Appendix One – Establishing a Telephone Counseling Ministry





    -Set aside a private room for telephone counseling.

    -Establish one or more dedicated phone lines for receiving calls.

    -Phones should have hands-free headsets so counselors can write and/or use a computer terminal.

    -If you are using this counseling database, set up computers with the database and a shared printer.

    -Appoint a telephone counseling ministry coordinator who will recruit, train, and schedule counselors.

    Recruiting counselors.

    -Recruits must be born-again, as this is biblical counseling.

    -Recruits should be able to read and write in order to use the database effectively.

    -Recruits should be seasoned believers who are well-versed in the Word of God.

    -Recruits should be faithful men and women who follow-through on their commitments.

    -Recruits should express a passion for this type of ministry.

    -Establish prayer support.  Not everyone can or should be a telephone counselor, but you can involve everyone in praying for the ministry.

    Training counselors:

    -Use the introductory chapters of this manual.

    -Train recruits in how to use the database.

    -Advise that if a caller is using obscene, vulgar, or abusive language, they should terminate the call.

    -Warn recruits to never give medical advice, i.e., advising a caller to stop taking medication.

    -Warn recruits that they should never give legal advice.

    -Establish a call schedule. Set regular hours for the telephone counseling ministry.   Weekday evenings are generally the most active time for receiving calls, so fill these time slots first.  Weekends are usually the least active.

    -Advertise the telephone counseling ministry in the church bulletin, local newspapers, flyers, churches,  local media, and small business-sized cards.


    Answer the call by saying:This is the  “name of counseling line.”My name is ______ (use  your first name only)With whom am I speaking?

    Wait for response.

    How may I help you?

    For A Routine Call-Use the guidelines in this manual to discuss and respond appropriately to the caller’s  problems or questions.

    -Pray with the caller.

    -Ask for the caller’s email or mailing address so you can send them the appropriate notes regarding the problem or question you have discussed.

    -Immediately follow-up the call by sending an email or print-out of the topics discussed, along with any personal comments you desire to add.


    For an Emergency Call(violence or suicide in progress) -Ask for the caller’s address and telephone number. Tell them you need this information in case you get disconnected.

    -Have another counselor call emergency services to dispatch assistance while you stay on the phone with the caller.

    -Try to keep the caller talking until help arrives.

    -Do not terminate the call until the emergency responders have arrived.



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