A New Venture in Evangelism

Spotlighting a new venture in soul winning--telephone evangelism.

O.M.B. is the managing editor of THE MINISTRY.

WITH this issue of THE MINISTRY we  feature a new concept in soul winning —telephone evangelism. More people are using telephones every day. There are now 200 million in all parts of the world. Of these, 93.7 million are in the United States. It is time to put these telephones to use for God.

Such programs as Dial-a-Prayer, Smokers Dial, Drinkers Dial, and Dial the Answer, are already familiar to some of us and have proved their effectiveness.

Now it has been demonstrated that mul­tiplied thousands can be reached in this same way with the full message and at low cost.

You will read with more-than-usual in­terest the feature article in this journal by Harold E. Metcalf, which appears on page 4. He reports that in eight months' time in Atlanta, 80,000 called and listened to the daily message, and 11,500 of these en­rolled in the Study Guides.

C. M. Bailey, pastor of the Houston church of the Southwest Region Confer­ence, has also ventured forth with this pro­gram. He writes, "We have been operating for nearly seven weeks, and the response has been tremendous. We have approxi­mately 1,000 persons who have enrolled in the Bible school and are receiving progres­sive instruction. And we have a listening audience of approximately three times this number who have not given their names."

According to Pastor Bailey this program has involved the entire church member­ship in active missionary activity. The Health and Welfare department is caring for the needy that are found by this program. The members of the MV department are visiting the youth who call, and the laymen are busily engaged in follow-up work. On a recent weekend 1,500 con­tacts were made to encour­age individuals to dial the number.

Other churches are also launching into this pro­gram or making plans to begin soon. C. E. Rudley writes from Shreveport, Louisiana: "With a mini­mum of advertising our telephone rings continu­ously each day. Of the number who call, an aver­age of twenty a day will leave their name and ad­dress to be enrolled in our Family Bible School." He also states:

"There are backsliders now attending church because they want to hear more about the subjects presented daily on the telephone." In advertising it is made known that the program is sponsored by the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

V. L. Roberts, president of the South­west Region Conference, reports six ma­chines now in operation in his field. In addition to two in Houston and one in Shreveport, there is one in Oklahoma City, Tyler, and San Antonio, Texas.

"Dial Truth" is the name used by Har­old Lindsay, pastor of the Richmond, Vir­ginia, church. During its first week "Dial Truth" brought an average of 500 calls a day in answer to a single two-line ad ap­pearing in the local newspaper. A second and third machine had to be installed at once. Elder Lindsay has been carrying on ex­perimentation and research in this field for some time, and it was due largely to his vision of the potentialities in this type of evangelism that led to the establishment of a special committee by the General Con­ference which was to explore the possibili­ties of telephone evangelism and submit recommendations that might give direc­tion for this plan.

The special committee, under the chair­manship of D. W. Hunter, associate secre­tary of the General Conference, has now met. Presentations were made by Harold Lindsay and Harold Metcalf, outlining the unique opportunities of this type of evan­gelism. Representatives from Record-0- Fone and Code-a-phone were present to demonstrate the use and functions of the respective machines. Almost a full day was given to discussion. Out of this discussion came the following recommendations:

RECOMMENDATIONS

Whereas we ought to use every possible avenue for sharing the message of this hour; and

Whereas telephone evangelism is finding success with such programs as Teen Dial, Slim Line, Smokers Dial, and Dial Your Family Bible (as used in Southern Union); and

Whereas telephone evangelism offers the follow­ing unique advantages-

  1. It makes truth perpetually available-24 hours a day;
  2. It places an electronic secretary on duty 24 hours a day to record requests of the interested or persons in stress;
  3. It provides an avenue to homes in lands where radio and television time are not available to the church;
  4. It is a "private, in-the-ear" approach to people who would not want to be seen watching or listening to a religious pro­gram or attending a church service;
  5. It provides entrance to all homes with telephones;
  6. It provides entrance also to business offices at any time;
  7. The message can be re-dialed and heard over and over again, so that an important scriptural reference is not missed because it was given but once;
  8. A listener can hear something he likes and urge someone else to dial and listen to it, because it has not gone "off the air";
  9. The service can be linked to existing Ad­ventist radio and TV programs; the Bible courses can be a part of their service;
  10. It pulls names by asking for an immediate response, now, to the message the listener has just heard, and his reaction is auto­matic;
  11. It can provide numerous bonafide-interest names for literature evangelist contacts as well as lay evangelism contacts as Bible courses are completed (10,500 names in Atlanta in seven months);

We recommend, That the General Conference give study to the implementation of telephone evangelism on a church-wide basis with guide­lines established to assure quality and sound, coordinated' operation. These would give direc­tion in the areas of (1) brevity, (2) effectiveness via a personal approach, (3) technical accepta­bility, (4) coordination with existing Bible cor­respondence schools, (5) well-planned follow-up.

Further recommended, That study be given the existing types of electronic equipment designed for this type of evangelism and specific informa­tion be prepared on its availability, qualifications, and cost; this information to accompany the guidelines, pending acceptance of the pro­gram.

—D. W. HUNTER, Chairman M. CAROL HETZELL, Secretary

We thank God for this new method for reaching the masses with the gospel. We pray for His guidance as these recom­mendations are implemented.

O.M.B. 

 

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O.M.B. is the managing editor of THE MINISTRY.

November 1967

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