Topic No. 5--The Daily Program

Workers' Meetings and Division of Responsibility.

By H.M.S. Richards

One of the greatest hindrances to any  evangelistic effort is lack of unity among the workers. There cannot be much success unless all are pulling together. And nothing keeps the workers so united as getting to­gether often. By talking things over and pray­ing together, the little disagreements are ironed out, and divided effort is avoided. So I believe that these workers' meetings are very, very important.

Every worker should take part in the prayer season, and should feel free to express himself as to the plans for the campaign. The evan­gelist ought to make everything clear to the workers, and ask their counsel, thus gaining their support. He should not just go ahead in­dependently. He may have certain definite plans, but why should he not take the Bible workers and all the other workers into his confidence and ask them for suggestions? Many times the evangelist will obtain good sugges­tions in this way.

Several times a week the workers ought all to get together in this way at a time when they can unhurriedly talk over their problems, mention the people who are interested, plan for visiting them, and pray together and read from the Bible and the Spirit of prophecy God's counsels for spiritual workers. In our last ef­fort we gathered twice a week in this way. We had a standing appointment for every Monday and Thursday. Then once or twice a week we met by special appointment for emergency matters.

In addition to the regular workers' meetings I endeavor to get as many of my workers as possible together for prayer every night before we go onto the platform. Sometimes in a large effort this is very difficult. For instance, we have a bookstand; from the time the meeting place is opened, the one in charge of the book­stand is on duty there, and so it is impossible for him to come. It is difficult for all to get together every night before the service, but I think that those who are free should meet just before we go onto the rostrum.

The division of responsibility and of work between the different members of our evangel­istic company is dependent largely upon the kind of effort being conducted and the number of workers in the company, together with local conditions. I believe that all preachers and gospel workers should be evangelists. We should all engage in soul winning, but the Scriptures teach that God has placed on some men the gift of evangelism, just as distinctly as upon others the gift of being a pastor, prophet, or apostle. It is a gift from heaven, and I believe that men who have that gift in a special way, as far as possible ought to be kept in evangelism.

The singing associate can be an invaluable help to the evangelist, depending, of course, upon what capabilities he has. My present song leader is also an artist, and paints all our signs. Because of this we have hundreds of dollars' worth which we could not otherwise have, since the only cost to us is for the cloth and the paint. He also is my financial man­ager,—looks after all the offerings, does all the banking, pays all the bills, and endeavors to make the effort pay for itself. He goes to the different churches on Sabbath and stirs up an interest, gets people into the choir, and works along those lines. A good music leader could conduct Bible classes for the interested. He could take charge of the Bible class if the Bible worker is not adapted to that kind of work, and some Bible workers are not. In that way you would have a real team, one that would be ideal.

To make his work really successful an evan­gelist must have the right kind of musical assistance. It is not difficult to find someone who has musical talent, but there seem to be few, apparently, who can render effectual help in personal work. Moody with his Sankey and Torrey with his Alexander are notable exam­ples of ideal teamwork. And continuity of this teamwork is also a great asset. My singing as­sociate has been with me for seven years, my leading Bible worker for four years. It is a wonderful help to have a good, spiritually alert man back of you to say, "Make a call; make a call," when the moment is propitious.

The Moody Bible Institute will take two men and train them in intensive courses about as follows: Two-thirds Bible with one-third music; and two-thirds music with one-third Bible. We do not give that training. I wish we did. I would like to see an arrangement whereby men and women could get an intensive training for evangelistic and soul-win­ning work.

The part that Bible workers play in assisting the evangelist is most important. We have only one regular conference Bible worker at the present time. But I would rather have one who is competent than several who are not. We ought to have some way of training more mature women to do this noble work. There are at present no adequate facilities for such special training. When I was in Canada, it was suggested that we attempt such training in our evangelistic company there. As a re­sult we got three or four good Bible workers, who are still in the work.

Early in the effort we organize a Bible class, which is conducted by my Bible workers. We begin to announce this Bible class about the middle of the first week of the series, giving outlines of the studies. These develop into Tuesday and Thursday night classes. The Bible workers, of course, invite the interested people they meet in the audience. My Bible workers always wear a uniform while among the people during our meetings. In this way the audience comes to know who they are. Otherwise if someone in civilian clothes steps up and speaks to them, there may be resent­ment. Then, of course, these Bible workers immediately begin to go out and visit where interests are developing in the audience.

We begin to pick out the interested people at the very outset. The first Sunday night we get names, usually on an offer of some piece of literature, and the Bible workers begin the next day to deliver to these names. By night we have a number of people interested in re­ligious things. Almost any Bible worker can cover a square block or two in a city and find people interested in religious things. We try to focus upon those who want to come, getting their names that first Sunday night. By the end of the week they have several Bible studies planned for, and it is not at all difficult to be busy by the end of the first or second week.

I visit only those who are about to take their stand. I go with the Bible worker to see these and prepare them for baptism. The Tuesday and Thursday night Bible classes be­come baptismal classes taught by these Bible workers. Then I review the points of truth with these people. The evangelist should, in my estimation, visit in the homes of these people. He should have his fingers right on the pulse of the whole situation in that town. The people appreciate the evangelist's coming to see them. However, when we had to visit all these people to get them ready for baptism, it did not give us very much time to think and pray and get ready for the preaching.

We have always considered that our workers' meetings belong to just the workers alone, that things talked over in the workers' meeting are confidential, and that they should not go out and tell of little things that happen in these staff meetings. In a small town you could have a workers' meeting every evening, if you live near the tent or meeting place. The Lord will bless when we pull together as one in this great work of soul saving.

Discussion From the Floor

Associates, Records, and Organization

M. V. Campbell (New York Conference): I think that, as a group, our Bible workers are among our most self-sacrificing laborers. No group labors harder and gets less praise, so far as this world is concerned. As in war, it is always the general who receives praise for the victory. But in many cases our associates have had- muoh- to do with the successful re­sults. Giving Bible studies is hard work, and brings very little earthly honor; but I do not know what we should ever do without our Bible workers.

We are not using their efforts as much as we should in North America. In the British Con­ference where I started in evangelistic work, they were great believers in the use of Bible workers. They had many more Bible workers than ministers, so every minister was supplied with one or more. I started in the ministry when only nineteen, and when I was twenty they gave me four Bible workers to help. It was much easier than when I came to this country and found myself without any Bible' workers, the pastor of a large church, and ex­pected to hold evangelistic efforts.

I was first called to evangelism in the city of London. When I accepted the call, they set for me, as for others, a minimum goal of souls. If I did not reach it, I would be considered unproductive. The evangelist himself was ex­pected to bring in forty from an effort, and to hold two or three efforts a year—forty souls from the evangelist, and if given a Bible worker, sixty; if two, eighty; three, one-hun­dred. In other words, twenty were expected from each Bible worker. This was a stimula­tive plan. We knew what our goal was, and did not have to be told if we were unproductive.

If there are Bible workers connected with the effort, there is much for them to do. In the first few weeks, before the presentation of the Sabbath, the Bible workers should meet the people and get their names and addresses on cards,—not necessarily at first for Bible studies, but to help sustain their interest in the effort. As soon as there are a number of names, she should start a card index file, arranging the same alphabetically.

Each time the Bible worker visits her quota of interested people, she makes a note as to the state of interest, whether some neighbor or the children put in the name, or whether the person came simply out of curiosity and has no intention of coming again. The next morning this information is transferred from her note­book to the card index. Thus the evangelist can look over the index to get information on any person who is interested.

After the Sabbath is presented, then the real Bible work begins—where you have a good Bible worker or two who know how to give studies. As they make contact with these people, if they find some who would take their stand if they had a little more help than they themselves can give, they bring them into touch with the evangelist. In many cases he can win them over, when the Bible worker cannot. Sometimes it takes just that to bring them over the line. The cards of those who are interested in the Sabbath should be kept separate from the large group who are losing or at least not showing a great deal of interest.

The Bible worker should be very careful to recognize by face and by name the people with whom she works. She should cultivate a very retentive memory for faces and names. I be­lieve it is important for her to carry a record book. I prepared one similar to what we used in England, and we have used it in our con­ference. (This was described on page 16 of the December, 1934, Ministry.) In this record book there is a page for each name. When a person begins keeping the Sabbath, a record is kept as to which meetings he attends, what Sabbath services; and when the Bible worker calls on that person, she finds out if he is interested in and accepts the message given at each meeting attended. If he has missed a meeting, she either gives a Bible study on the subject or sees that the evangelist comes in con­tact with him. If the Bible worker gives a study on the subject, she puts her initials op­posite that subject to indicate whether the in­terested one heard the presentation at the meeting or whether a Bible study was given.

I usually follow the plan of calling in all these Bible workers' record books, so that we have on file a permanent record of how and from whom each person received the message.

I believe there should be frequent workers' meetings in an evangelistic effort--a brief meeting once a day, and a more lengthy one at least once a week, and whenever possible, twice a week. The evangelist must keep in touch with all his workers and know what they are doing. Otherwise he is not a good general, and cannot have the information that will lead to victory. Two hours once a week should be spent by all workers of the group studying to­gether the card indexes, and noting how each person stands in relation to the messages given. After that there should be earnest prayer for the interested ones, and for the needs of the workers themselves.

We are to train our associates to become evangelists. They are to be trained in organi­zation. It should be their duty to arrange card indexes, and to help in the making of location maps. (I suppose most of our evangelists use those maps with little colored pins indicating where the interested ones live.)

The assistant should also be given responsi­bility, along with the evangelist, in preparing advertising. After progressing far enough, give him the responsibility of preparing some advertising himself. Also give him some op­portunity to preach, though probably not on Sunday night. However, he should have some really definite part in the effort. The evan­gelist is naturally the chief and general, and if he is a good organizer, he can keep in contact with every one of his workers and know how the effort is progressing in every phase. It is his duty to go to those at the point of decision —those whom the Bible worker finds it a little difficult to bring across the line—and assist in that work.

At the close of each service the Bible worker brings certain interested ones to meet the evangelist in his study, thus allowing the evangelist to have prayer with each person in an effort to bring him to a decision then and there. And, of course, the evangelist visits certain ones in their homes.

Where there is but one minister and no Bible worker, of course the organization is very simple. And the minister must never, in any event, give all his time to organization. It is much harder for the minister to do the work when he has no one to help. Indeed, it makes it desperately hard. A large part of the information we have received in this council deals with large efforts, which are really easier than these small efforts where nearly all the burdens are placed on the preacher's shoulders. I have not had so much experience along that line myself, and would be glad to learn just how ministers actually accomplish much on such a program, for I have not been so proportionately successful alone as when I had a number of helpers.

I have never had a singing evangelist asso­ciated with me. I can understand how wonder­ful it would be, but that has never been my lot. We have had help from prominent local musi­cians, but it must be fine to have some able Seventh-day Adventist to stand by your side and lead out in the music of the effort.

Councils, Study, and Visitation

F. L. Abbott (Indianapolis, Indiana) : I be­lieve in carefully laid plans, and in regular workers' meetings as essential to success. A good time to have the workers' meeting is in the morning, whenever possible. Where the workers live near the tent or place of meeting, it is easy to get them together in the morning for a little time for counsel, study, and prayer. Such morning workers' meetings are very bene­ficial. They give the workers a chance to talk over the meeting of the night before, its results, and the interested people who came. They afford an opportunity to pray together for these interested ones. These meetings are very essential, to my mind.

Whether such meetings should be held every morning in the week depends upon circum­stances to a great extent, but they could profit­ably be held at least several times during the week. I do not believe, however, that too much time should be given to these workers' meet­ings. I remember one evangelist who gave almost the entire forenoon to such meetings, just because they had the time. I believe that consuming so much time deprives the workers of time needed for personal study, and also of time that should be spent in visiting and doing other kinds of work. I believe the evangelist should study. He must if he is to make a suc­cess of his work. He should not expect a large audience to listen unless he has put a great deal of thought and study into what he is to give them, and actually leaves them something worthwhile to think about. We must do that if we expect the people to keep coming.

We evangelists do not usually have sufficient time to prepare our sermons. I believe we ought to plan our program carefully so there will be definite time set aside for study, and for getting our message well in hand to give to the people when speaking time comes.

With regard to the workers' gathering to­gether before the service in the evening, I be­lieve this is very essential. I like to assemble my company for a season of prayer prior to the evening service. There may be some who have duties and cannot meet at that time; but many can get together, and should. Here again, I do not like to keep them together long, because some ought to be in the tent or place of meeting to greet the people as they come in, and to get acquainted with them.

I believe that the evangelist should spend much time in visiting the people. By doing that he will know much better how to speak to them, how to work for them, and what calls to make. If he visits the people, meets them in their homes, talks with them, and thus under­stands their problems, he will know far better how to help them spiritually during the service.

The evangelist should study; he must study. Someone suggested here that the Seventh-day Adventist minister must think on his feet. Of course, we all must do that; but we must do some thinking before we stand up. There should be much study and thought before that time comes; but let us not spend so much time in study that we cannot get out among the People and visit them.

The Bible worker can effectually help in this work. Last summer I had only one Bible worker. We had such an interest that we needed other help, so it was necessary to ask some of the sisters in the church to help the Bible worker, and they worked together in visiting the people and giving out literature.

The musician should be able to do other things besides sing. This last summer I had with me a young man whom I brought into the truth several years ago, an excellent singer. He took charge of the music, but he also went out and visited the people. We had someone else take care of the tent while he was out. This gave him direct contact with the people, and opportunity to meet them in their homes. He enjoyed this very much, and it was a great help to him as well as to the people.

Bible Studies Follow and Clarify

Question.—Regarding the studies that the Bible worker should give, I would like to ask if the Bible worker is instructed just to keep up with the minister rather than to go ahead of him with the Bible studies?

J. L. Shuler:  In no case should the Bible worker go ahead of the evangelist. This we should make very plain to all our per­sonal workers when we start an effort,—that as they visit the people in their homes, they are not to give a study on a subject before the evangelist preaches on it. If the people ask questions on subjects that have not yet been given, we have the worker instructed to say, "On such a night that will be presented, so it will be best for you to wait for that."

We endeavor to confine the personal work of the Bible workers and assistants to clarifying what the evangelist has already presented to the people; so in my campaigns my personal workers bend their efforts toward that work. They ask the people, "Is that subject plain? Are there still questions in your mind on that presentation?" They also urge the people not to miss a single night.

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By H.M.S. Richards

July 1935

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