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Resources > General > How to Develop a Prospect File
We start by leading the church and each Sunday School class to discover prospects. This must be accomplished through a combination of
several activities and projects. While there are a number of ways to identify prospects, here are a few:
These are only a few of the ways a church can find prospects. Now what are you going to do once you have a list of names? We must
have some way to get the names of each prospect to the Sunday School classes or individuals that will begin contacting and building
relationships. If we can match the prospect with someone or some class that has something in common with the prospect (age, stage of
life, interest), then the possibility of building a relationship with this prospect increases. We need to develop not just a prospect
file, but a system of cultivating these prospects. Here is an example of how churches have developed such a system.
The system includes these components: master file, class file, assignment, contact, and report. The following descriptions will help
you understand each component and how it is used in prospect cultivation.
The process begins with developing a master file. This file includes every prospect that has been discovered and whatever updated
information we have on him/her. This file or listing never leaves the office. If the name is lost, we generally lose a prospect. So
wherever the information is – in a file folder, an index card file, or computer – we need to make sure this information is stored safely.
From the master file, prospects are assigned to the class they would attend if they came to Sunday School. This creates the class
file. This file needs to be designed so that the class outreach leader can assign prospects to class members for contact. Generally,
each prospect is put on a separate card so that this card can be given to the person with all important details about this prospect such
as name, address, phone number, spouse name, age of children, previous contact information, and other information useful in building a
relationship with this person and his/her family. If the file is for a coed class, a single card can contain the information for a
The class file can be the best organized file in the church, but we will not reach anyone if contacts aren’t made. The contacts may
be phone calls, cards, or visits. Whatever method is used, someone needs to see that we are tracking and contacting every prospect in
the file. That person is the class outreach leader. This person is not to make all the contacts, but is to see that the class is
aggressive in building relationships with each prospect. The prospect cards from the class file must be put into the hands of class
members who will take responsibility for those prospects.
As mentioned earlier, a contact is a call, card, or a visit. The personal visit is by far the most effective contact. However the
contact is made, we need to begin to become personally involved with the prospect.
The results of the contact are to be written on the card and the card returned to the class outreach leader. The more detail we have
of the contact, the more effective we can be in reaching that prospect. The phrase “good visit” tells us little to help us determine
future actions and contacts.
Information such as family situation, hobbies, interests, and needs are far more valuable in determining what we need to do to reach
that prospect. What if the card is lost? Remember the master file? Another card is reproduced from the master file.
Once a contact is made and a report is given, the record must be updated on the master file. This is important for several reasons:
Whatever method is used to develop contact and to cultivate each prospect discovered, the key is not in the method, but the key is
the church members who take a responsibility to build relationship with each prospect. The key is in building a team to reach out to
those not only on the “list” but to anyone they meet.