The Better Workman

Articles for improvement in method and technique.

By J. Russell Mitchell

By R.S. Fries

Prison Work

By J. Russell Mitchell

Eight years ago I received chaplain of an invitation from the chaplain of the United States Federal Prison to hold a gospel service in the Protestant chapel. I accepted the invitation, and  he gave a twenty-five-minute Bible study on the subject of " The Inspiration of the Scriptures." Only forty minutes was allowed for this service, and the remaining fifteen minutes was filled by a quartet of singers who accompanied me and sang a number of songs in harmony with the theme of the Bible study.

Since that time we have been invited to go to the prison four or five times each year and hold a service, and we have always gone. Our audience num­bers from 1,800 to 2,000, and although these men do not hesitate to give un­mistakable evidences of disapproval if they do not like the speaker, they have always been most courteous and at­tentive to our teaching and singing. We have received requests for personal interviews by several of the prisoners, and have placed quantities of literature with them. I have presented such sub­jects as the love of God, the second coming of Christ, the plan of salvation, the false basis of evolution, etc.

I find that in order to hold the at­tention of these men, it is necessary to avoid repetition, to be enthusiastic, to thoroughly believe the message I present, and to let them see that I be­lieve it.

The chaplain opens the service by announcing a song, which is sung bythe entire congregation. This is followed by prayer, and the announce­ments, after which the meeting is turned over to us. We usually begin. by telling the men how glad we are to be with them, and that our quartet will sing one of the old gospel hymns for them. The approval of the singing is always indicated by prolonged hand clapping, which will not be silenced until at least one more song is sung. Then follows the gospel talk, in very simple language, interspersed with two or three illustrations.

In talking to such an audience there must never be any suggestion of a thought that the speaker considers the men as sinners above all others. It must ever be held before them that the grace of God is free to all men, and that all are hopelessly lost without it. They must be made to sense that God sees them in prison, and that God's love for them there is as true and real as it would be if they were free men; that salvation is not excluded by prison bars. The contact with these Men is very interesting, and there is inspira­tion in feeling the presence of the Holy Spirit in our midst and seeing the evi­dences of His work upon hearts.

Atlanta, Ga.

A Baptismal Certificate

By R.S. Fries

To my mind, the advantages to be gained by the presentation of a bap­tismal certificate to the new convert, justifies the trouble and expense fully jusse involved. These advantages may be enumerated as follows:

1. As the questions are answered by the candidate in the presence of the church members, it establishes confi­dence on the part of the church that they are admitting to church fellowship individuals who are fully in­structed and are in harmony with what Seventh-day Adventists teach.

2. This is a preventive measure, in case of apostasy on the part of any, against any one in the church saying, " Well, Elder So-and-so did not teach them the whole truth! If he had, they would not have dropped out."

3. It gives the church confidence in the pastor to know that the work of soul winning is being done in a sys­tematic, painstaking manner, and that a high standard for entrance into the church is maintained.

4. As the church members listen to the questions to which the new con­verts are asked to respond, there is of necessity a silent, individual check­ing up on the points of faith and conduct expected to be maintained by Seventh-day Adventists, and often there are discovered some weak points in their life which require adjust­ment.

5. The certificate placed with new members serves as a reminder to them of what is involved in church mem­bership and of the promises made. While the certificate does not state everything that Seventh-day Advent­ists believe, it does require that the candidate be thoroughly indoctrinated in the truth; and none who answer these questions in the affirmative can ever make excuse by saying, " When I came into the church, I did not know you people believed such things."

Fresno, Calif.

*Face side of card, size 81/2 x 436 inches ruled-line border around printed matter.

**Blank ruled line, to be ailed in as re­quired.

***Particular text chosen as " watchword " by the baptismal class.


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By J. Russell Mitchell

By R.S. Fries

January 1930

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