Telephone Witnessing—A Way to Reach Many
1 Evidence abounds that we are now living in “the last days.” (2 Tim. 3:1) Without a doubt the time left for Kingdom preaching and disciple making is reduced. Each of us, therefore, should act with urgency to help others become approved worshipers of Jehovah God.
2 The apostle Paul felt his responsibility to make public declaration of his faith. (Rom. 10:10) He knew that God’s “will is that all sorts of men should be saved and come to an accurate knowledge of truth.” (1 Tim. 2:4) Based on his knowledge of truth, Paul considered himself to be a debtor to all. This increased his sense of urgency in declaring the good news. He said: “There is eagerness on my part to declare the good news . . . For I am not ashamed of the good news; it is, in fact, God’s power for salvation to everyone having faith.”—Rom. 1:14-17.
3 Do we personally feel this same indebtedness and manifest a similar eagerness to reach everyone in our territory? While we prefer sharing the good news with others face-to-face, as in door-to-door and street witnessing, why limit our activity to this? It is possible that many individuals in our congregation territory have never spoken with one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. How can this be?
4 Unworked Territory: Does your territory have high-rise apartments guarded by doormen? Perhaps there are high-security apartment complexes that are off-limits to door-to-door visitation. Has the congregation been denied entry to preach the good news in a military base or a private subdivision located in the territory? Very likely some individuals living in such places have never heard about the blessings of God’s Kingdom. Are there people who are never found at home?
5 We need not despair of reaching these people because they are difficult to contact. How does Jehovah view the situation? The apostle Peter writes: “Jehovah . . . does not desire any to be destroyed but desires all to attain to repentance. . . . Furthermore, consider the patience of our Lord as salvation.” (2 Pet. 3:9, 15) Lives are involved, and Jehovah is interested in each one. (Matt. 18:14) How can we show the kind of compassion and mercy that Jehovah displays for these individuals? By seeing that everyone in our territory receives a witness.—Acts 20:20, 21; Rev. 14:6, 7.
6 Organized for Thorough Activity: In the past the Society has encouraged those who are confined to their homes, either temporarily or permanently because of illness or physical disability, to make good use of the telephone. Those who find themselves in such a situation should continue this fine work. Also, reports have been received that a number of brothers and sisters, including regular and auxiliary pioneers, have used telephone witnessing as an adjunct to their usual door-to-door ministry.
7 Some congregations have made a concerted effort to arrange for telephone witnessing. When elders take the lead in organizing the territories and providing support either personally or through other publishers, greater success is reported. The service overseer is responsible for supervising this activity. However, any qualified elder or responsible ministerial servant may be selected by the body of elders to work closely with the service overseer in organizing the work.
8 Publishers who have overcome their initial reluctance and have gained experience in telephone witnessing have found it to be a productive field. At the outset, perhaps only a few publishers and pioneers will make these calls. After they become familiar and comfortable with this type of witnessing, their enthusiasm and encouraging experiences may move others to learn how to share in this interesting aspect of the preaching work.
9 Where to Begin: It may be possible to get names of residents from the directory in the lobby of an apartment building. Then the telephone numbers may be looked up in the telephone directory. A city directory in the local library may list the names of occupants of every home and apartment in the community. In some communities a special book that lists telephone numbers by street locations is available. Photocopies of pages from the latest edition could serve as territories. The size of these territories should be kept relatively small.
10 In all forms of witnessing activity, it is most beneficial to keep accurate records. This is also true for telephone witnessing. Carefully note helpful information on a house-to-house record, such as the subject discussed, the interests of the householder, and the subject that will be discussed on the next call. Indicate whether another telephone call should be made at a later date or a personal visit has been arranged.
11 Personal Schedule Needed: A regular routine will help build your confidence and ward off apprehension. It is best to call when people are more likely to be home, such as in the evening and on the weekends. Schedule a regular time each week to make these calls. Some have found the hour before the Congregation Book Study to be a productive time. Find out what works best in your area.
12 How to Prepare: Talk with others who enjoy this privilege of service and get ideas. Always be positive. Look to Jehovah as your source of power and strength, and seek his direction through prayer. (Ps. 27:14; Phil. 4:13) Plan to put your whole heart into this activity, just as in other forms of witnessing.—Compare Mark 12:33.
13 Experience has proved that sitting at a desk or a table can be helpful. Sitting in an upright chair promotes clear thinking and concentration. Lay out all the witnessing materials that you may use—tracts, the literature currently being featured, the latest magazines or some interesting older copies, the Bible, the Reasoning book, an invitation to the meetings with specific meeting times and Kingdom Hall address listed, a pen or a pencil, and house-to-house records. Have your literature readily available, perhaps even open to a particular article. Thoroughly rehearse your presentation. Keep in mind that the purpose of your call is to give a witness and to arrange a visit with the individual as soon as possible.
14 Making the Actual Call: Relax. Be yourself. A warm, pleasing voice is needed for effective telephone witnessing. The smile on your face will be reflected in your tone of voice. Speak slowly and clearly, using sufficient volume. Be courteous, patient, and friendly. Do not fear rejection. Accept the fact that people may not be interested in your message. View it the same as you would in your regular door-to-door ministry.
15 In your introduction, state your full name. It is best not to say that you are phoning all the people in a particular building or complex, as this may result in raising barriers.
16 Many introductions from the Reasoning book may be read word for word in a conversational manner. For example, you might introduce yourself this way: “Hello, my name is ________. I am calling you because I am unable to come and see you personally.” Then, without pausing, say: “I am interested in getting your view on whether the quality of life will ever improve. Most of us are glad to be alive, but many wonder, ‘Is a genuinely happy life possible?’ How do you feel about that? [Allow time for answer.] What would you say is one of the biggest obstacles to happiness today?” Or after introducing yourself as above, you could say: “I am involved in an international volunteer work, and I would like your thoughts on the meaning of life. As we get up in years, we realize that life is very short. Is this all that life is meant to be? How do you feel about it?” (See Reasoning book, page 13, subheading “Life/Happiness.”) A review of the suggestions in Our Kingdom Ministry of July 1990, page 4, with regard to using introductions and avoiding objections faced in telephone witnessing will provide further helpful information.
17 Use the Bible early in the discussion. At some point in the conversation, when it seems appropriate to do so, mention that you are one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Allow the householder to share in the conversation. Do not be afraid to listen if the person wants to share what he thinks. Thank him for his expressions and observations. Be ready to commend. However, if the individual begins to dominate the conversation or argue, tactfully terminate the call. Let God’s spirit direct your efforts and help you search for those whose hearts are right toward him.
18 It is better for you to bring the conversation to a close than to leave it to the householder to do so. You can conclude simply by inviting the person to the public talk at the Kingdom Hall, giving the address and meeting times. You may also ask if a visit may be made to his home to speak with him further on the subject discussed. It may even be possible to present literature effectively over the telephone. Magazines may be offered with the goal of starting a magazine route.
19 Share in the Joy of Telephone Witnessing: Will all the calls become Bible studies? No, but some will. For example, one sister made over 300 calls in one month. After introducing herself, she explained why she was telephoning rather than visiting each householder. She then gave a short presentation. This resulted in 12 good calls. She is still contacting three interested persons by telephone, and four others agreed that she could visit them at their homes. One individual accepted the Live Forever book and is now being visited regularly.
20 Jesus Christ commanded his disciples to push the witnessing work to “the most distant part of the earth.” (Acts 1:8) In some areas, carrying out this command means witnessing by telephone. After reviewing the above material, ask yourself: ‘Can I do more in my congregation territory to preach the good news to “all sorts of men,” including those who are living in areas never before reached?’ Brothers who have followed these suggestions have been greatly encouraged by the results. They have found telephone witnessing to be an exceptional way to ‘glorify their ministry.’ (Rom. 11:13) May you experience this same joy through telephone witnessing.