As you sort interest cards into follow-up categories, it is hard to know which people might become members of your church. Because your time is limited, you want to visit people who show the greatest potential for baptism. And you want to reach them before their interest wanes. That's why the goal of Adventist Information Ministry (AIM) is to call you within twenty-four hours about home Bible study requests that have come from your community. After people watch Breath of Life, Faith for Today, or It Is Written, they can phone AIM. When viewers want to study the Bible, an AIM chaplain will call you ASAP—as soon as possible.
If any pastoral visit is urgent, chaplains attempt to set up a three-way conference call so the person can make an appointment with you immediately.
"With AIM I can get a referral faster, ask questions, and get more details," says Don Miller, pastor of the Valdosta, Georgia, church. "Besides, it's more personal. " When you are able to contact people within a short time after they have requested a visit, it lets them know that you care.
John Goss wanted a pastor to visit him, so he called AIM. After Goss hung up, his request was relayed to Henry Zollbrecht, pastor of the Payette, Idaho, church. Within ninety minutes of the time Goss had called AIM, Zollbrecht met with him to answer his questions about why Adventists worship on Sabbath. When the pastor invited Goss to attend church the next day, he accepted. Three and a half months later, after a Revelation Seminar, Zollbrecht baptized the six-foot-four ex-Marine.
AIM operators are on duty twenty-four hours a day to refer Bible study or pastoral visit requests to you as soon as possible. However, general interest cards are sent by first-class mail to your conference office within several days after they have come to AIM. Included on some of these cards are comments that help you understand special needs or problems that an interest is experiencing.
Robert Ammons, pastor of the Omaha Memorial church, is able to start Bible studies with nearly half of the people from his area who send in general interest cards. Because he files his interest cards, Ammons can see how many times an It Is Written viewer has called AIM for Pastor Vandeman's books. After a viewer has received at least three books, Ammons or one of his laymen visits the viewer and suggests Bible studies.
Coupons placed in the Signs of the Times, Adventist Review, Happiness Digest, and Cosmic Conflict stimulate readers to call or write AIM for Bible studies or a pastoral visit. Because the AIM chaplains want to make sure that people understand that you will come to their homes for studies or a visit, they call the persons who mailed coupons to evaluate their interest level before refer ring the requests to you.
Responses yield results
A Signs of the Times magazine was given to Martha Carroll during a Revelation Seminar. As she read the magazine Carroll found AIM's 800 number in a coupon that invited her to call for more information. Because Carroll wanted to know more about Adventists she phoned AIM. After listening to her, an operator suggested that a representative from the magazine could answer any questions she might have. Because Carroll agreed to have someone visit her, an AIM chap lain referred her request to Linda Walker, a Bible worker in Philadelphia. Walker studied the Bible with Carroll as she continued to attend the seminar. When the meetings concluded, Carroll was baptized—just 19 days after her phone call to AIM.
There is another way you can find Bible study interests in your community. AIM has a People Helping People (PHP) postcard that you can include with any literature that your members distribute. If people want to study the Bible, they can mail the PHP postcard to AIM. When the postcards arrive, AIM chaplains confirm the interest of people who have requested Bible studies by calling them. They also ask about a convenient time for you to begin the studies. Then a chaplain calls you as soon as possible.
Olivia Williams mailed a PHP post card to AIM from Staten Island, because she wanted a pastor to study the Bible with her. When a chaplain called Williams, he learned that she had completed the New Life Bible Guides from the Voice of Prophecy. And he also found that she watched the It Is Written telecast. He called Pastor Stephen Bauer, of the Staten Island church, who started Bible studies with her and soon baptized her.
PHP postcards are available to you at a cost of $5 per one hundred. The charge covers some of the telephone evaluation that each card receives from an AIM chaplain before it is referred to you. You can place your order by calling AIM's toll-free number, 1-800-253-3000.
People in your community may call AIM's 800 number to register for Revelation seminars. Before you place the toll-free number in your brochures, however, you should call AIM to make arrangements. You will be charged $1.20 for each phone call that AIM answers for you. For that small fee, AIM will answer your phone calls twenty-four hours a day and then mail you interest cards for all the people registered for your seminar.
You can use AIM's number for other evangelistic projects: You can reach remote populations and establish new churches. AIM will follow up the people who respond to your radio program. You can use the 800 number in your newspaper advertisements.
When a man could not reach a Kentucky pastor on a Friday afternoon because the pastor's telephone was knocked out by a flood, AIM put him in touch with the first elder. The ex-coal miner visited the church the next day and continued to attend regularly. Several months later Pastor Paul Hoover baptized Tivis Lyon and his wife, Kay.
After the Lyons' baptism, Mrs. Paul Hoover concluded a letter to AIM by saying, "Without your work this story could have turned out very differently. Today a young church in Appalachia has a very active couple and two sweet children in its midst."