You may be interested to know something of the burden I carry upon my heart concerning methods of work, and something about the results which have come by working along the lines for which I have such a heart burden. For several years I have observed, with concern, the ever-increasing expense of bringing a soul to the light of this message. I have seen the average cost climbing higher and higher each year, and I have prayed that God would show me a way to work for souls so that I might be an instrument in His hands which could be used successfully, and yet at less expense to the movement.
I began studying Christ's methods of evangelism, and was convinced that His methods are up-to-date in any age and for any class of people. I found 10 that He seemed to make no effort whatever to draw large crowds to hear Him, but that when they did come, they came usually as the result of personal work which He had done. I discovered that the personal work was of such a nature that even I could do it, and from the time this thing dawned upon my vision I have had a consuming ambition to work along those lines, and have given my best thought, study, and energies to learning how to work as my Master worked when He was upon earth.
As I look at the world and its needs, I see a people who are led astray by their religious teachers, just as the people were In the days of Christ. I find human beings acting and thinking very much as they did in His day; and I find them just as susceptible to sympathy, personal work, et cetera, as they were then. I look at the churches and church goers, and I find them " fed up " on oratory, scientific discourses, fine music, special singing, pictures, and the like, and I am convinced that the worldly churches can outdo us in all these things, unless we, too, plunge into a wild orgy of reckless spending in an effort to keep up with them in the matter of producing something striking for entertaining or drawing the crowds. The question then arose in my mind, Can we compete with the world in these things? And following this came the question, Should we attempt to compete with the world in these things? In answer to my questions, as I pondered these things in my heart from day to day, came the text: " I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth."
It occurred to me that, if the gospel is the power of God, and I have that gospel in my heart and learn how to give it to others, I shall have all the power I need to win men and women to salvation. With this gospel, even I can become invincible.
From that day I lost all desire for expensive apparatus and paraphernalia with which I might hope to at• tract large crowds, and in its place came a great yearning desire to work in an altogether different way to win souls. As I see it, we cannot hope to be able to compete with the world in musical attractions, oratory, and other expensive embellishments. But in one thing we are able to compete with the world, and with it can meet the world at any time and place and be sure of overwhelming victory,— we have the pure gospel of Jesus Christ; and it has the power of the mighty God in it; and it lifts up Christ, who, when lifted up, draws all men.
The Test of Experiment
With this kind of burden upon our hearts, my wife and I began our work here in this district, with five churches and one company, including three church schools. There have been many problems and responsibilities, which have taken up so much of our time that we have been able to devote but a small portion to actual work for those not of our faith. To reach all my churches each week, I must travel by auto, covering nearly 500 miles a week. Our own people were sadly in need of help, and a new church building had to be erected at one center. These things, together with the campaigns, have taken by far the major portion of our time from evangelistic work, and so we have not been able to prove, even to our own satisfaction, what could be done in a year by following enthusiastically the methods of work for which we have such a burden.
God has enabled us to bring our district over the top in the Harvest Ingathering and other campaigns, and each year has shown a decided gain in tithes and mission offerings. Our district reached 61 cents a week per member in 1925, and 66 cents a week per member in 1926. The first three months of this year also shows a very fine gain in tithes. This we believe to be an indication that God is working for our own people as they, too, get the burden for personal work. We have baptized sixty-five members since we have been here. Thus far in. 1927 we have had two baptisms, in which twenty-four persons were baptized, and we have two other classes for future candidates.
We have not rented any halls or pitched any tents or done any advertising; we have not had any stereopticon lectures; but we have made use of the free advertising space that has been so cordially given us in the newspapers. We are pressing our church members into service with the literature as far as possible, and using large quantities ourselves in connection with our work. We have our churches well organized. Some of the church members have done very well in giving Bible studies, and we now have two classes, numbering about fifty in all, who are meeting once each week to study the " Art of Personal Work " and the " Giving of Bible Studies." We expect to develop some very successful workers among the church members through this method of training. '
(To be concluded next month)