Careful Planning Necessary for Results
By Louis F. Were
Paul says of his manner of work, in hard old Corinth, "Nevertheless, being crafty, I caught you with guile." 2 Cor. 12:16. This manner of work is especially to be recommended in hard places. In some localities we can go ahead irrespective of painstaking planning, and good results may come; but in most places careful preparation is essential to success.
In advertising I use handbills, endeavoring to have them attractively prepared, and as different as possible from the ordinary commercial dodgers. Usually the design of the small handbills is a duplicate of those we place in buses and trams, so that the mind will associate the one with the other, and thus make the impression stronger. It is money almost wasted to try to be too saving. Unless the advertising is striking, it will not receive attention in these days of keen competition.
In conjunction with the handbills and placards in public conveyances, I utilize the daily papers. It arrests the attention to have the picture of the evangelist inserted with the themes to be presented. In these days, people like to know who the speaker is to be, and what he looks like. If it does nothing else, a picture or photo will usually lead people to read the rest of the advertisement.
The location of the tabernacle or tent is very important. First of all, it should be as central as possible, even if a higher rental is charged. Let it be in a noisy thoroughfare if necessary—better there, where people can see it and it can advertise itself, than farther away where quietness reigns, but no people come. Of course, if it can be fairly quiet, well back from the street or near the corner of an off street, and yet draw the people, it would be the part of wisdom to select such a site. This message must be in the forefront, and the time has passed for us to be on the back streets. If using halls, I select the most central, even if double the cost of one less suitable. Especially is this to be desired for the opening meetings.
Outside the tent we use a bulletin board, giving the subject for each night. Another notice board states the number of meetings each week, and the hour for beginning each service.
The entrance should be well lighted. We have colored lights forming an arch at the door of the tent, as well as a powerful light near the gate. The tabernacle or hall should be made as attractive as possible, with plenty of flowers, and well-drawn charts. I like to have the meeting place as cozy as possible, so the people will know that pains have been taken to make it pleasant for them, and will find everything restful to the eye and the body as well as to the soul. Church members will take pleasure in providing an abundance of flowers. Some member should take the oversight of this important work, or it may be delegated to one of the staff.
As a rule, I favor congregational singing rather than solos or duets, though these are desirable if they are sung to convert people and not to display musical skill.
Everything should be done with solemn dignity and with the courtesy and polish of demeanor that this great message deserves.
I have not found nightly meetings in an effort to be a success. Three nights a week seem best in Australia for solid work to lead the people along properly. In some parts it may be best to meet each night, but I speak only from my own experience. Often the people cannot come out every night; and when they are absent, they miss the connecting links. I have found that three nights a week bring good results and solidly informed converts, a few of whom are of greater value to this message than dozens of half-instructed members who come in for a season, and then leave us.
I try to plan my work for solid results, quality rather than quantity being my aim. How many will meet me around the throne of God? is the all-important question; not, How many can I report to a conference? A mission is a success only as it leads people into the kingdom.
So far as baptisms are concerned, I do not favor baptizing candidates until they have been thoroughly prepared for this solemn rite. It is an injustice to our great work to rush people into the church before they have been adequately instructed. The sooner we regard the baptizing of unprepared people in this light, the better it will be for clean church rolls and the avoidance of numerical illusions. Why should we imagine an evangelist is speeding on this message because he reports a large number in a baptismal service, when the subsequent history of these baptized ones reveals hard work on the part of others in straightening out church difficulties, and the final erasure of their names from church membership? Such a course does not hasten but rather hinders the work of this message.
After a number step out to obey the call of God, I open a Bible class which is the introduction to a baptismal class. A card inviting these and others to attend the Bible class is sent out, and I go over all the main points of the faith with those who come, persuading them to study for themselves. For a text I generally use one of our small "Bible Studies" booklets, assigning a lesson for each week. Soon all the members of the class purchase Bibles of their own, if they do not already possess them. They usually become enthusiasts, and with faces all aglow learn to love this message. It is not long before they are Bible students, yearning for purity and integrity, and earnestly advancing the kingdom of Christ.
In addition to that class, in this city I am taking the young people through the Standard of Attainment lessons. Some of the newer as well as the older members have been given certain of the more recently interested ones to visit and to study with, to give them practice in visiting and giving studies. The result is a wonderful spirit of comradeship throughout the church. We have had to enlarge the church to accommodate the increase in members. When our staff leaves this city, we are confident that we shall leave behind a strong church, and that the work will keep on growing because the members have been trained to foster it.
Geelong, Victoria. Australia.
The Conversion of Youth
By F.G. Ashbaugh
In our work for youth, what is the one thing needful without which all else is vain? Clearly the contact of the soul with Christ—personal surrender to a personal Christ; the experience called conversion; being born again; the receiving of a new nature, a new heart, a new mind, bringing with it new energies of soul, new life and joy, and bubbling enthusiasm. Then "duty becomes a delight, and sacrifice a pleasure." If I urge duty and sacrifice (important as they are) and make them rather than conversion first, I am defeating my own purposes. "They seek to perform the duties of the Christian life as that which God requires of them in order to gain heaven. Such religion is worth nothing. . . . A profession of Christ without this deep love, is mere talk, dry formality, and heavy drudgery."—"Steps to Christ," p. 49 (italics mine).
We must labor primarily for the conversion of our young people. We dare not be satisfied with mere church membership. That in itself is not victory. The "worth nothing" religion, the "mere talk," "profession of Christ without" love, all come in church membership.
It is after conversion, which turns duty into delight and makes sacrifice a pleasure, that we are to urge labor for others. Then we can talk missionary work, Reading Courses, Standard of Attainment, and all the many activities very properly sponsored by the Missionary Volunteer Department. We must not begin "in the flesh" hoping to end "in the spirit." These activities are all useful, necessary, and important in their proper time and place; but the secretary or other worker who promotes these features as the primary, fundamental objective, as an end in itself without reference to conversion, cannot hope to hear Jesus say, "Well done," for he is making a very serious mistake.
The apostle Paul had the real soul winner's interest in others. He said: "My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you." Gal. 4:19. Are we travailing in this manner for our youth? Do we sigh and cry for the abominations done in the land? Is our great anxiety and our first effort to see Christ formed in our young people? If so, then verily "all these things [of a secondary nature] shall be added unto you."
Working for the Blind
BY J. F. Piper*
But many of our workers do not know that there are ways provided so that the blind can have the truth in a form in which they can read it for themselves. Provision has been made for the Christian Record, a magazine for the blind, printed in the Braille and in the New York Point, to be distributed free to the blind anywhere in the United States. I am sure that our workers have occasion now and then to make contact with those who have been deprived of their sight; and if you find such who are interested, and can read either the Braille or the New York Point, kindly send their names and addresses, together with a little information regarding them, to the Christian Record, Lincoln, Nebraska. We shall be glad to do anything we can to encourage their study of the third angel's message and to acquaint them with the truth.
Not only does the Christian Record Benevolent Association provide the magazine, but it also prints our Sabbath school lessons in both the Braille and the New York Point. The Association likewise has a circulating library of several of our large books, such as "The Great Controversy," and these are carried through the mails free of charge. There will be no expense to any blind person having access to this good reading matter.
The superintendent of the Christian Record office is constantly receiving letters from those who are reading our publications, and in a number of instances persons have been led to an acceptance of our message.
We solicit the co-operation of all our workers in making contact with the blind of your community. This institution is supported by public subscription. We have recommended and consecrated 'solicitors in a number of the States who secure public contributions that are supporting the Christian Record publishing house. The home office endeavors to keep in close contact with these solicitors, receiving reports from them each week, with itemized accounts of their solicitations, and we feel that our workers scattered throughout the country are having a good influence.
If there are those who are interested and desire to make inquiry regarding the publications issued by the Christian Record office or the work that they are carrying on, address such communications to the Christian Record Benevolent Association, Lincoln, Nebraska. We shall be pleased to reply to any communications, and to answer any questions that you may have in mind.
* Chairman of the Christian Record Benevolent Association Board.