Spiritual navel-gazers are Christians who like to get into small groups and focus on themselves by encouraging each other and praying for one another. While there is nothing wrong in and of itself in singing praises to God, praying with each other and and encouraging one another they should not be an end unto themselves. Our mission and our goal is to fulfill the Great Commission by MAKING DISCIPLES.
But as Followers of Christ and as a church planter our call is to shine the LIGHT OF CHRIST in this spiritually dark world.
Second you need to know that there are two groups of people you want to use to form this prospect list:
- The Totally Unsaved: These are people who have never committed their hearts to the Lord Jesus Christ and if they were to die today would surely go straight to hell.
- The Far Away Brethren: These are people who are Christians, or at least profess a faith in Christ, but have for one reason or another fallen away from Christ and the church.
You find these people from within your own sphere of influence. You find them from those people you already know and have a relationship with. This is another BEST PRACTICE. Finding prospects from within your own sphere of influence is not only a proven contemporary strategy but more importantly is also a profound Biblical strategy.
When Jesus talked to the woman at the well in Samaria and shared with her everything she had ever done and revealed to her that He was indeed the Messiah she immediately ran back into the town and told everyone what had happen and invited them to come and see for themselves. When Jesus healed the Demoniac of a Legion of Demons the man asked Jesus if he could go with him when he left and Jesus told the man "No" and instructed him to go back to the towns in that region declaring the great things that God had done for him. The man obeyed and later when Jesus came back to that area the people were completely ready to receive Jesus and his ministry. Why? Because they had heard and believed the testimony of the man who had been healed.
So in developing a strong prospect list you need to think of all your family, friends, fellow workers, neighbors and people you may know from your social groups who are either not Christians or they are backslidden Christians and add make them part of your list. In putting this list together let me give you a couple of suggestions:
- Pray Before You Start: Prayer is always the best way to start any activity. You can never go wrong by praying. Ask God to reveal to you and bring to your memory all those people that He wants included on the list. You might be surprised whom God brings to mind. I know of people who have been in earnest prayer in developing their prospect list and have had people come to mind that they haven't seen or heard from in years. God knows who he's working with and you need God to reveal His list to you. I guess in reality we are seeking to understand who is on God's list. That's why prayer is so important.
- Don't Prequalify Them: What do I mean about that? Simply this: Don't try to play God and decide if a person will or will not come to Christ or attend your church. Only God knows the heart of a person and we can only guess. Larry Munguia is now a very good friend of mine and fellow pastor but before Larry came to faith in Christ no one ever thought he would do it. Everyone was concerned for his wife, Bobbi, and they prayed for her consistently. But interestingly enough Larry came came to faith in Christ before his wife and it was his changed life that convinced Bobbi that Christ was real. Larry is now the Senior Pastor of a church he started called The Sober Project. My point is this, we don't know whom God has chosen and prepared for this new life and new church.
- Include All Vital Information: As you form this list make sure that you have each person's name, address, phone number, email address and Facebook account. Why? Because you will want to stay in consistent contact with them sharing about activities, ministries and any other offers the church may want to make. A church planter should maintain a prospect list twice as large as the average attendance of the church. Building a robust prospect list at the very beginning of a new church will only enhance the work later and having all this information will insure the ability to stay in contact.
Now that you have built your list you work your list the way you started it - through prayer! That's right start praying for your prospects. Ask God the Father to begin drawing them to Jesus. Ask the Holy Spirit to begin convicting them of their sin and need for a Savior. Pray that God will bring circumstances and situations in their lives that will make them hunger and thirst for Christ and his righteousness. Pray that these people become dissatisfied with this life of sin and become desperate for the life that only Christ can give. Send the names of your prospect list to the PRAYER WARRIORS you have already enlisted and get them to start praying over them. Pray as a church planting team over the prospects.