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By Steve R. Mills
Reach out and touch someone," the ad urges. The message is that telephoning can be a personal, sensitive way to contact family and friends. With a telephone in nearly every American household, churches are discovering the telephone as a tool for ministry in the congregation and community.
A phone ministry can provide several benefits.
You first need to determine your objectives. Do you want: an ongoing visitor follow-up program, a care ministry for your members, to start a branch Sunday school, or to discover new prospects?
Then you must develop a strategy that is compatible with the ministry objectives. (Several plans are included in the new TeleTOUCH Ministry Manual [order number 714-899, $2.95] from the Sunday School Promotion and Training Department.)
Prepare your materials. If you want to discover prospects or follow up on visitors, put together information packets about your church and ministries. If you are doing a community survey, design the survey instrument. If you are advertising an event, prepare the promotional piece(s).
Enlist and train your TeleTOUCH ministers. Communicate the ministry's mission, its value, and the caller's responsibilities. Role play the approach before making calls.
Keep accurate records such as the number of calls made, number of positive responses, number of rejections, those who attend another church, those who accept information, those who don't want information.
The following structure can be used for the Sunday School, youth, singles----all ministries of the church. This approach fosters increased lay participation, visitor retention, and member attendance.
Divide the church into groups of five households. Over each group place a TeleTOUCH minister. Over every five ministers, place an area minister, and over every five area ministers, place a regional minister. (It is possible to expand each level from five to ten if necessary.)
For follow-up, assign each visitor to a TeleTOUCH minister on a rotating basis, or set up a TeleTOUCH team to follow up on visitors/guests.
The reasons for TeleTOUCH ministries for members vary somewhat from those for visitors. For members your goals are to: provide love and care, discover and pray about needs, encourage involvement in Sunday School and other ministries, and recruit volunteers for service.
With visitors your goals are to: give love and encouragement, pray for needs, watch for evangelism opportunities, encourage attendance in the pastor's Welcome Class, and provide information about specific ministries to meet needs.
The team's purpose is to call homes in the church's ministry area and ask those who do not attend another local church regularly whether they would like to have information about your church and its ministries. Two weeks later call back to ask follow-up questions.
When you recruit your team, go over the following responsibilities with each one. A TeleTOUCH minister is expected to:
Is the phone for you? If you are looking for a great way to reach out and touch people in a busy world, it may be. Why not give it a try?
The new TeleTOUCH Ministry manual from the Sunday School Promotion and Training Department includes sample scripts for the calls, complete ministry descriptions, information for training TeleTOUCH ministers, and TeleTOUCH ministry forms.