The Gospel Preached and Practiced

In connection with an evangelistic ef­fort held in one of the large cities of the East, it was my privilege to witness a practical demonstration of the great possibilities of combining the preach­ing of the word with Christian help work.

By A.E. Sanderson

In connection with an evangelistic ef­fort held in one of the large cities of the East, it was my privilege to witness a practical demonstration of the great possibilities of combining the preach­ing of the word with Christian help work. We are told that "the medical missionary work [of which Christian help work is a part] is the gospel in illustration.""Testimonies," Vol. VI, p. 241. Also, "genuine medical mis­sionary work is the gospel practiced." Id., Vol. VIII, p. 168. And in the Bible it is stated, "He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the Lord; and that which he hath given will He pay him again." Prov. 19: 17. All this we found to be true in our experi­ence, the circumstances of which are as follows: 

The city in which we conducted the effort had a population of about 500,­000. Our church membership in the city numbered between thirty-five and forty, and a small church building stood just outside the city limits. The conference finances were low, and the resources of the church were not large, but the faith of the members was great. We decided to begin a series of Sunday night meetings, and se­cured the use of a large auditorium having a seating capacity of 2,500. The rent, advertising, and other ex­penses amounted to a very large sum for each meeting, and it was indeed a venture of faith.

The subject advertised for the first Sunday night was, "Is the Bible the Inspired Word of God?" The audito­rium was packed, and many people were turned away at the door. In closing the service, I mentioned the expense involved in arranging for the meetings, and that we did not have funds to depend on, and asked how many would be willing to have an offering taken each Sunday night to help in defraying expenses. There was a ready and favorable response from the congregation. I then asked for decision on another question, to the effect that, provided the offerings should exceed the amount of the ex­pense, how many would be willing that the surplus be applied to help the poor and needy in the city. To this there was a still more favorable response, after which I said to the people, "Then, dear friends, let us give liberally, that there may indeed be a surplus. Re­member that our expenses are very heavy, and they are first to be met by the offerings. Remember also that not one cent is to be taken from the offer­ings to help the speaker or any of his helpers, but rather, we with you will help to swell the offerings. And now as the offering is taken, let us give $5, $1, and many 50 cent and 25 cent offerings."

The offering that first Sunday night was $360, and for the ten nights that we conducted the public meetings the offerings amounted to $3,300. This was an unprecedented amount for of­ferings in the same period of time, so far as my experience in evangelistic work is concerned, and provided a fair surplus for use as proposed.

The handling of this surplus opened up quite extensive Christian help work in connection with the evangelistic effort. We asked those attending the meetings to hand in names of poor people known to them as being worthy and in need. We also obtained names of the poor from the Salvation Army and the city authorities. We made personal calls on many of these fam­ilies, ascertaining the need, and estab­lishing friendly contact. We made no distinction between classes, religions, or races, and we had most blessed experiences in ministering to these needy people. By explaining our work to the manager of the Atlantic and Pacific Tea store, we were able to purchase provisions at a reduced price, which we distributed to those lacking the necessities of life. In some cases we helped with cash.

As a part of our service each Sunday night, we would tell of the work which had been done, and relate special ex­periences, telling the people that it was their money which was making this good work possible. This was ap­preciated, and stimulated the interest.

At the close of the tenth week it became necessary to close the effort, because of the annual camp meeting coming on. But after the camp meet­ing, a tabernacle was built in the city, with a large seating capacity and cost­ing over $3,000. This amount was fully met by local offerings from our own people and the public. Not one cent came from the conference treas­ury. Meetings in the tabernacle were held every night, except Monday and Saturday evenings. On Wednesday night of each week a health lecture and demonstration was given, con­ducted by the doctors and nurses from the New England Sanitarium, and this proved of great interest, and strength­ened the plan of applying the surplus offerings to the help of the needy.

New features began to develop in this plan, however, for not only were the offerings well maintained, but the public began to bring in articles of clothing to be distributed. Large bun­dles would be brought in and laid on the rostrum before the service, and re­quests came in for us to call at certain addresses to collect the clothing which was waiting for us. Merchants con­tributed shop-worn clothing,— shoes, overcoats, underwear, etc. A Dorcas Society was organized, and the ladies were kept busy sorting, mending, cleaning, and helping to collect and distribute the articles. One of the rooms in the tabernacle was set apart for the storage of gifts for the poor, and one of our workers made it his special duty to make personal inves­tigation of the cases reported to us. Eight hundred articles of clothing were distributed.

Then the people began to bring in vegetables, fruit, and groceries to the meeting, placing them on the plat­form. Soon this good work was re­ported in the newspapers, and the ef­fect was to allay prejudice and give us favor with the people at just the time when we were presenting the testing truths of the message.

When the tabernacle meetings closed, it was found that all expenses had been met, without drawing on the conference treasury for one cent, and in addition to all the charity work done, there was a surplus of nearly $500 in hand. But this is not all. Many souls were led to accept the truth and unite with the church, and it became necessary to secure a new church building, which involved the expenditure of $36,000. The little chapel church, which had been used for many years, was sold for $2,250, and the tabernacle was sold for $2,000. Aside from these amounts, there was raised approximately $26,000 in offer­ings, which included an appropriation from the General Conference of $1,­500, and from the local conference of $1,000.

This church has gone on from strength to strength, its membership increasing under the ministry of other laborers. Tithes and offerings have kept up to a high point, and within the church there is maintained a won­derful spirit of benevolence. The poor are constantly remembered, and we know that the promise of Proverbs 19: 17 has been fulfilled in this case.

I believe that such work carried on in connection with evangelistic meet­ings, when properly conducted, is of great value and brings permanent re­sults. In relating this experience, I wish to give to the Lord the praise and glory for the blessings imparted and the success bestowed upon that evangelistic effort, which was started on the basis of faith that God would provide the necessary funds.

Hartford, Conn.


Ministry reserves the right to approve, disapprove, and delete comments at our discretion and will not be able to respond to inquiries about these comments. Please ensure that your words are respectful, courteous, and relevant.

comments powered by Disqus

By A.E. Sanderson

August 1931

Download PDF
Ministry Cover

More Articles In This Issue

The Call to Greater Evangelism a Call to the Ministry

It seems that there is a danger that the call to a larger evangelism may become so generalized in its application as to largely neutralize its effect.

Editorial Keynotes

Thoughts from the editor's desk.

Slang

Slang depreciates the value of cor­rect language to the same degree that a counterfeit dollar depreciates the government dollar, or the hyp­ocrite depreciates the influence of the Christian. Yet many who profess to be the genuine teachers and shepherds of the Lord's flock manifest a flagrant disregard for the correct use of words.

Why the Year 538?

Various dates have been given by different writers outside this movement for the establishment of the Papacy. Why do we support the year 538?

Methods of Bible Study

It is a sad fact, which cannot be ig­nored, that it is quite possible for young people to major in Bible sub­jects listed in the college curriculum and be graduated without having gained any real knowledge of the Bible. How can we improve upon such situations?

The Radio in Evangelism

As we have used broadcasting for several years in our evangelistic campaigns, our experience has given me some definite convictions relative to the value of the radio in this work.

Supernatural Darkness

I have on several occasions heard that Mrs. E. G. White has written that when Christ closes His high priestly ministry there will be a supernatural darkness that will indicate the time. Where is such a statement to be found? I am told it is in the Review and Herald of June, 1884.

A Bible Worker Soliloquizes

I am glad God called me to do Bible work, and I pray every day that I may be filled with the Holy Spirit in order that I may win many souls to Christ. But I am not satisfied with the results I am getting. Perhaps something is lacking in my prepara­tion.

Lifted From a Horrible Pit

A personal testimony.

Editorial Postscripts

From the Ministry back page.

View All Issue Contents

Digital delivery

If you're a print subscriber, we'll complement your print copy of Ministry with an electronic version.

Sign up
Advertisement - Southern Adv Univ 180x150 - Animated

Recent issues

See All
Advertisement - SermonView - WideSkyscraper (160x600)