Correct methods of advertising do much to make evangelistic meetings successful. There is peril, however, when advertisements contain too many references to human personality and human opinions. When this is the case, Christ is not lifted up, and only the pride of man is exalted. Advertising is designed to build up, not an audience for man, but a congregation for God, and should definitely provide a stimulus to all who see it, to seek His truth. It goes without saying that any advertising that might amuse is out of the question.
Exaggeration is usually the greatest fault in advertising. When exaggerated claims are made, people are disappointed and often disgusted because they are called to a meeting where "thousands" are supposed to be attending, and for some mysterious reason find only a handful. They see an "eloquent speaker" advertised, but when they come, they hear just an ordinary man. "Fine music" many times becomes scarcely respectable. Such things happen when men exalt the human and neglect the divine. There is also danger of overrefined advertising which appeals to a few, but not to the greater number of people.
The question has often been asked, Should Seventh-day Adventists force their teachings on the public through the means of posters and billboard advertising? Does this form of advertising cheapen our work, and should we use it, or just wait until people come to us? Poster advertising is not cheap if it proclaims Christ, His teachings, and His church. Our present church plan of poster advertising, as publicized through The Ministry, contains Bible truths which are vividly pictured, and designed to arrest the attention of all who pass by. This form of advertising appeals to all classes, perhaps because it is the accepted form of business advertising. However, variety is important, and frequent change of style is necessary. Monotony kills life. If it is important for the wise pastor frequently to change his program, it is also necessary for the wise evangelist to appeal to the variety of likes and dislikes among people.
It seems almost necessary to teach our truths with some kind of pictures, and if these pictures can carry their message to all who pass by, it is a great help in presenting our truth. I have long felt the need for this type of advertising. However, in meetings which I have conducted, it wasalways necessary for us to paint our own billboard and window-display posters. One of our most successful groups contained huge pictures of the "beasts" and the "red dragon." Many attended the meetings just to find out what it was all about. It is different now. A variety of these posters are being reproduced from paintings by experts, and the price is exceptionally reasonable for this type of work. It seems to me that real opportunity exists in their use.
Modern, successful poster advertising draws the attention of the rapid passer-by to the obvious fulfillment of Bible prophecy in present-day world events. The attention is caught by just a word or two over a striking picture background.
There is one poster I would mention that is of great usefulness to every church no matter where it is located, and that is a directory poster placed on every highway leading into the city. This poster contains a Bible truth in picture, the location of the church, and the time of services.
The kind of advertising we use will determine the kind of people who will be caught. One man has said that with the many poor types of advertising used, it is a wonder some good fish are ever caught, but when they are, it evidently shows the hunger of the fish and not the wisdom of the catcher. Let us strive to improve in our poster work.