A very successful institute was held in Columbus at the time of the Columbia Union Conference session. The dominant note of the institute was sounded in the presentation by M. N. Campbell, vice-president of the General Conference, in the introductory topic, "A Greater Evangelism." It was fully agreed that the proclamation of the three angels' messages of Revelation 14 is the most important commission ever given a church. God's plan to carry the final gospel to the ends of the earth, it was stated, comprehends a more far-reaching and greater evangelism. Emphasis was placed on a fuller evangelistic- program to reach the twenty-eight millions resident within the confines of the Columbia Union.
In order to meet the requirements of all workers and all localities, the topic, "Expensive and Inexpensive Evangelistic Efforts," was next considered. This proved to be one of the high lights of the institute. Evangelist John Ford, of Washington, effectively set forth the subject. Laying down the thesis that "whether much or little money is available, evangelistic efforts should be held just the same," he outlined the requirements of a large effort as to personnel, auditorium, hymnals, opening, and procedure, referring often to actual experiences to illustrate points. Of even greater interest to many younger workers was the adaptation of the same principles to smaller and comparatively inexpensive efforts in halls, schoolhouses, stores, and churches. Many pertinent questions were asked, and the ensuing discussion was very profitable.
Evangelist R. L. Boothby, of Pittsburgh, also held the eager interest of the delegates when he stated, "By proper advertising, any person can secure an audience at his initial service, but it requires tact, personality, and power in the preaching of the message to hold and attract them to following services." His subject was, "How to Secure and Hold an Audience." Proper use of Scripture, earnestness, freedom, interest in the individual in the pew, full knowledge of the theme, and the presence of the Holy Spirit—all were reviewed in their respective and relative importance.
Miles R. Coon, of Columbus, said the audience should frequently be led to indicate faith in the Bible, or a special point of truth, by a showing of hands. Thus the way is paved for the later final decision. The topic, "How to Get Decisions," turned out to be one of great concern to the workers. The prayer room, public prayer at a crucial moment, personal contact, persistency, never giving up to adverse appearances, but clinging to God for victory, ' were found to be ingredients for successful persuasion in obtaining decisions for Christ.
Specimens of advertising used by successful evangelists were displayed in the rear of the large Presbyterian church where the institute was held. W. C. Moffett, president of the Chesapeake Conference, gave enlightening instruction on "Advertising Evangelistic Services." G. F. Eichman, president of the East Pennsylvania Conference, drew lessons from both the Bible and the "Testimonies" in presenting the subject, "Preparing Candidates for Baptism." In summing up, he stressed the need for greater care in the preparation of candidates. We should treat applicants fairly, dealing honestly with their souls, thus protecting them as well as the vital interests of the church.
W. A. Butler, of the General Conference Home Missionary Department, reviewed methods of setting the members to work. C. V. Leach, newly elected home missionary secretary for the union, brought out the thought that real pastoral attention given to members, as well as spiritual instruction in fundamentals, would go a long way toward preventing losses and conserving denominational gains.
"The Work of the Pastor" was outlined in detail by M. G. Conger, president of the West Pennsylvania Conference. A faithful pastor's work, as was shown from the discussion, contributes largely to every denominational enter-prize. J. P. Neff of the union staff, together with A. W. Peterson of the General Conference, and E. A. .Manry also of the union staff, had much to say of vital concern to the delegates with regard to our "Youth" and "Christian Education."
"Relation to Military Service," was another of the strong presentations, introduced by W.E. Howell of the General Conference. In view of existing world conditions, the facts given were put down in many a notebook and mind. "Reaching Goals" and "Increasing Tithes and Missions Offerings" received splendid treatment by W. M. Robbins, president of the New Jersey Conference, and J. W. MacNeil, president of the Potomac Conference. The latter speaker mentioned the recently organized Hyattsville (Maryland) church as an illustration of faithfulness and efficiency in tithes and offerings.
"Conformity to Health Principles," and the part they play in the life and work of the successful evangelist, came in for discussion under the direction of F. H. Robbins, president of the Ohio Conference. Closely allied, yet in a department by itself, "Temperance" in its broadest application and with facts and figures illustrative of the present destructive influence of intemperance, attracted much attention as Paul C. Cardey, of the New Jersey home missionary department, unfolded the plan.
"Religious Liberty," today recognized as a matter of tremendous import to Seventh-day Adventists, was reviewed with up-to-date application by H. H. Votaw. Discussion of noncombatancy principles, of what is done in time of war and draft, laws before State and national legislatures circumscribing privileges under the Constitution, as well as local restrictive measures, brought valuable information to the delegates. The great principles of religious liberty are now being trampled upon, disregarded, or seriously threatened in every country on earth. Speaking of our knowledge as a people, of these great fundamental principles of truth, he warned of the danger of our coming to think that God loves us above others, thus falling into the trap of the devil as did the Jews of old. He warned, also, of our danger in coming to think that our task in connection with religious liberty work is to do our utmost to ward off Sunday laws so we as a people will not be persecuted for working on Sunday.
"Literature" as related to evangelism, its circulation and use in efforts and follow-up work, was the theme of discussion by E. E. Franklin, of the General Conference, and S. L. Clark, field secretary of the Columbia Union.
John Ford spent considerable time in handling the subject of "Radio." It is recognized that radio occupies an important place in modern evangelism. Elder Ford was able to give much valuable information to those of less experience in this important field. The success of radio publicity in connection with the Columbia Union meeting was ample demonstration of the favor accruing to a tactful and proper use of this facility.
W. A. Spicer, of the General Conference, told of the necessity and importance of Bible study in the experience of the successful evangelist. H. J. Detwiler, who presided at the institute, offered good advice concerning fundamentals and avoiding controversies; and L. H. King spoke of the relationship of the worker to the organized conference.
It was a well-rounded program, apparently outlining every needful point in the method and equipment of the successful evangelist, and fruitful results will surely ensue. No doubt the great inspiration of the institute was participated in by practically every worker present, and greater results will be seen in practical deeds of evangelism. We look forward to a larger increase of souls, through the mercy and blessing of the God of Israel, whose presence was manifested from the beginning ,01.112e institute to its final meeting.