Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

About Being a Telephone Encourager (TE) or Internet Encourager (IE)

How can I qualify?

A: Any adult (age 18 or older) member of a Southern Baptist church can qualify.

Q: How much time do I have to give?
A: Each TE or IE decides how much time he or she will give and when to give it. The telephone and online chat systems are always open and, since you respond from your home, you can volunteer at any time. You may choose to give just an hour or two a month or as many as a few hours a day. Whatever God leads you to do is what we ask.

Q: What if I’m not available at my appointed time? Will calls or chat requests go to my telephone or computer anyway?
A: Actually, you don’t have an “appointed time.” We do encourage you to set aside specific times when you will plan to be available to take calls or respond to chat requests. However, we do not track your set times. You make yourself available by logging on. Calls come to your telephone only while you are logged on, so you control when calls can be directed to you. IEs encounter a similar log on and log off process as experienced with many websites.

Q: Can callers see my home telephone number or discover who I am?
A: We are very serious about protecting your privacy. All calls come through our centralized routing system and are forwarded to you, so there’s no way a caller can identify your telephone number. We have a firm policy that TEs give only their first name to callers—never their last name, telephone number or address—so you are completely anonymous.

Q: How many calls or chat requests will I receive if I volunteer for, say, one hour?
A: We really can’t give you a firm answer to that question. It depends on the call volume and the number of volunteers available at the time. Sometimes you may receive one call or chat request right after another, and other times you may be available for an hour and not receive any calls. We believe your availability is the important thing, and God honors your faithfulness in being available. We have seen that many times a TE may receive just one call, but that call may be a “divine appointment,” when you are connected with a caller who needs a ministry that God has uniquely equipped you to meet.

Q: I’m ashamed to admit it, but I’ve never shared the gospel with anyone. I want to, but I’m uncomfortable starting a witnessing conversation, and I’m not sure I’d know how to present the plan of salvation.
A: Your desire to share Christ is the most important quality here. We devote some time in training to helping you know how to do that. As for starting a witnessing conversation, remember that you did not initiate this call. Rather, the caller is responding to an invitation to receive information about new life in Christ. So, you are talking to someone who has already expressed an interest in the gospel and is likely eager to have you explain it to him or her.

About Using the ERC Number in Evangelistic Outreach

Who can use the ERC number?
A: Any Southern Baptist entity may use our response information. We do ask that you notify us ahead of time so we can plan to support your effort.

We do sometimes authorize groups other than Southern Baptists to use our response information. This does require prior authorization to protect both you and us from conflict of interest.

Q: What is your standard tagline?
A: The standard tag for TV, radio, website and print ads running our primary spiritual help number is: “To receive information about new life in Jesus Christ, call 1 888 JESUS-20.” The standard tag for billboards running the spiritual help number is: “Call 1 888 JESUS-20.” Any media announcement may add the line: “or visit our website at” ANY variation from the standard wording must be approved by ERC staff.

Q: How much does it cost for us to use the ERC number?
A: There is no cost for calls or contacts to use the spiritual help number (888 JESUS-20) or the website. You pay for any cost involved in placing the number. For example, if you want to have a billboard campaign using this number and/or Web address, you pay all costs associated with renting the billboards and creating the ad to place on them.

Q: Why should we use the ERC number rather than our own number in our evangelistic outreach?
A: There may be times when you will choose to use your own number and address for response and other times when you will choose to use us. Use us when you want to be able to provide a 24/7 response and you are not equipped to do that from your own resources.