In Part 1 of this series, I answered two questions: (1) Who is a prospect? and (2) Where can I find prospects. In Part 2, I will answer look at (1) what’s a prospect list (2) where to get a prospect list and (3) the number of people on the prospect list?
WHAT IS A PROSPECT LIST? A prospect list is a prayer, care, and contact list. It is a list of prospect names and contact information for individuals who fit the class people group (age, gender, affinity, etc.). The purpose of the list is to remind the class of people that are the target for their prayer, care, and contacts. This is a list of people who will be invited by class members to fellowships, projects, meals, class, and Jesus.
HOW DO I GET A PROSPECT LIST? Each class of teenagers and adults should put together their own list. It helps to ask members to think through categories of relationships such as friends, relatives, associates, and neighbors that fall into the people group for the class. When the class develops their own prospect list, there tends to be more concern for those on the list and more motivation to extend the prayer, care, and contacts for the class. This is called “ownership.”
Every guest for the class will be added to the list if they are in the ministry area of the church. These prospects are already interested! When a guest attends, he/she should be asked to complete a registration form so you can determine if the guest is a prospect and can make follow up contact. And every time a new person joins, ask them for prospect names.
The church office may have prospect information to share as well. They usually collect the registration cards from worship, Sunday School, Vacation Bible School, and special events. That information is often input into a database. Ask for names and contact information for prospects in the people group of your class. Then add them to your list. You may want to ask for names from the last 3-6 months.
The list you developed should also be shared with the church office. This gives the class back up in case the class list is somehow lost. It also helps the church staff to have an idea of potential growth in each age group and where new classes may be needed.
As for younger classes, children may know prospect children, but they often won’t know contact information. As a result, teachers will usually receive prospect information from three sources:
- adult class prospects who have preschoolers and children,
- worship and Sunday School guest registration, and
- special events like VBS.
Occasionally a special Sunday School emphasis may focus on an age group, and time be set aside during worship for attenders to share prospect information. This can supplement information from class members and guest registration. Another way to discover prospect information is doing a brief community survey to discover those who are interested.
HOW MANY PEOPLE SHOULD BE ON OUR LIST? From my experience, I actually want you to consider developing two prospect list—one is actually a small subset of the other. From your class prospect list, develop a “hot prospect” list. This is a list of the people who are likely to join the class with just a bit more encouragement. This list should have 2-5 names on it.
As for the class prospect list, work hard to develop a list that equals or exceeds the number of your people enrolled in your class (ministry list). Members will then understand that everyone must help in order to tackle a job that large. Growth will also be more likely when a class prays, cares, and contacts people from a prospect list this size. If the list is kept updated, some on the list will likely be ready to join.
In Part 3, we will look at who’s in charge of the prospect list, what to do with the list, and removing people from the list. Jesus said to go and make disciples (Matthew 28:19-20). Pray. Put together a prospect list. Pursue lost and unconnected people. Care. Connect. Love them for Jesus. Love them to Jesus.