Evangelistic meetings have been held here in Lincoln a number of times, but none recently, until the present campaign began a little more than a year ago. We finally found a place suitable for building a tabernacle, so situated that the city would grant us permission to build a frame structure of the size required. We had planned on a building 70 x 130 feet, but finally had to make it 60 x 120 feet, to suit the limitations of our lot. It was heated with four large gas furnaces. The tabernacle was located in a very fine part of the residential section of the city, and was only a mile from the center of the city. We greatly feared that this would militate against a large attendance. This may have been true to some extent, yet on the principal nights we had capacity audiences of 1,500. At the close of the first six weeks our combined attendance was over 35,000, which made an average of nearly 1,000 at each meeting.
From the very first, a wonderful interest was manifest on the part of the people. Hundreds handed in their names, requesting literature and desiring visits. A company of our brethren and sisters took over the burden of visiting these people, and God blessed them wonderfully. We have all felt that the Spirit of the Lord has truly been poured out upon this city. We have now held meetings in this building for nearly a year and a half, dropping out the three months of the summer of 1935. At this writing, April, 1936, three distinct series have been held in the tabernacle in the one location. During the first series we had but one paid worker connected with the effort—a singing evangelist. After six weeks of this effort had passed, we had the help of a good Bible worker, who is still with us at the present time. The net results, thus far, have been about two hundred baptized and brought into the church. Most of these were instructed for many months before they were baptized; consequently, we have lost but one through apostasy. This shows the value of continuing a series of evangelistic meetings long enough to thoroughly establish the people.
During our second effort, the General Conference was kind enough to furnish us the assistance of Walter L. Burgan, of the Press Bureau, who wrote a synopsis of each day's sermon, which appeared in the two city papers. Thus the message went through the press covering this entire end of the State.
Construction of the Tabernacle
I have been asked to give a word about the construction of our tabernacle, and the method of advertising. As stated, the building is 60 x 120 feet, with eight-foot walls, and a height of fourteen feet at the peak of the building. A series of posts fifteen feet from either side, set twelve feet apart, support the roof. Thus in the center block of the building, which is entirely free from posts, about eight hundred people can be seated. Sixty feet back from the front we have our motion picture and stereopticon booth, which is built up near the roof—high enough to prevent its obstructing the view of people sitting back of the booth. The choir loft seats seventy-five singers, and is placed in the corner of the tabernacle, at the speaker's left. On the speaker's right is a room for the ministers and the choir. This is separated from the auditorium by curtains. Back of the rostrum, and three feet from the back wall, we have erected a false partition—plastered and white coated—which furnishes our stereopticon screen, and also forms a sounding board for the voice. The space back of this affords a passage for the use of the choir in reaching the choir loft.
Four weeks before the effort began, members of the church placed Present Truth in 6,500 homes each week. This, I believe, helped greatly in securing a good attendance. Our plan has worked well. Many professional people came to the meetings night after night. In all, people of the finest class that we have ever been privileged to bring in have accepted the truth here. The interest is still good. A new church building has been erected in Lincoln, and about $4,000 spent in repairing the College View church, which about seventy-five of the new members joined. The tithe increase for 1935 was nearly $4,000, and offerings increased accordingly. Thus is proved again how effective evangelistic efforts are in building up a church and conference financially, as well as in membership.