OBVIOUSLY, our primary function as a church is not that of humanitarian service, but rather to proclaim the gospel of a soon-coming Lord and how to be ready for that day. I am convinced that the telephone can greatly increase our effectiveness in hastening that message to the world. It can be very productive in screening interests, thus saving time and money running down names. It can be used to set up appointments and thereby increase efficiency. Finally, it can be the avenue of communicating the truth on a one-to-one basis to those who have been found through visitation and telephone screening.
One thing we discovered as we began to use the telephone for follow-up work was the fact that people were willing to take Bible studies over the telephone. We therefore decided to expand this area of ministry, seeking to perfect it and put it to work.
We formed a Telephone Bible Instructors' band, consisting of twelve women, held a Sabbath afternoon seminar introducing the plan, and provided some training on how to use the telephone. The plan I presented that afternoon to the women of the Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, church, is outlined in the box on page 10.
As so often happens, the follow-up was the weakest part of the program. Within three or four weeks, eight of the women discovered that they did not have time to continue or felt it just wasn't their gift. Four continued on faithfully, two of whom became quite successful with the plan. One of the TBI's carried one interest all the way through the Focus on Living course and is now coming down to the last few lessons on the New Life course put out by Voice of Prophecy. Another of the TBI's has involved twelve people regularly and has taken them through the Focus on Living and is now into the intermediate course on the Life and Teachings of Jesus. The third TBI also has twelve Bible studies going each week, is taking them through Focus on Living, and has made the transition into the Life and Teachings course. As of yet, we have had no one in church nor have we had face to face contact with the interests. Everything that has been done has been by telephone and mail.
Editor's Note: See pdf for the Telephone Bible Instructors' Plan