Foundational Pillars of a Sunday School that Grows, Part 3

Wednesday 13th October, 2010

In Part 1, I began expanding on a post I wrote four years ago entitled Sunday School Growth Spiral. In that post, I shared elements from Andy Anderson's book, The Growth Spiral: spiral goals, enrollment, prospects, teaching units, workers, workers meeting attendance, training, space, contacts, outreachers, Sunday School attendance, worship attendance, offerings, and baptisms. In Part 1, I reviewed spiral goals. In Part 2, I looked at enrollment. Today in Part 3, I will look at prospects.

Andy referred to enrollment and prospects as quantity goals. Increasing enrollment and prospects impacts all the other goals. Prospects are people you would like to reach. They are friends, relatives, associates and neighbors. They are people for whom you have contact information (name, address, and phone) as well as personal information (age/grade, not enrolled in Sunday School, etc.). If you don't have this information, the people are suspects not prospects.

Because you would like to reach these people, you have added them to a prospect list for a specific class that would best fit the prospect. You see, the best people to reach youth are youth. The best people to reach senior adults are senior adults. Thus, there are advantages for Sunday School to be age-graded in order to reach out to and care for prospects.

Anyway, each class should have as its goal to have a prospect list with the number of names equal to or greater than the number of names on the class enrollment. If a class has fifteen enrolled, then the class should have fifteen or more on the prospect list. In that way, every person in the class can pray, contact, and reach out to someone every week. Prospects remain on the list until they join the class, join Sunday School in another church, die, or move out of the ministry reach of the church.

Each class should be organized to pray for, contact, care for, fellowship with, invite, and enroll prospects. This can be led by a class outreach leader or outreach team. This can be assigned to care group leaders who contact members and prospects and lead care group members to assist with these contacts. (See A Simple Two-Part System for Getting Sunday School Class Ministry Done, Part 2 for more ideas.)

The prospect list should be maintained by the class secretary, following the church's guidelines for dropping prospects. Outreach leaders or care group leaders should report weekly any adjustments necessary in the list. And the class should regularly seek names for addition to the prospect list from attenders' circles of influence and from worship and Sunday School guests.

The bottom line is this: when a class has fewer prospects, there are likely to be fewer persons who respond to contact, care, and inviting. As a result fewer prospects will join the class. In order to grow your Sunday School, every class should seek to grow their prospect list equal to or exceeding class enrollment. Then the class should faithfully work to pray for, contact, and care for the prospects. The result will be prospects who feel good about Christians, the church, and Christ Himself. And some of these will join the class when invited to do so.

Lead your class to build, maintain, and faithfully work a prospect list. Pray. Contact. Care. Befriend. Fellowship. Invite. Enroll. Watch what God does through you. Be revolutionary!

While Andy's book, The Growth Spiral, is out of print, you can still find it for sale online. The book is worth adding to your Sunday School library for all the practical ideas that run throughout the book! For more ideas about prospects, check out these blog posts:

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