If you want to create a great first impression, there are three questions you need to ask: Are you expecting guests? Have you invited them? Are you ready for them to come?
EXPECTANCY. These are three critical questions. Sadly I have spoken to teachers who told me that they did not want new people to come to their classes. Thankfully that is not true of the majority of teachers. At the same time, many classes lack expectancy. They really don’t think anyone new will come.
Expectancy begins with prayer and hope. Classes pray believing that God wants new people to come. There is an expectation every Sunday that someone new will walk in the door and join the Bible study experience. As a result, that expectation leads to actions of invitation and preparation.
INVITATION. Because the teacher and class expect guests to attend, they invite friends, relatives, associates, and neighbors. These classes put together a prospect care list from which they make contacts with unenrolled people who would fit their class people group.
Relationships are developed with these prospects by extending care. Expectancy leads to contacts made by visit, phone, mail, and electronic means. Prospects are invited to class fellowships, projects, meals, Sunday School, and Jesus. When needs are discovered, the individual or the class responds in care to address needs.
PREPAREDNESS. Because the class expects guests and has invited prospects, they prepare for them to come. Greeters arrive early. Name tags are used. Registration forms are available. Prime seating is waiting. The teacher has prepared a great Bible study encounter. The class has worked hard to ensure the room and equipment will create a good impression.
During class, the greeter introduces the guest without embarrassing him/her. The teacher works hard to explain the lesson in a way that everyone can understand even if they are lost–since we may not know the spiritual condition of the guest yet. The teacher works to involve everyone without asking the guest to do any public speaking (read or answering questions). At the end of class, the greeter encourages the class to thank the guest for being part of the Bible study session.
Go back to the three questions at the start of this post. On which of the questions do you need to work? Start now. Make disciples. Be revolutionary!