Contacts: Restoring the Unfaithful
By Rob Whitacre

A question asked at almost every training seminar is, “What about the unfaithful?” Almost every Christian has family and friends who have wandered away from the Lord. They are prodigals who have erred from the faith and need to be converted (James 5:19). Bringing back the wayward is not easy. Their absence in the pew creates an absence in our hearts, and we yearn for their return.

The HTHSOE model is formed around creating contacts and prospecting them. Are not unfaithful considered contacts? Are they not in need of prospecting? Why not insert these contacts into your prospect list each week and begin reaching out as a congregation with love and compassion? Here are a few suggestions:

  • Select a coordinator for this mission. Restoring the unfaithful is an ongoing effort and will need someone focused to keep it active.
  • Make a list of all those who have fallen away from the church who still live in the area.
  • Place the most recent prodigals on the contact list first and then proceed to others.
  • Use Compassion Cards under the restoration heading and begin mailouts.
  • Mail cards for 3-4 weeks, just like for other contacts.
  • Include these contacts in your discussions during your monthly transition meeting to assign a visit.
  • Those who visit wayward members should be mature Christians only (elders and preachers) as taught in Galatians 6:1-2.
  • Since the wayward needs a conversion (James 5:19), you may want to bring Does It Matter to conduct a Bible study. Those who have fallen away from the Truth must be returned to God’s Word.
  • Emphasize repentance during the study and the steps needed for restoration.
  • Rejoice when they return. Ask them to attend the First Principles class/New Converts class if needed.
  • Assign mentors to check on them just as you would a new convert.

The range of success from this approach has been between 25 and 75 percent. When we pull out of the parking lot, having the unfaithful on your prospect list is a great place to start. We must not forget about the unfaithful who once sat in our pews. We miss them. We love them. We want them to come home.

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