Necessity was the proverbial mother of invention for Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) personnel in Colombia, where circumstances spurred what seems to be an effective, new approach to evangelism.

According to spokesmen for the religious television network based in Virginia Beach, Virginia, contract problems caused the CBN station in the capital city of Bogotá to stop broadcasting last summer (CBN officials say the station is scheduled to resume broadcasting soon). So rather than remain idle, network personnel and counselors began experimenting with telephone evangelism.

Last July, volunteer counselors of the Bogotá 700 Club counseling center began staffing five telephones, twelve hours a day. Their reported goal: to contact every home and office in the metropolitan Bogotá area of 5 million population. Contacts are asked whether they would be interested in hearing about Christ. If so, they are counseled by phone, and a follow-up visit is scheduled.

Response has been positive, according to CBN personnel. An estimated 300 to 400 people are making Christian commitments each month. Arturo Paba, coordinator of counseling, said, “It appears that people are far freer and more ready to speak about Christian matters over the phone; often, it is as though people have simply been waiting for such a call.”

During follow-up visits, CBN workers ask to show video tapes of 700 Club programs. The director of a private college was converted this way, and two weeks later she requested a video screening of the 700 Club for her school. Over 130 pupils made commitments to Christ as a result. The same woman requested another showing for a monthly parent-teachers meeting, and thirty-five parents received Christ, three of whom later opened their homes to weekly Bible study and prayer meetings.

CBN officials bill their telephone evangelism program as a combination of mass and personal evangelism. From 6,000 to 10,000 calls are made each month, and, since the calls are person-to-person, there is an intimate approach.

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