Successful Short Efforts

Successful Short Efforts

Efficient Evangelistic Methods and Pastoral Technique

By A. C. GRIFFIN, Evangelist, Knoxville, Tennessee

In many communities there are a number of individuals who are almost persuaded con­cerning the fundamentals of our message. They believe in the Sabbath and know what they should do, but have not yet come to a decision and surrender. Some have learned the truth by reading literature, others by at­tendance at past efforts; some have relatives or close friends who are Seventh-day Adventists, and still others have had their interest awakened by the efforts of faithful laymen. There are many such communities in our conferences where an evangelist can come along, bind off the interest, and baptize such people in a short effort of two or three weeks.

 

Just recently I held a short effort at the near-by small town of Coalville, forty-five miles from Knoxville. Upon investigation, I found that some of our laymen had been industriously sowing the seed there and were very much interested in having some meetings held. One brother with his wife and daughter had been climbing over a mountain every Sab­bath for several years to keep a small Sabbath school going, to give out literature, visit the sick, and conduct Bible studies. I called to­gether our few believers who lived there, and we made plans for a ten-day effort. I asked how many seats they thought we ought to arrange for, and they suggested fifty. But I had faith to ask the conference for a hun­dred fifty seats and a tent.

I had a plain program printed to announce our meetings, and this was our only advertis­ing. The first night the tent was filled; the second night it was filled again and dozens were standing. The third night the tent was filled a half hour before time to begin, and when we started the song service, scores were standing all around the tent or were seated on the grass outside. After the first few nights, the tent was filled early every night, and hundreds stood outside listening attentively. The inter­est was so great that we left the tent up two weeks beyond the ten days planned, driving back and forth from Knoxville and holding meetings three nights a week. During this time I preached on all the testing points of the message, including the mark of the beast, the state of the dead, the Spirit of prophecy, jewelry, unclean meats, tobacco, etc.

When I preached on the Sabbath question, I asked all who believed Saturday to be the true Sabbath, and who planned by the grace of God to keep it, to sign the Sabbath covenant card. The text of this card follows:

(Please indicate your decision by filling out this card) 

Believing that the seventh day (Saturday) is the Sabbath of the Lord, it is my purpose now by the help of God to keep it as His holy day, and to obey all His commandments.

Name ...........................................................................

Address ........................................................................

City ..............................................  Phone ...................

Those who signed were also asked to attend the baptismal class which I had already or­ganized. Then I preached on the remnant church and brought out plainly that this is the Seventh-day Adventist Church. I asked all who believed these seventh-day keepers to be God's commandment-keeping people, and who planned to surrender fully to Jesus and unite with the church, to stand. Those who stood were invited to sign the covenant card that states their intention to unite with our church. A number signed this card, and these were also asked to attend the baptismal class. This card reads:

(Please indicate your decision by filling out this card) 

It is my purpose to accept God's special message of Revelation 14:6-12, and to heed His call to come out of Babylon, and take my stand with the remnant church of Revelation 12:17, which is the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

Name ...................................................

Address ........................................................................

City ..............................................  Phone ...................

In the baptismal class I carefully reviewed our doctrines and ascertained who had pre­viously known something of our truth. There were a number among this group, such as those who had been attending the Sabbath school, the "in-laws" of the church (as they might be called), those who had read our literature or received Bible studies, etc. These were tactfully separated from the others as first fruits and prepared far baptism. Seven showed evidence of real conversion, and were baptized. Others are beginning to attend Sabbath school and to look forward to baptism. We plan to hold another baptism in about six weeks or two months.

We have placed in the hands of leading laymen of Coalville the names and addresses of fifty-seven people who have signed the covenant cards, and they plan to follow up the interest. They are anxiously looking for­ward to another short effort within six months or a year, when, no doubt, many who are just now beginning to take an interest in the truth will be baptized.

I was the only paid conference worker to participate in this effort. A layman who lived twenty miles away drove back and forth each night to direct the music and assist in the effort. There are many communities where we have a few believers in which such a pro­gram could be carried out successfully. It would be profitable if short efforts of ten days or two weeks each were held twice a year in these places. Many more souls could be brought into the truth at little expense to the conference and with great rejoicing to our lay­men who sow the seed and participate in the effort.


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By A. C. GRIFFIN, Evangelist, Knoxville, Tennessee

January 1938

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