Reaching the Masses in a Conference

Reaching the Masses in a Conference—No. 2*

Advice on financing a literature campaign.

By H. E. LYSINGER, President, Georgia-Cumberland Conference

Finance

Naturally, the question arises as to how a literature campaign of this size and ex­tent is financed. From the first we have ad­hered to the plan of raising no money from the pulpit. The plan is presented at the Sab­bath service, after which a worker takes his prospectus and visits each home. Each donor signs his name under the amount he plans to give. Some give more than $100, others give $100, $50, $25, $10, or $5. It is our aim to have every family contribute at least $5 for the literature work before the year closes. These pledges are paid usually in monthly install­ments. We have the words, "Bible Study League," printed on our tithe envelope as one of the regular funds to which our people should contribute. And on the back of each envelope we have printed the summary of the work the league wishes to accomplish.

Some concern was felt in the beginning of our campaign as to the possible effect a cam­paign calling for $8,000 a year or more would have upon other funds, such as mission offer­ings. We are glad to report that at the end of October our Forty-cent-a-week Fund showed nearly a 50 percent increase over the same period last year, or a gain of over $11,000. In Harvest Ingathering we reached our conference goal in five weeks. So it seems that this pro­gram of larger evangelism in which we have called our force to engage has actually en­couraged all to be more faithful in other matters of Christian stewardship as well.

Results to Date

The value of every plan, after all, must be measured by its soul-winning results. The Bible Study League has been in operation about seven and a half months, and we have received more than 11,500 requests for litera­ture; 6,856 of these requests have come to us as a result of the systematic distribution of Good- News, --842- from --the---Waiakinan (col­porteur) follow-up, 3,762 from the Present Truth mailed directly from this office, and the remainder from other sources. This means that 6.23 per cent of the Good News readers re­quested more literature, 18.71 percent of the Watchman readers and 14.34 per cent of the Present Truth readers desired further litera­ture.

Of the 11,500 requests for literature received to date, only 8,065 of the subscriptions have expired; therefore, only this number have re­ceived the final questionnaire. The others will receive it in due time when the subscriptions have expired. However, to date we have had returned to us 659 of the question­naires, a large majority of which are answered favorably. This means that 8.16 per cent of the special short-term subscriptions are returning questionnaires. At this rate we anticipate about one thousand requests for personal help by the close of the ten-month campaign.

Encouraging Returns

Requests are coming to us from persons in every walk of life, indicating that if our litera­ture is read, it has power to attract the atten­tion of the educated as well as the uneducated. One questionnaire came from a woman over in southeastern Georgia. It was fairly well writ­ten, but indicated that the writer was a person who was not very well educated. Our worker and his wife called. An elderly woman met them at the door of her rude home, and stated she was the woman they were looking for. From all appearances she was not the type of person who would be interested in heavenly things. There was no doubt that she was a user of snuff. However, the worker talked with her, and found a keen mind behind the rough exterior. After prayer, she stated that by the help of God she was going to give up her bad habits and accept the truth.

Another questionnaire reached us from a county where we had no knowledge of any one who knew this message. Upon visiting this place, our worker found a group of about fourteen people keeping the Sabbath and living up to all the light they had thus far received. They were endeavoring to conduct Sabbath services together. Through the questionnaire they had come into touch with our head­quarters. Thirteen of these people have given up their tobacco, and they are now baptized members in our conference.

An encouraging report came to us from one of our central Georgia workers:

"Those interested in — are very intelligent peo­ple, and have substantial homes. . . . I really enjoy this first-contact work. It is an experience you do not get in any other labor. It teaches your mind to work fast in answering questions without raising controversy."

Reporting another visit made, this same worker wrote:

"I called on this woman October 9, and had quite an extended visit with her. She is very desirous of knowing what is truth, and seems to be willing to obey when duty is made plain to her. Questions came thick and fast, and as I opened my Bible they were all met satisfactorily with a 'Thus saith the Lord.' Arrangements were made to hold studies in her home, beginning in two weeks."

And so the experiences multiply as the weeks go by. Our churches are enthusiastically responding to the program. The Bible work­ers' training course is taught in practically every church, and it may be truthfully said that our people are becoming Bible Study League conscious. The immensity of the cam­paign seems to have caught the attention and interest of our people, and they seem anxious and eager to have a part in the plan. We are earnestly praying and working for a rich harvest of souls from this effort.

* Such success is attending this endeavor that we have asked W. H. Bergherm of the General Confer­ence Home Missionary Department to give a later report of actual results, in the March Ministry.— Editor.

 

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By H. E. LYSINGER, President, Georgia-Cumberland Conference

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