ALPHARETTA, Ga. – The North American Mission Board’s Evangelism Response Center faces an “emergency need” for churches willing to take referrals to follow up with those who decide to become Christian.
The ERC’s network of volunteer “telephone encouragers” take toll-free calls from individuals seeking spiritual help. Averaging well over 100 calls per day, the ERC have received 150,000 calls since its debut in 1999. Now, the ERC is seeking a network of “covenant churches” willing to take referrals through the system 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," said Darel Robertson, decision-counseling associate for NAMB. "We're only covering 10 percent."
According to Robertson, 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."
"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.
When a church signs up to being a covenant church, it will be eligible to receive the names of individuals in the area who made decisions or requested information for a local church. Registered churches go through a brief self-training material to assist the process.
By Paulina C.