When it comes to outreach, the advertising slogan, “Just Do It” comes to my mind. Consider these principles and ideas for outreach. Identifying potential class members and securing contact information is essential. But unless you actually do some kind of outreach, all you have is a list of names.
- Plan for Outreach – Outreach will never happen consistently unless you lead your group to plan for it. Planning should include who, when and the specific outreach activity.
- Variety is the Spice of Outreach – The who, when and what of outreach should rotate regularly to keep outreach fresh. Contacts made in person are most effective, but also learn to make good use of phone calls, e-mails, texting, mail, or even Facebook and Twitter. (See some suggestions below.)
- Involve as Many Members as Possible – Harry Piland, a former Director of Sunday School for the Baptist Sunday School Board, stressed this approach by explaining, “Divide the work of a Sunday School class into do-able hunks, then
give each person one hunk.” There is no better area to apply this principle that in outreach.
Invite them to Bible Study – This is the simplest and most direct form of outreach. The ideas below can help you develop a relationship with potential members and make ongoing contacts that are “non–nagging.”
- Vacation Bible School Follow-up – Always make a follow-up contact with boys and girls and their parents that are prospects who attended VBS. Idea: during VBS planning schedule a VBS outreach evening or Saturday morning the week after VBS. Go in teams of 2-3 to make a quick doorstep visit and leave a memento of VBS (a VBS Music for Kids CD or deliver a picture made during the week). Be sure to include information about your church and Sunday School.
- Be Part of a Church-wide Community Event – Block party, Easter Egg Hunt, Parents Night Out, etc.
- Time Change Reminder – Make quick phone calls, to both prospects and members, to remind them to change their clocks in the spring and fall. Leave a voice mail if no one answers, identifying yourself and your church.
- Happy Birthday Wishes – If you have a birthdate, send a “Happy Birthday” card, text, or phone call.
- Party Invitation – Invite the prospective member to your class social. Offer to pick them up or meet them at the event so you can go in together and introduce them to others.
- Work Invitation – That’s right! Invite them to join your class in a work project, such as serving meals at a shelter or raking the yard of an elderly person. Many of today’s adults and teens are attracted to helping a worthy cause. While working, they also get to know others in the group and feel more comfortable with them.
Marie Clark has served as team leader for the Bible Teaching & Discipling Team of the Kansas-Nebraska Convention of Southern Baptists since 1996.