The doorbell has just rung, and you open the door. There stands a salesman. He is nicely dressed, smiling, and holding a vacuum in his hand. He says, “Would you like to buy a vacuum?” How would you respond? Some might just shut the door, while others may be polite and say, “No thank you,” while quickly looking for an exit strategy.
It is hard to fault anyone for asking for Bible studies. There are so few Christians who are willing to conduct a study. I certainly don’t want to discourage anyone. Selling a product is an art. Every salesman goes through training courses to learn about his product, but more importantly, to learn about the customers. I would like to suggest that there is a better approach to sinners than asking, “Would you like to have a Bible study?” Here are few things to consider.
First, you should never transition from contact to Bible study without prospecting. The prospecting stage is the key to a successful end. Prospecting is soil preparation, and Christianity is uniquely designed to accomplish this step.
Second, work on your approach. The approach is the key moment of any sale. Christians are the most equipped people in the world to interact with sinners. The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control! Who would not like these qualities? Look for areas of agreement and familiarity; offer compliments.
Third, invest time in every contact and let them get to know you. You are the only church member they know so never forget Who and what you represent. Find out what they enjoy and enjoy it with them. You must be willing to become all things to all people that some might be saved (1 Corinthians 9:22).
Fourth, never underestimate the power of a meal. Eat with sinners, and you will quickly learn why Jesus did the same. Meaningful and revealing conversations do not normally happen at the front door. Conversations over a meal are usually a fountain of information.
Fifth, do not forget the purpose of prospecting is to get the Bible study. While we eat and build friendships with sinners, keep the mission in mind. If a sinner sees who you are and how important Christ is in your life, the door will open for a Bible study.
Sixth, develop your transition. The awkward moment is always the seconds between the conversation and the invitation to study. Here is a line that we have used dozens and dozens of times with success. “Margie, what do you think about the Jacksonville church of Christ?” (if the church has done a good job, the response will give you the green light). “How much do you know about us? Would you like to know more?”
Seventh, be ready for “yes.” Set the day and time without delay. Remember, meals are always a winner before a study, as they relax the prospect. Dessert is always good during the middle of a study.
The doorbell has just rung, and you open the door. A nicely dressed man immediately begins complimenting your yard, home, and mentions one of your neighbors. He is conversational, and before long, he is talking about floors and how important it is to keep them clean. “Have you ever heard of our new Space Vac? You have got to see this thing work. It is the most amazing product I have ever seen. May I demonstrate?” He begins to vacuum your house and shows you how unique his product is and shows you how to use it. Before long you are using it and loving it. He does not have to ask you to buy it, because you are going to ask, “How could I get one of these vacuums?”
You do not have to ask for a Bible study when you earn it. Know your product and get to know your customer, and you just might make the sale.
New Hope church of Christ, Middleton, Tennessee: We welcome the New Hope church of Christ to the House to House/Heart to Heart School of Evangelism. They have incredible energy and passion for soul winning. The preacher and his wife are full of life and have so much potential. Just four days after we left, they sent us their first report. Cole Wade (preacher) reports, “Adam Norwood studied through Back to the Bible and was baptized the night of January 30. Months ago, Josh Yopp brought him to church, and we befriended him. We ate together, played disc golf together, and talked about spiritual things with him. After he attended for a few months, we were able to have a few deeper studies with him, but nothing significant came of it. After Adam learned over the course of the months the basic truths of the gospel, he felt comfortable enough to study Back to the Bible. He loved it, and before study 3 was over, Josh messaged me and told me to get the water ready!”
Gilt Edge church of Christ, Tennessee: We welcome Gilt Edge back! HTHSOE conducted an Advanced Training seminar last weekend, and we were encouraged by their preacher and his family. Daniel, Dalton, and Lindsey understand evangelism. You can see the effects of the original training, and we are excited as they will now receive the 52-week curriculum.
South Anchorage church of Christ, Alaska: During our mission trip to Alaska last year, HTHSOE trained the congregation and dropped off materials. They had just hired Mike Dale, a graduate of MSOP, who had received HTHSOE while in school. Now they are ready to begin! They just had two baptisms and are planning for more in the near future. Brother Steven Church is using Back to the Bible in their teen class.
Covington church of Christ, Tennessee: Wayne Dalrymple (elder) reports, “This year has started off well for the church at Covington. We have resumed and retooled a work that we used to do called Monday Night for the Master. While we write cards and make phone calls every week, each week of the month has a different focus. One week, we mentor children and teens in writing cards and doing other things in the work of the Lord. Another week, we assemble and deliver New Movers baskets. On another Monday, we have evangelism training, studying various prospecting strategies and how to conduct Bible studies using Back to the Bible and other methods.
“We are also trying to get our name out in the community more this year. One way we will do this is by participating in various city events. One of those will happen this Saturday. We have a “Chocolate Tour” around our city square where local businesses hand out various forms of chocolate and promote their businesses. We are setting up a booth to distribute chocolate to an anticipated group of 2000 people.
“Another piece of great news is that we began studying with Holly Flowers last Saturday. We finished the first book of Back to the Bible. Ms. Holly seemed to understand the differences between the Old Testament and the New Testament. Our second study is scheduled for Tuesday evening. Please pray that Holly will be open to the truth about the church.
“We are continuing to put plans into place as we prepare to host AMC this June 11-18. We hope and pray that many will be able to come and that many lost souls will be saved as a result of our efforts.”
Forestburg church of Christ, Texas: Mark Lindsey (preacher), “We have a couple of Bible Studies going on right now. We are working to deliver to our new movers in the community. We have a gospel meeting coming up in just over a month and are working to invite friends and neighbors.”
Northern oaks church of Christ, San Antonio, Texas: Mel Hutzler (preacher) reports, “We have both our evangelism teams going with two coordinators heading up each group. We continue to have our evangelism table restocked and visitor bags ready to go. We just had some extra training for our members led by the elders. We have individuals assigned to take down visitors contact info and to take them out to eat. A few members are currently in Bible Studies.”
Beloit church of Christ, Kansas: Dustin Doughtery (preacher) reports, “Now that we are finally feeling better after our recent bout with covid, I am ready to kick evangelism into high gear. We are still working with our neighbor, and I have several study leads to follow up, and we are making sure that everything we are doing has evangelism at its heart. We are planning for a VBS this summer and a gospel meeting with Paul Mays this fall. We hope to have a booth at our local county fair this summer as well. I am currently looking for speaking opportunities with congregations in Kansas and Southern Nebraska to teach them the importance of personal evangelism and how to successfully use Back to the Bible in their own communities. I am also trying to get something for an evangelism table and visitor bags. We are also looking at getting House to House to aid in our evangelism. Morning brother, so far this a.m. three offers for Bible study with hot contacts, and I’m hoping to get another offer or two in today. We have had one positive response in return so far.”
Lafollette church of Christ, Tennessee: Ben Shaffer (preacher) reports, “We are happy to announce a new brother in Christ. James Hatfield was baptized yesterday after going through a Bible study. He has already begun evangelizing by bringing his nephew with him to the Bible study. We are going to continue studying with his nephew on Wednesday of this week. We have two good contacts from our new movers’ baskets that we will be following up with this week. We also delivered meals to five sick families in the community with one of them inviting us back to visit. We are looking forward to taking her up on that offer. We are thankful for the work that God has given us to do!”
Siwell Road church of Christ, Jackson, Mississippi: Derek Broome (preacher) reports, “We had a great week at Siwell Road. We delivered more New Movers baskets this week. Some have requested more information about the church. We will be following up with them as soon as possible. We have another Bible study set up and several other studies currently going on. We have so many people that we are actively trying to prospect. Praying continually for open doors.”
East Main church of Christ, Murfreesboro, Tennessee: Brad Rowley (elder) reports, “East Main continues with five on-going Bible studies. One of our teens, Mataya Carter, has been inviting a young man, Luke Carlton, to services for the past several months. He has been attending services and youth group activities and getting to know our membership. Luke approached one of our deacons, Sam Boyd, Sunday night and asked him what he needed to do in order to be baptized. Sam, along with another one of our deacons, Tim Hayes, sat down with Luke, and talked with him to make sure he understood what this commitment meant. We are happy to report that Luke was baptized into Christ. Tim Hayes and Sam Boyd will start a new study with Luke this week.
“The compassion card program is very effective. A young married couple was thrilled to receive multiple cards.
“We are trying to complete our New Movers baskets for the month. We received a couple of contacts from our New Movers program who want to receive HTH magazines on a regular basis.
“David Brown and Steve Arnold teach the new convert class each Sunday morning with an average attendance of ten people. We are trying to encourage some of our older new converts to attend the class. There is a lot of discussion during class. It is amazing to hear how much biblical knowledge some of our new converts have.
“Sunday morning, the elders presented our new contact card. The elders asked each member to make a list of potential prospects. In the next couple of weeks, the elders will be showing the members how to use their list based upon page 105 of “Finding Prospects” in the Evangelism Simplified Guidebook.”
“Mintie Welchance and Erin Holder, our administrative assistants, came up with the idea to include an evangelism summary in our weekly bulletin. This keeps the congregation informed.”
Crossville church of Christ, Tennessee: Alan Judd (preacher) reports, “We continue to implement the HTHSOE plan. Inclement weather and climbing Covid numbers have slowed some of our plans, but we continue to persevere. Lessons on Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings are emphasizing the role that every Christian can play in telling others the Good News. We continue to plant and water and will await God blessing us with the increase!”
Chase Park church of Christ, Huntsville, Alabama: Pat Cowden (preacher) reports, “We have four new Bible studies starting this week. Three are neighbors of one of our members and the fourth person is someone who has benefitted from our intentional benevolence and evangelism program. We still have ongoing studies with several people that have been interrupted by Covid 19 again. We are praying that they will obey the gospel at the conclusion of our studies. Please keep us in your prayers as we continue to try to reach the lost in our community. Our card ministry is going strong, and we are getting encouraging reports from our prospects about how much the compassion cards have been appreciated.”
Deerfoot church of Christ, Birmingham, Alabama: Richard Harp (preacher) reports, “A lady came to the church building in need of assistance this morning. We assisted and hoped she would respond to our requests to study. I do not believe it will happen, but we tried. Our outreach minister Jeffrey Howell arrived Friday, but he came down with Covid. Hoping he can get over this soon. We are all excited about the potential for reaching our community. I never heard from the lady in our area I reported last week. I have asked for her information so we can make contact.”
Warner Robins church of Christ, Georgia: Dave Domingue (elder) reports, “It has been a busy period for everyone at WRCOC. We honored the families of two sisters who went home to the Lord this week, as did other family members who lost loved ones. We finished our Georgia School of Preaching & Biblical Studies (GSOP) short course, an evangelical look at Genesis 1–11 with Phil Sanders. Phil also spent some quality one-on-one time with our Georgia School of Theology (GST) students to discuss how to use videos to reach the lost and strengthen the saved. We have several ongoing Bible studies—praying for open hearts. Sharing Christ in Love—more to come.”
Riverbend church of Christ, Georgia: Austin Fowler (member) reports, “This week we were able to see the fruits of our labors. On Wednesday night, Gail Basler was baptized into Christ. Study number three went great. When we got to baptism, she began to question her baptism. We used the Acts 22:16 chart to help her understand baptism. After her baptism, she agreed to go through “Growing in Christ.” I am excited to start that.
“My study with Ansley was postponed until Thursday night. I am looking forward to it. Also, Jason Duggin’s study with Bob Bethel was postponed a week due to him having COVID. I told Brother Duggin to add him to the compassion card list so we can flood him with cards.
“Sunday, we began our lectureship. Allen Webster did a great job kicking it off. We had some visitors. I plan on having a couple that was visiting with us over the next few weeks to grow the relationship with them and potentially get in a Bible study.”
University church of Christ, Montgomery, Alabama: Faires Austin (elder) sends this update on last week’s evangelistic efforts:
- “Fifteen New Movers baskets were delivered. Several new contacts were made.
- “We are going to design a special card to send to these New Mover contacts to welcome them to our community. Yes, we will be visiting them again, but perhaps a card will help maintain a closer contact with these families. We plan to have a picture of the University Church of Christ printed on the front of the card with our address and times of Bible class and services. We’ll send you a sample soon.
- “We are having several visitors to attend our Bible classes and services. Most are being invited personally by our members. For example, the Ed Smith family were present today because they were given a special invite by one of our families.
- “The Stulher family were present again today. They are the family that came to our Trunk-or-Treat event last fall. They moved here from the state of Maine.
- “The Visitor Card Ministry is ongoing every Wednesday night.
- “This next week we have a family that will be placing membership with us. We have at least three more families that we are working with, and we pray they will also place membership soon. We make sure that we put these new families to work, in the Lord’s kingdom, ASAP.
- “Our new Firm Foundations class begins next Sunday morning.”
Corinth church of Christ, Corinth, Tennessee: James Parker (elder) reports, “I have had my fifth study with a newlywed couple! They are progressing along! Steve has been studying with a gentleman that happened to attend services at Corinth when the ‘church’ he attended was not having services because of weather.”
Jacksonville church of Christ, Alabama: Please welcome Margie, our new sister in Christ. Geneva Hill, who became a Christian about two years ago, brought Margie. Margie was reading House to House, and Geneva told her that she was a member of the church that sent it to her. Geneva immediately connected with us, and we ate several meals together. We used Back to the Bible. Margie was baptized after realizing that she had never been taught the truth about baptism. We learned a lot during this conversion about the power new converts have to bring and teach others the gospel. Geneva was key during the entire study. Praise God to serve the King of kings and Lord of lords!”
Cowetta church of Christ, Oklahoma: Keno Shrum (elder/preacher) reports, “We had a great Bible study with a young lady Saturday evening. We finished Lesson One BTTB. We are scheduled to do Lesson Two this weekend. We also have Lesson Three with another couple this week. So far, all have been receptive.”
Monroe church of Christ, Georgia: Charles Harris (preacher) reports, “Due to health reasons I was not able to study again with Leo and Tami but hope to do so soon. I had the privilege of being part of an elders and deacons meeting today, and it was productive. While we were discussing the work here at Monroe, some ladies met to works for our youth. Probably before the end of February, I will begin preaching through BTTB with the church. We have a deacon who is a soul winner to oversee evangelism. I am looking forward to working with him concerning training the church here to see souls. There is a lot of excitement for the Lord here at Monroe! My family thanks God for letting us be a part of it.”
BCS church of Christ College Station, Texas: Nikki (member) reports, “I had a friend (Wes Hanson) who invited a lady to worship. She was attending faithfully for a little while, and I became friends with her. We had her to our house one time for dinner with a group without a study. I found the time that night to ask her about her family and their religious background. Then I asked her if she wanted to study with me. She came with a Bible called The Message.She asked Wes to take her to get a King James Bible because she wanted to know what the text really said. We scheduled the next study for a week out. She then attended the BCS ladies’ day on Saturday and worship on Sunday. She heard lots of references to salvation within those seven hours of Bible study. She was concerned with her spiritual state. I left work early today so we could go through books 2 and 3. The books with the Bible made it very understandable and easier for me to teach her the gospel. This was my second time using these studies, and they help me so much with the organization and layout of the study. She understood what the Bible said and realized she was lost. She was ready to be added to the Lord’s church.”
Peninsula church of Christ, Hampton, Virginia: Ben Phillips (preacher) reports, “Covid cases in the congregation and the weather have hindered our work over the last month. But it will not stop the work! We have door knocking scheduled for February, and we will soon be starting the New Movers program with House to House. We continue to build our teams to tackle the different areas of work, and we seek God’s blessings that we might reach souls with His saving message.”