THE pastor's treasure chest is his prospect file. God calls men to put forth every effort to become more efficient and to achieve greater results in their soul-winning activities. The prospect file will help a great deal toward this end. The purpose of the file is to help us remember important facts regarding the people we are grooming for heaven. The gateway to heaven is through baptism. Our objective is to prepare people for baptism, thus starting them on the road to the kingdom.
The prospect file should include the names of all who in some way have manifested an interest in the message of Seventh-day Adventists. These may be drawn from many sources, including the following:
1. Former Seventh-day Adventists.
2. Faith for Today, Voice of Prophecy, and Bible school interests.
3. Persons who have attended evangelistic meetings in the past.
4. Visitors to Sabbath school and other worship services.
5. Names offered by members.
6. Ingathering and welfare contacts.
7. Wedding and funeral contacts.
8. Contacts through sick calls.
9. The youth growing up in the church.
10. Social and civic contacts among community leaders and influential citizens.
Always remember that every life we touch is a prospect for the kingdom. We must do all in our power to introduce men and women to the Saviour, and then lead them gently and tactfully into a deeper study of God's Word.
A simple but effective prospect file may be categorized in the following manner:
AA Prospects—These are persons who have already studied the doctrines and are preparing for baptism.
A Prospects—People who are studying regularly and are definitely interested in the message o£ the soon-coming Saviour.
B Prospects—Those who have had special visits, and there is likelihood that studies can begin with them before long.
C Prospects—These come principally from among those who have been dropped from church membership, and from among "unbelieving" relatives of church members—usually husbands or wives.
1. We should study this list frequently, every day if possible. Get to know personally the prospects in our field.
2. Pray earnestly for each person whose name is in the file.
3. In our prayers we should ask for specific guidance relative to the visitation schedule. (I have found myself in the neighborhood of one of my prospects whom I had not planned to visit that day. But I felt compelled to make a call, and I discovered that my visit was much needed and very effective.)
4. We should know our prospects. Let us study their face and reactions as we visit and talk. Soon we shall be able automatically to place them in the proper classification.
5. Never give up a prospect—that is, almost never. We might change his position in our file, because sometimes a prospect must "season" for a time. A change of circumstances in his life might make him an A or AA prospect.
Probably the pastor cannot visit all the prospects as often as is necessary. The laymen must be organized—beginning with the elders and deacons—to visit people whose names are in the prospect file. Following each visit a report should be made to the pastor, so the progress may be noted on the file card.
Sometimes a cross file provides handy reference. The prospects may be listed according to the section of the community in which they live. A good plan is to jot down on the back of the card the name of a church member living nearby. It may be that this member can visit the prospect, thus serving a twofold purpose:
1. The church member has an active part in soul winning right in his own neighborhood.
2. The faith of the prospect is strengthened because he sees a neighbor showing a personal interest in him.
We should make sure that our records are of such a nature that they will help us save time and energy. Learn to keep these records without worry or waste of time. Make them simple and efficient, so most of our time may be spent in visiting and studying with the people rather than in keeping records. The main thing is to make them workable for you.
Our Lord said of Himself: "The Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost" (Luke 19:10). He never allowed Himself to forget why He came, for He was always seeking and He was always saving. Those who are called to be His representatives must make the Master's motive their master motive in soul winning. Let us use our treasure chest of prospects well.