Where Are the Prospects?

Where Are the Prospects?
Ron Willhoite

There are many ways to initiate a Home Bible Study. Begin with the logical target-someone you already know-your own family!

Family Members

Who could be more important to save than the members of your own household? Give a boost to your family devotions by studying God’s Word together with colorful charts filled with beautiful pictures. Youngsters should be so sure of foundational truths that nothing can shake them. This is a never-ending task for parents.

Unless children’s minds are firmly settled in Biblical truths, they could be disillusioned and deceived in the tragic times just ahead. Pictorial aids will make God’s Word come alive for them! The challenge of developing our youth into committed Christians cannot be neglected. Allow children to find the Scriptures listed on the Light for Living TM charts and then read them aloud. You can transform the command to hide God’s Word in their hearts into an enjoyable activity!

Relatives

Another ready prospect is close relatives. List each of them living in your community in the order of the most likely to the least likely positive responses expected. Now, visit each family. Take a couple of attractive brochures describing the Bible Study. Relatives make the best prospects and may be dealt with a little more straightforwardly than casual friends. Ask them sincerely to “assist” you in your Bible Study project. You might try this approach:

“Hey, Joe, I need a little help from you. I am involved in a community service project for our church, which means teaching a series of short lessons designed to better acquaint people with the Bible. This is a new project and frankly, I’m a little hesitant to start. “I need someone to help me improve my skills. Would you be willing to listen and help revise the first series of lessons? “Joe, since we are so close, I know you will honestly evaluate my presentation.”

(Show him the brochure or a few of the Mini-Chart pages).
“Joe, what do you think about this project?” (Give him a chance to respond.)

“Can we schedule about an hour each week for some ‘practice sessions’? You’ll be doing me a big favor by allowing me to get some experience in teaching this course!”
Stay until you have made a definite appointment for the first study. Then, at each session allow Joe to offer suggestions for improvement. In this way, a team effort is portrayed rather than a teacher-pupil one. Heeding his advice will also help to polish your style and to develop self-confidence.

If Joe does not agree to help for the whole series, invite him to sit in on just one session. After the first one, he may become so intrigued that he will want to continue. But if not, you have sown some seed and can now move on to other family prospects.

A good friend of mine was very concerned about his brother, who had no relationship with God. While in the service, Jim had married a German girl. When he returned home, he chose to operate a lounge to make a living for his family. He went deeper and deeper into sin.
Then a concerned brother heard about the Home Bible Study program. He invited Jim and his wife to supper and asked to teach them a Bible lesson after the meal. Jim consented.

In fact, Jim and his wife enjoyed the lesson so much, they wanted to continue. After only three lessons, the couple surrendered their lives to the Lord. Later, Jim felt his call to the ministry and returned to Germany as a missionary. He now pastors a church in Texas. This happened because a concerned man wanted to reach his relative-the Biblical way with Home Bible Studies.

Friends

List your friends. If they are really close ones, your invitation may resemble the one for relatives. Or, you may want to call them like this:

“Hello, Shirley. This is Joan. I have just become involved in a community service project for our church. I’d like to see what you think about it. I’m really excited and I think you might be, too. It will only take a few minutes, and I’ll bring some cold drinks.

“Honest, I’m not selling anything. Okay? Great! I’ll be right over!”

After you have shown the brochure and the first few study charts, ask for her honest opinion of the project. Explain that you are aware of the complex needs of families in your area and that you know a Source of help who wants us to be happy, healthy and productive citizens.

Request that she allow you to “practice” on her family for the first series. Explain that this will help you gain experience and self-confidence for teaching the course. Don’t say goodbye until you have a definite appointment for a study in her home.

Acquaintances

Everyone has acquaintances from work, the shopping center, restaurants, grocery store, bus stop, school, gas station, and laundry or barber shop. These people should be contacted differently. If you come on too strong or too soon with the unconverted, they will suspect your motives. Securing studies here will require more time, patience and effort.

You will need more than one encounter to enlist a study with acquaintances. Prepare a list of prospects this week as you meet them. Make a conscious effort to be very friendly and extend your small talk. Get to know them, their interests, their family, their job-little details. Call them by name and use it frequently in your conversation. You may meet them several times before your project is ever mentioned. Be alert for prophetic world events reported by the news media. These easily initiate conversation. Here are some “breakers” to help steer the conversation favorably:

“Did you hear the news this morning about fighting in the Middle East? Things are happening over there just like the Bible predicted. Makes you wonder just how much time we have left!”

“Are you from a large family? In what state did your family live? Were you reared in church? Which one? What are your present feelings about church (religion, God, etc.)?”

“Have you noticed recent articles in the religious section of the newspaper (or magazine articles) about renewed interest in Home Bible Studies? Have you ever attended one?”

“I’m trying to start some good habits this year. I’m on a schedule to read through the Bible. You can’t believe how much it has helped me! Have you ever had a chance to study the Bible?”

“Did you hear about the terrible earthquake in China? Seems like one happens somewhere almost daily. Isn’t it fantastic that they were predicted in the Bible?”

“Look at this article about the new experimental anti-crime project. They are placing a serial number beneath the skin to be used for transactions instead of credit cards. That system is described in the Bible and will occur just before the end of the world!”

Once you have “arrived” at a topic of religious nature, steer the conversation toward obtaining a Bible study:

“You know, I’ve found a great study course that covers the Bible from beginning to end. It explains how current events fit into prophecy-like reading tomorrow’s newspaper today!

“The chart pages are full of beautiful, full-color pictures. They explain so many interesting things about the Bible. Each one is simple, clear and straightforward. Now I can comprehend so much more about the Bible.

“In fact, I never really enjoyed the Bible before because I couldn’t understand so much of it. But this new course makes it come alive! It’s like reading a new book!

“You just might enjoy having this Home Bible Study, too. It’s free and private and only takes an hour a week.

“That’s not much time for such really important information! And another thing-no one will be pressuring you to buy anything or to join a church. God’s Word is offered free to everyone! “Would you like to join me for a study? What is a good day and time for you?

“Is your house a good place? I’ll bring the charts with me.

“What is your phone number and address?”

You will be surprised at how many positive responses you receive for your time and effort. However, not everyone will accept. For those who do not, simply reply:

“I understand. But if you change your mind, please let me know.”

Home Fellowship

The broadening interest in home fellowship, prayer and share, and cell groups provides an excellent place to teach Light for Living TM .In these meetings, church members are strengthened in the Word. Often, non church goers will also attend since it is a non-threatening, no-obligation situation. What a wonderful opportunity to implant Gospel seeds in both groups!

Since little published material is available, most churches resort to writing their own study material for these sessions. This could present a problem if a congregation has no gifted writers, researchers, or artists. A 4,000-member church in Houston, Texas is supplying their 300 home fellowship groups with Light for LivingTM charts and manuals. Their Home Fellowship Director enthusiastically reported that the Light for LivingTM program has been a great blessing to them. Excitement among their group leaders is at an all-time high as the needs of people are being met through the Home Bible Study program.

Prison Ministry

Revival fires are raging behind prison bars! God is now preparing many bold, fearless men in penal institutions to participate in the final thrust of this age. Prisoners are constantly requesting Christian literature to study.

An Oregon minister recently described the overwhelming response to the Light for LivingTM Home Bible Study in a local prison. The chaplain was so excited when he saw the teaching charts, he literally begged the minister to present the study to their inmates and those in a nearby prison. We must address this segment of society that is ripe and ready to fulfill the Great Commission:

“I was in prison, and ye came unto me” (Matthew 25:36).

Rest Homes

The elderly and shut-ins need to hear the old, old story of Jesus and His love. Beautiful scenes in Light for Living TM will intrigue their short attention span.

The compassionate hand you extend to these lonely ones will also be appreciated by their visiting relatives. Because of your concern for an ailing loved one, they may gladly offer their home once a week for a series of Bible lessons.

Community Canvassing

Bible studies can also be obtained from an organized outreach effort to canvass your area. A Light for LivingTM door knob hanger or tract fastened to each door with some type removable adhesive is an excellent way to do this. Cover at least 100 homes in your neighborhood with tracts or door knob hangers. Repeat with different material for the next two weeks.

For example, put a door knob hanger on each of the 100 or so selected homes the first week. The second week, attach a tract to those same doors. On the third week, leave a different tract on those same doors, in the same place. Then you are ready to send a group to visit each of the homes and explain the free Home Bible Study program. Be sure that each group member wears a badge, “Light for Living” Instructor”.

Have you ever answered your doorbell and found a salesman anxious to sell you an insurance policy, vacuum cleaner, or encyclopedia? His motivation is the commission from a prospective sale. If you decline to buy the product, he proceeds to the next home. If he knocks on enough doors, someone will be interested. Reportedly, every sixth person is a sure sale. They will buy anything you have to offer!

In a door-to-door outreach, you too are a salesman. But instead of seeking a commission, you are interested in fulfilling another kind-that given by our Lord Jesus Christ! An excellent idea for this type canvassing is for you to take a five to ten-year-old along. People more readily open the door to a stranger if a child is with you. Wear a pleasant expression, have a friendly manner and dress neatly. Be sure to wear your Light for Living’ Instructor badge.
You might begin like this:

“Good morning! My name is Joe Christian and this is my son, Jeff. I’m talking to a lot of folks in this neighborhood about a community service project. Are you concerned about the crime increase in our neighborhood? . . . Are you concerned about the high rate of divorce, broken homes and child abuse? …Are you saddened by the high rate of drug usage and pornography among our young people? …Are you grieved by the statistics concerning alcoholics, suicides, and Satan worshippers?”

When he agrees to all of these questions, say:

“Great! We know that something should be done about these problems. And there IS a workable solution. It involves getting ourselves reacquainted with the Bible. This Source will unify our families and provide constructive answers for the problems we face.

“Jeff and I would like to step inside and briefly show you what we have to offer.” (Show a brochure and two or three interesting pages from the Mini-Chart.

“This fascinating course only takes one hour a week for the next few weeks. It certainly reveals a lot about what is happening in our world today!

“Better yet, there is no tuition or donations, nor will you be asked to join any church! The course is designed to help you further develop your own faith and become a stronger, more fulfilled person. When the lessons are completed, you will receive a handsome certificate.” (Show a framed example).

“Can I come by this week for a trial lesson?” (Take out your date book.)

“What night will be best for you? Tuesday or Wednesday? What time shall I come, about 7 o’clock?

“Great! I’ll bring all the materials.”

Check your results when you have completed at least 100 door-to-door contacts. You should have acquired from four to ten new studies!

Bus Ministries

If your church is involved in a bus ministry, utilize this valuable source of prospects to obtain new Bible Studies. When bus captains and assistants visit homes every week, they develop friendly relationships with dozens of unsaved parents. What an excellent opportunity to acquire new studies! Give each bus ministry child a letter from the pastor inquiring about the possibility of coming into their home to teach a series of free Bible lessons. Include with the letter a brochure or tract explaining the program. Follow-up with a personal visit the next weekend. Take plenty of brochures with you. Stop by each home and thank the parents for allowing their children to attend your Sunday school. Then offer a free Home Bible Study.

If they decline, do not be discouraged. Just keep asking. As long as their child is enrolled in your Sunday school, they remain prime candidates. It will eventually happen if you are persistent. Publicize the meeting with posters, spot radio announcements, or newspaper ads. Word-of-mouth is the most effective method for drawing a crowd to this type seminar

Hotel Seminars

Some churches have successfully conducted hotel seminars to enlist more Bible Studies. One such advertisement could be: “Grief Recovery Seminar For Hurting People”. The speakers could be members of your congregation who have dealt with and overcome severe problems, such as: death, suicide, retardation, alcoholism, teenage rebellion, drugs, divorce, child abuse, terminal illness, or other tragedies, since almost every home is plagued by some type problem or grief. This would be an excellent time for your church members to invite fellow workers or neighbors who are experiencing any of the related problems.

At the close of the seminar, explain the concept of the Home Bible Study program and proceed to register all who are interested. One Wisconsin construction superintendent became so successful at enrolling students through hotel seminars; he began to teach as many as 40 people in a class. In an amazingly short time, over 200 people had committed their lives to God.

Later, he felt led of the Lord to move to Oak Creek, Wisconsin with his family to establish a new church. Now, he has over 700 in attendance! His simple method for church growth was to teach Home Bible Study classes and then train new believers to teach others. This snowball effect has now produced a strong, growing church.

Church Visitors

Of course, all visitors to your church are also prime Home Bible Study candidates. Therefore, it is very important to conduct an organized system of obtaining names and addresses. To initiate inquiries about the free Home Bible Study program, the church visitor cards should ask whether the visitor has those expressing a desire to know more about the program should be contacted during the following week and invited to enroll in a Home Bible Study.

Public Bulletin Boards

Your neighborhood supermarkets, shopping malls, and washaterias usually have a free bulletin board for public announcements. One place that really produces exciting results is apartment Laundromats. Some apartment complexes have several areas where people do their weekly laundry. While waiting for the clothes to wash and dry, they will carefully read any announcement that is posted. This provides an excellent exposure for your Bible Study program.

Light for Living produces a variety of fascinating, full-color posters that will attract such inquiries. Display them in store windows, barber shops, cafeterias, doctors’ offices, bus and train depots, airline terminals, or any place where people must wait. No effort is too insignificant when at least one person responds.

Referrals

Home Bible Study students are an excellent resource for generating new studies. Most people who are learning the Bible excitedly want to share their new-found knowledge.
Request that students write names and addresses of friends or relatives who might be interested in the program on referral cards. (See page 34). Follow-up each of these prospects by telephone or a personal visit.

Hospital Visitation

An active hospital visitation ministry can furnish prospects. As ministers are visiting and praying for the sick, they should take with them several brochures about the Light for Living Home Bible Study program. Look for opportunities to speak with other patients who may desire to host a Bible Study later.
After the patients have returned home, make a personal visit or phone call about scheduling Bible lessons. They will remember the kindness and concern shown by your church during their illness. Inquire sincerely about their health and invite them to enroll in the Home Bible Study program.

Free Drawing

Have you ever completed an entry form to win a free trip, automobile or sewing machine? You were actually enrolling yourself on someone’s prospect list. Use the same technique to build a prospect list for Home Bible Studies. Conduct a free drawing for a large family Bible or set of Bible story books. Determine how many drawing boxes are necessary to adequately cover your area. A neat poster explaining the drawing and attractive boxes are quite impressive.

Place your drawing boxes (along with entry forms and pencils) at grocery stores, drug stores, county fairs, civic meetings, and shopping malls. Entry forms should request the name, home address, and phone number. Include on the poster all the pertinent information, such as the date, place, and time of the drawing. Explain that entrants need not be present to win. Award the family Bible or set of Bible story books and describe the series of Home Bible Studies that will familiarize them with their new prize.

Now comes the real objective. Send each person who registered for the drawing a descriptive Light for Living’ brochure along with a letter to announce the name of the winner. Follow-up with a call or personal visit and invite them to enroll in the Home Bible Study.
One church in St. Louis had a drawing for a free family Bible in a local mall and 140 people responded “Yes” to the question, “Would you like to have a free Bible Study in your home?” This method is extremely effective when handled properly.

Newspaper Announcements

Watch local newspapers for marriage and birth announcements. This is an excellent time to contact people about Home Bible Studies. Begin by congratulating the newlyweds. How wonderful it would be to begin their marriage correctly by welcoming God into their home. The prospects for a lasting marriage are so much greater when He is the Head of the home. A great way to invite His Presence is to enroll in a Light for Living’ Home Bible Study program!

Another important occasion for families to become involved in the church is the birth of a child-especially a first child. After congratulating the parents, remind them that principles of Godly living should be instilled during infancy. We have a plan to help them learn and teach these principles to their children-the Light for Living’ Home Bible Study program.

Telephone Surveys

Most homes in your city have a phone. Here is one more way you can make contacts. One person or an entire team can utilize this method. If there are physically disabled people in your church who speak well on the telephone, they may welcome an opportunity to become involved in this outreach. They often become your best workers!

Make assignments for each of the participants to avoid duplicate calls. Then prepare “prompter cards” to assist the caller. They should read the script in a natural tone rather than droning out a memorized text. Say something like this:

“Hello, (Mrs. McClain)? How are you today? This is (Joe Christian), one of your neighbors. As a community service project, our church (give name) is representing the Home Bible Study course published by Light for Living’ Ministries in Houston, Texas. This beautiful program is being offered to all members of this neighborhood. It is free and there is no obligation to complete the course.

“Thousands of people just like yourself are enrolling to increase their knowledge of the Bible.

“I’ll be glad to stop by and leave you a brochure explaining the program. How about tomorrow evening about seven o’clock?

“It was so nice to talk to you and I hope you’ll have a wonderful day!”

If the response is negative, ask if you can mail the information. Design your own dialogue appropriate to your area. Continue the project until all phone subscribers have been contacted. Develop a notation system whereby those not at home can be phoned at a later time. After your phone solicitation project is complete, you should have enough Bible Studies to keep you very busy!

Newspaper Ads

The newspaper is tradition. Almost everybody subscribes to one. And that is the goal of the Home Bible Study program-to go into every home!

Compose some short, eye-catching ads such as these:

The best things in life are free. Call now for a free Bible study to be taught in your home. 000-0000. Drug or alcohol problem? Get help through free Bible lessons. Please call 000-0000. Marriage problems? The Bible offers solutions for your grief. For free lessons in your home, please call 000-0000. Antichrist is coming with his mark! Free Bible lessons tell how you can escape it. Call 000-0000.

“Armageddon!” What is it? When will it come? Exciting details on many prophetic subjects are discussed in free Bible lessons. Please call 000-0000.

You will find this project to be fun! Experiment with your own creative ads. When someone responds, your goal is to make an appointment to discuss the Bible Study-not to be drawn into a lengthy phone discussion.

Radio Commercials

Another great source for obtaining Bible Studies is through radio advertising. It is more expensive than the other methods, but response to appealing radio ads will be phenomenal! Your Home Bible Study offer can be promoted through an existing program sponsored by your church or by purchasing spot time. Check the rates at a local station for a 60, 30 or 15-second radio announcement. You might air something like this:

“Why is there so much violence, war and crime in the news today? Why do earthquakes and other alarming catastrophes occur with such frequency all over the world? The Bible says that these tragedies will be commonplace when Jesus Christ returns to earth.

“Would you like to better understand the Word of God? Do you have insurmountable problems without solutions? Call 000-0000 today for a free Home Bible Study. There’s no cost and no obligation of any sort. That’s 000-0000 for the Bible answer to all your needs.”

“Perhaps you’re facing the toughest problem of your life. Maybe it’s a divorce …Maybe it’s a painful illness…alcohol…drugs…unemployment…financial losses. No one seems to care or be willing to help you. Well, friend, there IS Someone who not only cares, but will show you what to do. Let us introduce you to Jesus Christ! He has provided principles in His Word that explain how to cope with twentieth century pressures and frustrations.

“By calling 000.0000, you can receive “Light for Living” the exciting free Home Study course that brings people and the Bible together! Write down the number, 000-0000.”

“It’s coming! Faster than you can imagine! World War III! Armageddon! 666! The Mark of the Beast! The Antichrist! But there is also a plan that will shield you from Satan’s final thrust. Find out about God’s way of deliverance.

“Call 000-0000 now to schedule a free Light for Living Home Bible Study in your own home. To be informed, call 000-0000.”

Many radio stations, especially Gospel-oriented ones, broadcast free public announcements. These may be aired daily or several times each week. Type a brief message similar to the preceding examples and mail to the station. This method can penetrate into homes otherwise impossible to reach. It’s worth a try!

From: Explosive Church Growth through Home Bible Studies by: Ron Willhoite, SFT 1996

This material has been copyrighted and may be used for study and research purposes only.

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