The Head Chaplain at Adventist Information Ministry is now Andrew Vargas. He took over in June after serving as a Referral Chaplain. He was on the staff at the Sacramento Central Church before coming to the seminary. He brings good ideas to the position and is very engaging with the Referral Chaplains he supervises. We appreciate that he is proactive in training customer service representatives (CSRs) how to increase their upgrades.
Upgrades are key to our ministry at AIM. It is important for us to be efficient in taking orders, but we are a spiritual ministry and it’s our goal to Listen to caller’s needs, take their concerns to God in Prayer, and then try to Connect them with a local church for follow up and growth. We spend time training CSRs to develop these skills. So far this year AIM has sent out 383 Bible Guides (in addition to those ordered through various other ministries) and had another 451 people request In Person Bible Studies (IPBS). We have also offered Spiritual Guidance to many callers, answered Bible related questions and dealt with a number of other types of situations.
We are currently journeying with 475 people that have been connected to a local church or are in the process. As you can see from the stories below, there can be significant time between when the call comes to AIM and the person decides on baptism. AIM endeavors to stay in touch with the local pastor to follow these cases, however, it can be a while before we learn of the baptisms.
We are aware that about 50% of those who tell a CSR they desire IPBS actually proceed with the local church. Often they change their mind either when we call to confirm the interest or when the local church calls. This is normal in all forms of evangelism. This means, however, that presenting media that generates large call volumes through AIM results in greater numbers of interest follow-up at the local church level.
The Role of the Media Ministries is to create a flood of interests through their programming, station placement and their weekly offers.
The Role of AIM is to collect those interests and upgrade as many as we can to pass on to the local church. Directing people to websites and other contact methods may be perceived as costing less than live answer, however there really is no substitute for personal connection and upgrade. We need both!
The Role of the Local Church is to develop the interest into a friend and a believer.
Here are some stories shared by Pastors or Interests :
Chaplain Baptism Stories
On May 5, 2018 Debbie B. called to request the Amazing Facts offer Mark of the Beast. She called again June 24 and requested Did God Create the Devil and the Bible Correspondence Course. CSR Nichelle L. recognized a deeper spiritual interest and asked if she would like to speak with one of our Chaplains for spiritual encouragement. Referral Chaplain Philip contacted Debbie and she requested studies with a local pastor. Chaplain Philip contacted Pastor Desmond Haye at the Wakefield church in Bronx, NY. Pastor Haye worked as a chaplain at AIM from 2007-2009. Debbie connected with the church and used the Amazing Facts guides for her study. Debbie was baptized July 28, 2018.
"The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” - Luke 10:2
On May 22, 2016 CSR Mack received a request from Eugene for personal Bible studies. After confirming Eugene’s interest Chaplain Brian began looking for someone to study with Eugene. He found Elder Steve Hanson from the Cypress SDA church. This upgrade originated with a call from It Is Written. Amazed at what he was learning, Eugene invited his sister to come listen to what Elder Hanson was saying.
Both were impressed how clearly the Bible spoke. Every time a Bible study guide was finished the siblings would send it to their older brother in California. He too was touched and started reaching out to his local Adventist church in CA.
These folk became more like a small support group. During this time Ruby, a friend of Eugene, was invited to join. Multiple church members would visit the group and have a good time. Eventually after faithfully studying the Bible and making relationships with church members, Eugene decided on baptism. His new birthday was on April 29, 2017. In addition, his sister, older brother, and Ruby were baptized around the same time.
“For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires…” Ecclesiastes 11:1
On 12/17/16, Debra called Amazing Facts. The CSR noticed that she was seriously interested in having Bible studies and renewing her Christian faith. They upgraded the call for visitation and on 1/22/17 Joel was able to connect her with Pastor Snyder of the Altoona, PA Church. After the Pastor began meeting with Debra and her husband, the Bible studies started to take place on a regular basis.
Even though they were consistent for a great deal of the time, Debra eventually discovered that she had a lump in her breast which caused her much stress, resulting in a break from the Bible studies. Once she started the studies again, Pastor Snyder saw that Debra and her husband were ready for baptism.
After a year of establishing their faith in the Word of God, Debra and Marvin were baptized! Debra, along with her husband Marvin, gave their lives to Christ through baptism on June 2, 2018 at the Altoona SDA church. Through the power of the Word of God, the Garber’s experienced transformation and renewal, a fresh start in life!
Ms. Julia J. called the It Is Written phone line after watching their television program. On 4/21/16, she was referred through AIM’s Chaplain Department to Bible worker, Shane Mangroo at the Centerville SDA Church in Ohio to receive Personal Bible Studies. Mr. Mangroo let us know that the studies were coming along well. After several months of study, the Lord moved Julia’s heart to accept the truths of God’s word and on 6/9/17 she decided that she wanted to be baptized. Praise God, it came to pass and she was baptized on October 28, 2017. Continue to keep her in your prayers as she grows in her relationship with the Lord. Praise the Lord!
Douglas Janssen is Assistant to the Director for Adventist Information Ministry