Interview with Preachers in Training
Rob has recorded an interview with The Light Network talking about the role of social media and an overview of personal evangelism.
It is always good to hear from other Christians about soul winning! My name is Rob Whitacre, director of the House to House School of Evangelism. Our evangelism seminar is an effort to bring a training school right to your local congregation. Fishers of Men and Back to the Bible are tools. Tools are only as effective as the training so this seminar is an evangelism boot camp! It is designed to do five things.
- Motivate Christians to get busy by showing the success of Personal Bible Studies
- Focus on the Bible as the means through which conversion occurs
- Demonstrate from Biblical principles on how to get into a Bible study
- Introduce Back to the Bible
- How to deal with difficult situations.
The seminar ends with a special class taught by my wife to ladies on how to use their talents in soul winning. At the same time I teach a class to men on how to set up a successful PE work in the local congregation. I hope answers your question. If you want to know more, I can send additional information for the congregation to consider.
I recently attended your PE seminar. I learned some valuable points that will be of great benefit me in future studies. I bought your Personal Evangelism Workbook, and as I have been looking thru it I saw your "ARE THEY THE SAME" chart. On it you make reference to several page numbers. I was wondering from what book, and edition of the book, you have reference as you identify the pages. The workbook has valuable information in it, in a very good format. It is obvious that you have devoted some time in putting together this work. I am certain that it will be very beneficial to many going forward.
One other question. As I was reviewing my notes of your seminar, you must have been discussing "door knocking" and I wrote down House to House, and five questions that you ask regarding how the congregation/you may be of help. I noted "be ready to follow up on any requests", but I didn't write the 5 questions down. I'm not sure if you gave them or not, but if you did I failed to write them down. Would you be so kind as to send me those 5 questions also.
I appreciate your efforts in your local area, and for your willingness to help each of us become better soul winners. Keep up the good work, brother!
It is good to hear from you. I am so glad you are finding this information helpful in your soul saving efforts.
The book I used for the chart is titled, Church Manual by J.M. Pendleton. It is an old edition, 1946.
Regarding door knocking, there are three ways we have done it.
First, we use House to House/Heart to Heart as our introduction. After a couple years of mailing it, we hand deliver one issue and ask the person if this publication is familiar and what they think of it.
Our second method is to provide the person with service options. We have a list of services we can provide from house cleaning, mowing the yard, raking leaves, food, prayer, etc...
Third, we provide the person at the door with a list of materials that we can give them for free. These materials include books, DVDs and tracts dealing with a variety of issues.
If they take any of the materials, we let them know about our return visit to see how they liked it. Each of these has produced fruit.
After receiving name list of those who have newly mowed into your area, pick those who are closest to your building. Remember, HTH is going to send them two things. First, a special edition of House to House that makes them aware of your congregation and the work you are doing. Second, a special invitational postcard to visit with service times and directions.
I would suggest making a welcome basket that would include helpful information for newcomers, cleaning items, food, and a track/church bulletin. People normally don't know who to call for local services, contractors, and emergencies when they move into an area. If you have any members who are plumbers, electricians, HVAC, or handymen, it is a great time to make a connection. Include their cards. The more exposure to the church the better. Take an address and make a personal visit!
This is example of what you might say at the door: "Hi, my name is Rob Whitacre, and we would like to welcome you to the community. We noticed that you just moved in and have a free basket of supplies that might help. I am from the ________ church of Christ and we would like to invite you to visit. There is some information about us inside. Is there anything the church can do to help you like move furniture, help with the yard, or provide some general information?"
You are going to run across a few who are not new movers as they just changed addresses but even than, this is an opportunity to make personal contact and demonstrate the love of the church.
Please keep us informed on how this progresses. We don't have the market of ideas cornered so any of your suggestions are appreciated. We love to share good news. May souls be saved and God be glorified. God Bless, Rob Whitacre
Hi Rob and Nicole! I have a VBS or any child-focused event question. You mentioned that you changed the way you approached these events so they would be more evangelically minded. You have any practical ideas? It seems like our VBS serves the kids or grandkids of members mostly. We invite community and friends, but usually maybe only one-two lost families might come? We’ve already discussed having a changed welcoming tactic and having a team of greeters/connectors the second the walk in the door, but what other changes/ideas should we consider? Thanks!
Great question and one we have never answered with detail. VBS can be evangelistic but it takes a major overhaul. First, you need to make sure the material is not generically themed lessons. The lessons have to be beefed up to teach about God's Redemption. This takes a lot of work. Subjects like obedience, true faith, church, salvation, repentance, baptism, and judgement should be included. Using Old Testament accounts can illustrate these themes. Second, there should be an all-out effort to bring in the community. VBS can generate contacts as no other event during the year. HTH can advertise it. Door knocking can reach your local community. Large banners should be posted, but most importantly the members must actively invite neighbors and family to attend. Third, you need to make sure you have an adult class that can reach non-Christians. Theme classes on the home, parenting, moral issues are attractive to parents of all religious back grounds. The adult class does not have to mirror the children’s classes. Think outside the box! Fourth, you should have a strategy in place to ensure all non-Christians families are greeted. This is a great time to use visitor bags to get contact information. Families should be selected to look for visitors, sit with them, and extend meal invitations. These are just a few ideas. It is a lot of work to change culture.
I hope this email finds you well. I met you at PTP and have been listening to your sermons, especially those on Personal Evangelism online. Thank you for being so passionate about the Lord's Marching orders.
My family and I have recently moved to a new work and the community is ripe for evangelism.
Would you be willing to share some ideas with me of ways to reach the community? We have used different methods in other works with success, but I am wanting to use every way we can put together and make certain I have other's ideas to draw from.
I really appreciate your time.
It is always great to hear from Christian's interested in Personal Evangelism. One of the most important steps in soul winning is creating contacts. Before a farmer can plant the seed, or even till the soil, he must find the soil. Contacts are all around us (John 4:35). You can divide them into three categories; hot, warm, cold.
- Hot contacts are non-Christians who sit in the pews. Cultivate this soil by getting them in your home and than plant the seed!
- Warm contacts are those in your community that Christians know. They are just one away from the congregation. These individuals can be reached through acts of love and kindness. Mass card sending is a great avenue to reach them when they are sick or in need. This will compel them to visit!
- Cold contacts are people who live in your community that no one knows. These contacts are normally only reached by going door to door. Using a tool like House to House/Heart to Heart greatly increases your opportunity with these contacts, and I would highly recommend you enroll in their New Movers program. This is a great way to reach new cold contacts in the community.
Please let me know if there is anything further I can do to help your soul saving efforts. God Bless, Rob
Dear Rob; I am teaching a young lady who has been baptized in a denomination but wants to "transfer" her membership to the Lord's church. How can I help her see the necessity of being baptized into the church of Christ? I will anxiously await your answer! thank you.
Here are a few things you can do to help your friend understand that she cannot "transfer" into the Lord's Church.
You can't be taught the wrong thing and obey the right thing. Obedience is not an accident and therefore no one can accidentally be baptized! If someone is not taught the truth about baptism, they cannot be baptized correctly and therefore they just got wet. This means they needed to know they were lost prior to baptism, that their baptisms was to be saved, in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, for the remission of sins, and into the One and only True church.
I would use my charts in the PE workbook on Acts 18-19 to demonstrate that if you don't know the truth when baptized, than it did not apply.
There is nothing wrong with asking a friend or family member to study the Bible. "Mary, I have been trying to learn how to teach others about Jesus. I have taken a class and need to practice. Do you mind allowing me to present this to you? I would like feedback!
Let the Bible study do the work. Your intent is to study the Bible and to allow the study to do the work. The goal is transparent. We don't judge the faith of others but allow God's Word to reprove, rebuke, and exhort (2 Timothy 4:2). A servant of the Lord must be patient, gentle, kind, in meekness instructing those who oppose themselves and allowing God to bring them to repentance (1 Timothy 2:23-26).
I hope this helps and please keep me updated on your studies.
This is a great question and one that I frequently receive. There are three options you might consider.
First, contact a local Christian to try and set up a personal Bible study. I have been that Christian in the past and have baptized several people.
Second, using a video conference is a possibility. This would allow you to use you personal relationship to maintain confidence and trust.
Third, I have a DVD of an actual Bible study. It displays the question and verse on the screen. You can send him the DVD and a set of BTTB and I can study with him. Either of those three options might work.
It is not as effective as a in-home personal Bible study, but it is better than a correspondence course.
We are excited about our evangelism training and are ready to put it to work. However, what we have encountered is that people will not commit to a bible study or they just simply don’t show up. We will not be discouraged and we continue to reach out and try to teach the lost. I am positive the Lord will open doors for us and we will be able to put our knowledge to use. We thank you for following up with us and are looking forward to sharing some conversions with you.
I have a few suggestions to help cultivate people into prospects and prospects into Bible Studies.
First, in most cases you should not ask for a Bible Study. The study will come as part of a regular progression of the relationship developed between you (the teacher) the entire congregation, and the prospect. They should want to know more about the church and Jesus by what they have observed.
Second, be patient and don’t pick the fruit before it is ready. Some people take years to ripen while others seem to be ripe upon meeting them. It took me ten years to study with Bruce Bartley. He was the husband of a faithful sister. We quickly became friends but it took time before he ripened to the Bible study point. There are also times when someone visits and are ripe and ready at that very moment. In short, Never, Never give up!
Third, Christian kindness is a great facilitator. Taking visitors out to eat, inviting them to your home, offering benevolent assistance as needed, and showering them with cards will help you “earn the right” to have a Bible Study. Be creative and always look for opportunities to do good.
Fourth, increase your funnel size. Use tools like House to House/Heart to Heart, the New Movers Program, Free offers, Community Outreach, and other tools to cultivate the fields. Don’t put all your Eggs in one basket!
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In the past, the congregation which I attend has done a 2 study approach.
First study: (Authority of the Word of God).
Second study: (Salvation and Counting the Course).
I was given a little resistance from changing from a 2 step approach to a 3 step approach with "Back to the Bible. So this question came up from, leadership at my congregation.
Would it make sense to teach lesson 3 (Salvation) before lesson 2 ("The Church)?
For two reasons:
1) That is what people are used to doing.
2) The teacher can get to the gospel faster and that is what Christ called us to preach.
I would like to get your thoughts or experience using the "Back to the Bible" in this alternative way?
Our model for teaching comes from Acts 8:4-5,12. Phillip was an inspired evangelist. Therefore, he knew exactly what to teach non-Christians. He teaching involved three things.
- Phillip taught the Samaritans about the name of Jesus Christ or the authority of God. This is what lesson 1 accomplishes. This foundation is essential for a proper understanding of the Bible.
- He taught them about the Kingdom of God or the church. This is what lesson 2 accomplishes. It is hard to be baptized into the one body if people don't know anything about it (I Corinthians 12:13). Teaching about the Kingdom also differentiates the true church from religious error. They need to know to what church they are being added when they are baptized.
- Phillip concluded with baptism or sin and salvation. This is how lesson 3 ends.
In other words, Back to the Bible is modeled after an inspired pattern. I am not sure we can or should try to improve it.
The main purpose in door knocking is to make contact. There is a salesman's motto that says, "the best tact is contact.”
If you apply this motto, it takes the pressure off from the start. Don’t expect a Bible study at the door. This is extremely rare but certainly welcome. You want to be prepared to make the entire sale but you should not expect it with a simple knock. Before you normally have a Bible study, you must first create a contact. Door knocking is a way to find cold contacts. These are individuals you don't know, they don't know you, and you have no bridge to reach them. Once someone answers the door your job is to turn the cold contact into a prospective study. This is accomplished through tilling the soils of the heart (this strategy is address in other questions). Door knocking produces a very low yield in comparison to the amount of work, but it is necessary to reach the unchurched.
Can you share with me what you typically include in a 'welcome to town' package? We have signed up for HTH information that sends us people who have moved to town, but not sure just what to include in the initial contact meeting. I appreciate your help!
New Movers is a great way to practice kindness and endear the local congregation to the people (Acts 2:47). It is better to approach each home with a male/female team. I would suggest the following items that can be found at any dollar stores. We place ten $1 items in each basket.
- Any house house cleaners like paper towels, small bottles of soaps, scents, etc...
- Sponges, towels, brushes, or pads
- Pens, pencils, pads of paper
- An information packet about the local congregation
- Emergency contact information for the local area
- Names of local contractors, plumbers, electricians (members of the church if possible)
If you decide to use snacks and food items, keep them separated from the cleaners.
Getting one in my area to sit for three bible studies is very difficult. The “Does it Matter “ study might be best in this area but it looks long. Is it a bad idea to do study three of the Back to the Bible only ?
I have tried to get this one person to sit for a study for two months . He does have a Muscle and a Shovel, I have tried to get him to at least read the first four chapters and take notes and write any questions he might have to get started. A man at church gave this person the book one Sunday morning and that night he had resisting questions about salvation. I said “let’s do a study right now “ his reply “I can’t tonight, maybe Wednesday “.
It never happened, his attendance stopped, he has the typical excuses and promises of “this week “ but nothing. Any suggestions?
No matter how much we want others to study, we can’t make them. Some won’t study and some will never be honest. Even Jesus could not reach most people.
I do not recommend skipping the first two lessons. When you find good soil, they will study.
Remember the key is to earn the right to ask for a study by showing someone that you care. Build a relationship by going the extra mile. Once someone knows you care, they will care about what you know.
The study is the last step.
Hi Rob, we have never met...Seen you on GBN and House to House. I want to be open and honest with you...I have reservations when I hear you speak about your teaching program. I wonder to myself, how in today's world can he have so much success? People don't use their brains today. Truth on any matter doesn't prevail. We all embellish and exaggerate. I'm guilty. Wonder if you are exaggerating, embellishing about your work and experience with the courses and materials you offer. Here's my question: Why should I use your material? In all this, I do commend you for your zeal, passion, enthusiasm. It helps me just to listen to you at times.
It sounds like you are a soul winner who is a bit discouraged. This is completely understandable considering your experience. I am certainly not suggesting that every Bible study will result in a conversion but a very high percentage of our studies do. In 9 out of 10 studies, when a prospect completes Back to the Bible they are baptized.
I don't expect everyone to have this result immediately but most of those who complete our course have well over 50% and some up to 90%. Please know that not everyone finishes the study and these are not factored into our numbers. I am also sure that where you live may also have a bearing on how effective BTTB can be. BTTB is designed for believers who are in religious error and not atheists/agnostics.
Congregations where we have trained and who enact the principles are seeing amazing results. I firmly believe we should practice what we preach so you can also contact Jacksonville where I am a member and they will tell you about how it works right here! Four baptisms in past month, and Lord willing, more on the way!
My wife will be with me while doing the study Monday. There is another guy at church my age that didn’t grow up in the church but has been a faithful member for 10+ yrs.
Do you think it would it be a hinderance in anyway for him to go through this study with us at the same time as my non Christian friend? He’s been looking for ways to get involved and I thought this might help him gain confidence if he went though it as well but if you fell that’s not a good idea I’d like to know! Thank you!
I am glad you want train others how to teach. Truly needed!
If your wife started out as your silent partner, and the prospect is comfortable with her, I would not add another silent partner. If you have been doing it solo, I would continue to be solo. If this is a first study, then use him.
I would not recommend two silent partners. You don't want to give the impression of "ganging up" on the prospect. They don't need anything beside their spiritual condition in which to worry.
My advice is from the outside looking in and based upon past experience. I will be praying the study goes well. God Bless, Rob
Rob in your study with Jackie and Shiela Birdwell, book two page 9. What was the initial reaction to the question "would it be a sin to name the church, the Baptist Church?"
This looks like the first major fence to cross in the first two books. Reaction, silence, anger, defensive or hmmm...
I know you are a busy man and I appreciate your feedback on these questions until I experience the feedback. Kind of like studying game film. Thank you again, Steve.
They accepted the answer because it follows a logical progression from the previous questions.
Back to the Bible is designed to build and help the prospect draw common sense conclusions from simple comparisons. It is another way of saying we are Christians and Christians only.
It is a positive point that emphasizes our effort to be unified and non-denominational.
I'd like to get your recommendations on verses to commit to memory for two different sets of people. The first group is new Christians. I'm teaching a new converts class at church and would like to hear your recommendations for some good scriptures for them to commit to memory. I have my own thoughts but I'd enjoying hearing yours.
Second group is for evangelists. If you were starting over in your pursuit of being an evangelist, what scriptures would you commit to memory? If you don't mind, breaking the list down in 2 or 3 parts. The first list would be the bare minimum to be able to lead someone to Christ using scripture. The second list would be a more expanded list of supporting scriptures that you find yourself relying upon during a conversion conversation. And finally, possibly a third list of scriptures that are good to have in your spiritual arsenal.
It is good to hear from you.
Regarding new converts and evangelists, I would begin with the same scriptures. The fundamentals don't change regardless of age, location, or purpose. Back to the Bible books 1-3 contain most of these verses. I would memorize the verses listed in these booklets. Book 1: Authority. Book 2: Church. Book 3: Sin and Salvation. These are the building blocks of faith. The first verse listed is John 8:32. Everything builds from this foundational truth. Anything you learn will go right back to it. Phillip was an inspired Evangelist. His model for evangelism was the same as Back to the Bible (Acts 8:12). I hope this helps.
I was speaking with the elders concerning our youth outreach. VBS is no doubt a tradition in most of the congregations I've attended. I am a fan of Family VBS, where we have classes for all ages (for teens and adults also). But others have thought of VBS as something for the pre-K to 6th Grade. And to be straight some seem disenchanted with the thought of VBS, (I suppose for the time and effort it takes to prepare and host). But the card program is off and running and "all praise to the LORD," we've had 5 baptisms since our H2H Evangelism seminar.
Our elders instructed me to reach out to you for your thoughts, opinions and suggestions concerning:
1) Do you have any stats or know of the overall trend of effectiveness of having VBS?
2) Is there a better way to improve or be more effective. (I believe putting the visitors on the prospect list for cards would make all the difference).
Do you have any suggestions on the best ways to outreach the youth in our community. (Many of our youth are homeschooled. But for those in public school or other activities, is there a way to encourage visits?)
Any suggestions or comments will be much appreciated.
These are great questions and evidence of your overall attempt at a congregational reset to focus all works on evangelism. All local works need to have an evangelistic emphasis, including VBS. In fact, we baptized Nick and Darby Bethea this past year during our VBS. In order to make VBS a soul saving work, you need to make it congregational in nature. VBS helps to establish the local congregation in the community. Perhaps no other annual work opens a wider door to sinners than VBS. In short, VBS is a contact magnet. In the past, my biggest mistake was to allow these contacts to enter the building and leave without getting their information. If the congregation is trained and prepared, VBS provides opportunities to gather these names, prospect them, and turn some into Bible studies. Remember, all evangelism efforts hinge on creating contacts. Contacts must be prospected to produce Bible studies. Activities like graduation banquets, Trunk or Treat, VBS, and others create contacts in a way that worship and Bible classes can't. I would suggest the following:
1. Advertise your VBS on the back page of HTH and in the local paper.
2. Knock a few doors and invite neighbor children
3. Make sure you have classes for all ages (including adults)
4. Perhaps focus your adult class on a topic that would interest adults. Parenting, Building Better Homes, Enhancing Your Marriage, etc...
5. Task your members with the job of identifying visitors, collecting their contact information, and prospecting them through Compassion cards. Dinner invitations work well: "Always eat."
I hope this will help your elders as they seek to focus on soul winning.
I’m out on the west coast.
The congregation here is uncomfortable with the Bobby Bates books. I’m unsure as to the reason behind reason, but I’m continuing to ask about it.
How do you persuaded people to stop having “conversations” about Jesus and get into the Book?
Great to hear from you. I am glad you continue to focus on personal evangelism. Perhaps if I came out there to do a seminar it would wake them up but that would take a lot of time and expense. Many congregations have watched my seminar via DVD during Bible class. In fact, I just received a message last night from Samuel, who took the course through DVD and baptized his friend using BTTB. It is not as effective as personally being there, but it works. Perhaps the greatest way to convince them is by your example. If they see you doing it, and see results, they will be persuaded. It is hard to argue with success.
I want your advice on how to begin a conversation with a coworker to help lead towards a study.
During my PE classes, we usually play music for the kids during class. I don't feel it's right to listen to what I call "rock Jesus" music as a NT Christian, and I believe the Bible will back me up on this (2 Jn 9-11). But a coworker of mine played some songs that are related to the genre I just referred to.
What kind of questions do you think are good to ask in this situation? I've been down the road where instrumental music is the first thing that is discussed, and it usually causes people to put their guard up rather than having a constructive Bible study or conversation. I'm just needing some help coming up with a way to approach that conversation where instrumental music isn't the first thing that's mentioned.
If you could help advise me in this situation, I would greatly appreciate it.
This is a great question! The Matthew 28:19 model involves three things: 1) Teach, 2) Baptize, 3) Teach. Sandwiched in between teaching is baptism. At times we over teach (or teach some things too soon) and turn potential souls away from the Truth. Souls do not always mature as fast as the body. In other words, you may be talking to a mature man who has a childlike spirit. This means issues that require more faith need to be avoided until such time where they are ready (John 16:12). Strong meat belongs to them that are full grown (Hebrews 5:12-14). In order to understand instrumental music they must understand Bible authority, the difference between the Old and New Testament, and the principle of New Testament worship. This takes at least two Bible studies. In using Back to the Bible, instrumental music is not covered until half-way through lesson 2. Beginning a discussion over instrumental music is a non-starter. Furthermore, the topic of "rock Jesus" music is even more difficult to understand, even for mature Christians. Therefore, I would avoid this topic completely until some time after conversion, where they can mature to a point and digest the meat of the Word.
My approach to family, friends, and co-workers is normally through the use of Christian hospitality.
- Step 1) Build a relationship that does not force Christianity upon them. Don't avoid expressing your faith, but don't exclusively talk about it. Also realize that any discussions of a Christian nature should be filtered so that a child can understand and digest. Try to avoid disagreements.
- Step 2) Do not have a Bible "discussion" or study at work. Instead, invite them over to your home. This will provide a relaxing environment where shields can drop and the prospect becomes comfortable. Enjoy a meal together. Make the discussion about them, their family, work, hobbies, and life.
- Step 3) Let them know that you have something that you would like to show them. Go to a table and pass out Back to the Bible. Begin the study. Do not call it a Bible study or ask them if they want to do it. Just do it. Sometimes, I will tell the prospect I have something that I like to do with family and friends to help us become closer to God. I know this might seem awkward, but it works just about every single time. The key to conversion is Bible study.
- Step 4) Defer, don't debate. Never answer questions that are not related to the study. Write them down and let them know you will answer them at the end. Questions can distract and even derail a study.
I hope this will help. If you have not already watched or attended my Personal Evangelism Seminar, please let me know. It answers your question in much more detail. Let me know how things go or if you have any further questions. Praying that you will help lead many souls to Christ.
Brother Rob, I was wondering if perhaps I could get some advice.
We stayed up till midnight talking to a young couple about the Bible last night. They were very interested and asked a bunch of questions. It seems from the way they acted that they invited us over with the express purpose of asking us about these things. I was very glad to talk to them about it, but it was not an organized Bible study. My wife and I plan to invite them over to our house next weekend and get them into a full on Bible study.
I was wondering if you would recommend Back to the Bible, or the other one study method? I have both available. If they accept our invitation, this will be my first true Bible study (although I have talked about the Bible with people before).
Here's some more background: They are members of a church of God that now calls itself non-denominational. They agreed with a lot of what I told them from the Bible last night, even agreeing with Matthew 19:9. (They ran the gamut asking us questions, as well as talking about politics, relationships, etc. All kinds of stuff). They did hang up on instrumental music a little bit, but they want us to send them more information about instrumental music, and they said they are not opposed to learning more about it.
They are currently disillusioned with their church because there have been some things go on there with money that they are upset about. Their parents left that church and are currently church shopping, and they (the couple I'm talking about) are contemplating whether or not they want to leave.
How would recommend going about getting this study going?
Thank you for reaching out to us about this opportunity!
First, we thank God for those who love souls.
Second, this sounds like ripe fruit!
We would definitely recommend using Back to the Bible (all three lessons). I know it is tempting to rush into baptism. Solid conversions require solid foundations.
Here are a few tips.
- Have a meal first and relax.
- Avoid any teaching outside of BTTB
- Let the Bible do the teaching as you follow the order of BTTB.
- If they have a question outside of the booklet, ask if you can write it down to address later.
- Make sure you do the religious survey before starting lesson one.
We will be praying about it.
Rob what does the Jacksonville coc congregation do when a visitor first hits the door ? Greeted -visitors packet - follow up ? Do you have a set protocol for all that you or someone could share with me. I am looking for new fresh ideas, trying to revive our methods.
Yes, we do have a protocol for how we respond to visitors. Every congregation should have something in place to turn these contacts into Bible study prospects. It is important to understand your local congregation before putting a plan together. The plan will not look the same in every place. Here are a few ideas.
First, there should be designated door greeters who are looking for visitors. Their job is to make a short introduction and ensure the visitors know where to worship or attend class. If they have children, this is especially important. Basic information like the location of bathrooms can be very helpful. Place people in this role who make a good first impression!
Second, there should be families tasked with the job of meeting visiting families. You can ask selective families who sit in different locations around the auditorium. You want to know if they are visiting from the local community, passing through, visiting family, or newly moved into the area. If they are a potential prospect, have a visitor bag ready to give them. Among other things it should have information about the local congregation and an information card that they can fill out on the spot. This is vital as you want to have the ability to reach out to them again.
Third, a meal invitation is always a good idea. Having families in your home on the first visit is a bit awkward in our culture. Ask them if you can treat them to a local restaurant to get to know them. Once a connection is made, than extend an invitation to a more prive place to build and cultivate the relationship.
Fourth, take their information and make sure you put it on your card list. This will allow the congregation to send dozens of handwritten cards to thank them for their visit and invite them back. Most congregations send out a standard "thank you for visiting" letter but these are often cold and just ignored. When they go out to their mailbox and have dozens of personal notes, it will make a huge impression on them regarding your love and care for them personally.
Remember, the goal is not a Bible study at first contact. The goal is contact! Whatever you decide to do, please don’t allow visitors to slip through your fingers. You did not need to knock on a door, pay an electric bill, or beg them to come. These visitors made the choice to come and we should have a plan in place to seek and save their souls, because that is our purpose!
Greeting visitors is one of the easiest ways to create prospects. We are already at the building for Bible study and worship. All we need to do is approach the visitor and begin relationship building. Since they have come to us, this is not as awkward. The least we can do is extend a Christian greeting according to our custom (Romans 16:16). A handshake and a few kind words go a long way. This should be a standard response but unfortunately there are some who don’t even get this far.
The visitor bag is a next step to help them feel welcome and genuinely appreciated. We only give these to contacts who are potential Bible study prospects. Inside you will find information about the congregation, a visitor’s card to record their information, pen/pencil, pad of paper for notes, a bookmark, a few tracks/DVD’s, some mints/candy, and perhaps a custom-made gift from the ladies’ group.
The gift bag is only given once and is a great way to say, “we love you and want you to come back!” You can select several families to be looking for these visitors to provide this small gift. These are excellent projects for ladies groups and just one of many steps you can take to help cultivate the soils of the heart.
I recently met with a friend of mine and we went through the first back to the Bible booklet. He does not believe in God or heaven and hell. But he grew up Catholic and then went to Methodist church.
I request your advice on how to proceed with the rest of the series, and how to reach him. I know you're busy. Even a little advice may help. Feel free to give me a call, or email me.
I appreciate your time if you can help. Thank you!
This is a great question and one that we are dealing with more frequently due to the godless culture that is growing and spreading across America. One of the reasons we recommend completing the Back to the Bible survey prior to lesson one is to make sure you are giving the right set of directions to the prospect. The directions God provides differ based upon our starting location.
Everything leads through the Christ and His church, but some are further away and need additional instructions to get there. For example, an atheist would not be ready for Back to the Bible and need additional studies.
We are getting ready to set up our Compassion Card teams as you suggested to create Bible study prospects from contacts in our local area. Do you have any suggestions for making it more effective?
1. I would make sure ever team has enough members so that each contact gets at least 12 cards per week. Since most couples/families send just one card this means you may need up to 30 per team depending on the makeup.
2. Make sure all names submitted live in local area.
3. Offer team members the opportunity to fill out cards before or after Sunday evening service.
4. Provide cards and stamps in a designated room.
5. Make sure office mails cards so you can get a record of who and how many.
6. Print final compassion card list on Sunday afternoon so you can add any visitors from the local area who may have attended that morning.
7. Make sure you print enough copies of the compassion card list for the entire congregation. There are some members who will want to write cards from home during the week.
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