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Churches needed to assist Evangelism Response Center

ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP)–While the North American Mission Board’s Evangelism Response Center averages well over a hundred calls each day, the system currently is facing an “emergency need” for churches willing to take referrals for follow-up with those who make decisions, according to ERC coordinators.

The ERC consists primarily of a network of volunteer “telephone encouragers” who take calls on a toll-free number from individuals seeking spiritual help. The number is broadcast on NAMB’s FamilyNet television network, as well as in evangelistic advertising campaigns throughout the country. More than 150,000 calls have been handled through the center since its debut in 1999.

Darel Robertson, decision counseling associate for NAMB, said the network of “covenant churches” enlisted to take referrals through the system has not grown enough to ensure effective follow-up.

“We’re looking to register a covenant church in every zip code in North America, and right now we’re not even close,” he said. “We’re only covering 10 percent.”

While the Evangelism Response Center does make efforts to work through local associations in finding churches to respond, the presence of covenant churches greatly streamlines the process during the critical time immediately after someone makes a spiritual decision.

“NAMB’s research has shown that if people making spiritual decisions are not contacted by a local church within 72 hours of making a decision, the likelihood that they’ll ever be assimilated into a local church is very low,” he said. “Therefore the most efficient way to make follow-up referrals is through churches where these people live.”

The process for becoming a covenant church is simple, he said, involving a registration form and brief self-training materials. Once a church is registered, it will be eligible to receive names of individuals in the area who have made decisions or requested information from a local church.

“Churches all over the United States have baptized new Christians, built attendance and effectively ministered to the community by following up on these new believers and interested seekers,” Robertson said.

Interested churches may call the Evangelism Response Center office at the North American Mission Board at (770) 410-6383, or e-mail [email protected]. To request materials by mail, write the ERC at the North American Mission Board, 4200 North Point Parkway, Alpharetta, GA 30022.

    About the Author

  • James Dotson