The launching of radio work in any section gives rise to several questions and considerations. The suggestions given in this article are the result of my own particular experience under circumstances prevailing in our part of the field. The experience of others under varying conditions might be very different. But I am glad to respond to the invitation to express my own reactions and conclusions, as based on our broadcasting.
Should We Present the Sabbath?
The answer to this question must of necessity depend upon the circumstances. Typical examples will illustrate. About seven years ago, we were using a station in a large city in Pennsylvania. This station was owned and operated by a wealthy Jew, the publisher of a daily newspaper. He was favorable to our people, and seemed glad to have the truth of the Sabbath broadcast from his station. In this case the way was clear to present this testing truth very definitely.
At another time we were broadcasting from a station owned by a friendly, tolerant man who did not openly object, although we felt, at times, that he was a little apprehensive about the tactful presentation of the stronger truths. In this case also we gave the Sabbath very clearly, but the mark of the beast was not presented.
In a third case, we had a yearly contract with the broadcasting station, but we were practically cut off after I preached one sermon on the New Testament Sabbath. The ministerial union had brought pressure to bear upon the management, and we were deprived of even the regular devotional broadcast which the ministers of the city conducted in rotation. So we must be governed by circumstances and conditions in the matter of presenting the testing truths. We should never jeopardize the future for the sake of a seeming present advantage.
Securing Lists of Interested Listeners
If strong inducements and devices are used to encourage listeners to write, names will begin to multiply in a few weeks. However, to build up a large correspondence often requires several months. In order to secure a working list of names, we have found it helpful to ask the churches in the district to make a survey of their cities, going from house to house getting the names and addresses of those who listen to our program, at the same time giving out announcements and literature. This has brought us hundreds of selective names. To these we send circular letters and further literature.
How Soon Should We Expect Results?
Some results appear almost immediately, such as the swelling of attendance at evangelistic efforts, the molding of public opinion, and the stirring of our own members to action. Many other results, however, do not appear at once.
Radio sermons find persons in all stages of knowledge of the message, so to speak. Some have never heard anything of our truth before. Others are almost persuaded before hearing the addresses. Therefore some make their decision soon after the opening of the effort. These are usually few in number. It has been our experience that after six or eight months of broadcasting, individuals and groups appear here and there, keeping the Sabbath and rejoicing in their new-found faith.
Making Radio Work Self-Supporting
Our experience indicates that our own members must sustain the work for several months. Gradually those not of our faith begin to send offerings. In some cases, after six months of broadcasting, enough money comes in to pay for the work, although many of the gifts still come from our own people.
1. Be sure that you have sufficient backing, financial and otherwise, to carry along the work over the first six months at least.
2. Make every effort to secure as long a list of listeners as possible. Keep a constant flow of letters and literature going out to this list.
3. Seek to enlist their financial cooperation.
4. Present the most testing truths by mail, instead of over the air, unless you are very sure of your ground. And even then it may be a deterrent against future radio work. We must keep the air lanes open.
5. Do not fail to pick the fruit as it ripens.