NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–When most hear the word “telemarketer,” some-not-too flattering descriptions immediately come to mind. Irritating, annoying, nuisance and disruptive are just a few that can be repeated. But for Jim Kuhne of Fayetteville, Ga., only one description surfaces: souls in need of Christ.
Kuhne, a member of McDonough Road Baptist Church, had recently completed the 16-week FAITH study when he made the radical decision to use the phone lines as a medium for his new mission field.
FAITH is a strategy combining evangelism and Sunday school. It originated at First Baptist Church, Daytona Beach, Fla., and has been introduced to Southern Baptists by LifeWay Christian Resources. FAITH is endorsed by the North American Mission Board.
“At first, like most people who would be honest, telemarketers, phone survey pollsters, etc., I considered a nuisance,” admitted Kuhne. “That is why I invested in caller ID. When I originally made the statement that ‘next time a telemarketer calls me I am going to ask (what they think it takes for a person to go to heaven)’ I said it in jest to our pastor, thinking that would be a good way to get rid of them.
“God used that as an opportunity,” he continued. “I realized shortly after I had said it that the people I was referring to were souls that he loves as much as he loves me. I then made the commitment to God that I would go through with what I had previously joked about.”
Kuhne had to wait two weeks for his first opportunity. Although he says that his family usually gets frequent phone solicitation calls, it seems that “Satan had call block on our line.” However, that block was lifted with a resounding ring one Saturday afternoon as three callers from the local gas company got the sales pitch of a lifetime.
“When the phone rang and my daughter told me that it said ‘out of area,’ I immediately told her to pick it up!” recalls Kuhne. The caller, Claudia, presented her sales offer and after Kuhne asked for more information through the mail, she prepared to hang up and go on to her next call. But Kuhne wasn’t finished. He asked Claudia what she thought it took to get to heaven.
“She gave me the ‘works’ answer (indicating belief that a person could go to heaven by doing good things),” Kuhne said. “So I asked her if I could share what the Bible said.” Claudia agreed, and Kuhne walked her through the FAITH presentation.
“When I asked her if she would like to consider accepting this free gift, she said sure … if I’d help her with the product she was selling. I told her that I would consider her offer, if she would also consider mine. I told her to call me if she had any questions, because this was the most important decision she could ever make.”
Three minutes later the phone rang again.
“When I saw that it was again out of area, I was sure that it was Claudia calling back. But when I picked up the phone it was Marie, also from the gas company.” After Marie gave her sales pitch, Kuhne asked her “the question.”
“Marie also gave the works answer. But after I shared FAITH with her, you could hear in her voice that she was touched. She said it was the most beautiful thing that she had heard. When I asked her if she wanted to accept this free gift, she said she would love to, but didn’t know how.” Kuhne then led Marie in the prayer of salvation.
“You could almost hear her just lift of the ground. I told her that Jesus wasn’t ashamed of her, so she shouldn’t be ashamed of him. I also told her to find a church and then to find Claudia and share with her what she had done.”
When the phone rang for the third time 30 minutes later, Kuhne didn’t even bother to check the caller ID. But he couldn’t help but laugh as he heard the gas company sales pitch again. This time the messenger was a man named Gabriel.
“I started laughing in the middle of it, and Gabriel asked if something was wrong,” Kuhne said. I told him about Claudia and Marie, then asked him the question. He told me that the only way to heaven was faith in Jesus Christ. I immediately asked him to go find Marie, then the two of them should go find Claudia and witness to her.”
“Witnessing to someone on the telephone’s easy,” Kuhne said. “The worst that could happen is an ugly response. You just have to remember, they’re not rejecting you, they’re rejecting Christ.
“I would much rather have somebody curse me out for sharing the gospel than for God to say ‘Jim, you had the opportunity to share Christ with this guy, but you chose not to,’ and for me to have to watch that person go to hell. Fear is taken away in knowing what the alternative for that person could be.”
Kuhne still thinks about and prays for the people he witnessed to that day, as well as for the people he has shared the FAITH presentation with since then.
“For [Marie] I pray that he give her the strength to faithfully walk in his light. For [Claudia], I pray that God would use the truth to work in her life to bring her to a saving knowledge of him. And for Gabriel, I pray that he will become bold enough to share his faith.”