guests and prospects to join you. Use the web for good. Be conscious of your witness at all times in all media.
What would you add to these ideas for making our lesson application even more evangelistic? If attenders obey God in His Word, those around them will be attracted to Jesus. Choose one or two and of the ideas above to implement in your class this week! In Part 9, we will turn to ways testimonies of attenders can be more evangelistic.