Radio Question Box A Success
For years it has been our custom to conduct a question-and-answer service each evening early in our evangelistic effort, at which time we answer Bible questions. This year this feature was transferred to the air, the questions being mailed to us at the broadcasting station. We have just completed a seven months' daily broadcast of this nature over radio station WHKC in Columbus, Ohio, in which our entire group of workers participated. The singers provided special music each day. Our women helpers opened the letters, underlined the questions, and prepared a list of those who made donations, so that I could make acknowledgment over the air. The assisting evangelist stood by the microphone and read the questions, announcing the town from which they came, and then I gave the answer.
For the first few days we provided the questions. But before the first week had passed, letters began to come in asking for information on Bible topics, and in a few days we were deluged with inquiries. So many questions came to us that we found it necessary to employ a stenographer to send out answers by mail. Some weeks our mail was so heavy that we had to employ two stenographers. We promised that no inquirer seeking light on the Bible would be refused. Every seeker for truth was given an answer to his question. Some days we dictated letters for five hours at a stretch.
Our station could be heard all over Ohio and in parts of Michigan, Kentucky, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania. Recently we were told that our broadcasts were heard in New Jersey by a few who had special radio equipment.
Reference to our evangelistic meetings was made several times in each broadcast. The topic of our evening address was always announced, and the place and time of the meetings given. Our group was known as the "Miles Roy Coon Evangelistic Company," which appeared at the Hartman Theater on Sunday evenings and at the Bible Auditorium on other evenings in the week. All of our advertising, whether by newspaper, dodger, card, or poster, carried the announcement of our radio broadcast. We found the radio to be the most effective means of advertising, although we feel that these other methods are also effective in securing an audience.
We also found the radio most valuable in sustaining, as well as in securing, an evening attendance. Sometimes in the past, we found that after we had presented the Sabbath truth our audiences decreased, but the radio announcements brought large crowds week after week even after we had presented the Sabbath message. Our observations are that apart from the good accomplished by the broadcast itself, time on the air, considered as an advertising medium, is worth all that it costs during a series of meetings.
Scope of Questions Answered
We were not permitted to solicit contributions over the air, but we were allowed to acknowledge all the gifts that were sent to us. After we had been on the air a month, without any suggestion from us, listeners began to send money to us in care of the broadcasting station. We made the most of this opportunity to express our deep appreciation to the donors, and announced that these contributions enabled us to continue our daily broadcasts. We announced the name of the donor, the amount given, and the location from which the contribution came, unless requested not to do so. The offerings covered about half of the expenses connected with the broadcasting program. The conference supplied the rest.
We answered questions on every Bible doctrine except the Papacy in prophecy. The Roman Catholic Church was never mentioned over the air in our broadcasts. When we reached the Sabbath question in our meetings, people living in distant cities wrote in, asking us to tell them over the air which day is the Sabbath. We had planned not to mention that topic, but as each mail brought large numbers of requests, we took counsel with our conference president, who suggested that we sign a contract for an extended period of time, and then with wisdom proceed to tell them about the true Sabbath. This we did. The result was that more questions were sent in on the Sabbath topic than on any other subject. As a direct result of our broadcasts, many in Ohio as well as in some of the adjoining States, began to keep the Sabbath, and people came to the broadcasting station to meet the preacher whom they had never seen, but who had taught them the true way.
We were not restricted in our teaching in any way by the broadcasting company. Not one complaint was registered with the station against us, though many members of the radio audience disagreed with our teachings and frankly stated their objections in writing. Some clergymen of other denominations became interested, while others became furious. At least three Protestant ministers wrote to us stating that we were correct in our teaching concerning the Sabbath day, and one, with his family, was baptized into our church.
We discussed the tithing system as God's divine plan for the support of His work. Many interested listeners sent their tithe to us, stating that there was no church in their community that they felt free to support with their money, after hearing our message and receiving the light which we presented.
Many people who had never attended our meetings were converted through the broadcasts and started to walk in the Christian way. We were happy to find that a considerable number of apostate and backslidden Adventists listened in and were moved by the Holy Spirit to come back into the fold.
It was both encouraging and inspiring to notice the confidence our audience had in us after we had been on the air for a few months. Some of the finest compliments came from the officials of the broadcasting company. They often came to us with their Bible problems, and one declared that our program was outstanding in its field and the finest of its kind on the air. Not until the judgment day shall we who speak on the air know the final results of thus making known our message to audiences of hundreds of thousands.
* Paper presented at North American Presidents' Council, Battle Creek, Michigan.
Negro Summer Tent Effort
By H. W. KIBBLE, Evangelist, Newark, New Jersey
We found it impossible to secure a location for our tent (size 50 x 70 feet) in the section of the city in which most of the colored people live, but had to accept a site in another section in which the majority of the inhabitants were Italians, or other foreigners.
Securing Permits.—Our greatest problem was yet before us,—that of securing a permit to pitch the tent. The restrictions are quite rigid in Newark, and a permit to pitch the tent was necessary before we could get the permit to hold our meetings.
According to the building ordinances of the city, we presented to the building commission a pencil-sketched plan of the pitched tent, showing the seating arrangement, aisles, exits, etc. And in addition to this, we secured a list of six signatures of neighbors living around the lot on which the tent was to be pitched, stating that they were not in opposition to the tent meetings' being held there. This done, our permit to pitch the tent was granted immediately, and our permit to hold the meetings was likewise secured.
The Lord favored us in getting the signatures of the neighbors, for most of them were unwilling at first. But we explained to them that although our meetings are religious in nature, they are different from the average gospel tent meetings. They are reasonably quiet and orderly, and we close at a reasonable hour. Then every one signed except one, and he said he did not oppose it, but just did not want to sign his name.
Advertising.—We endeavored to make our advertising as attractive as we could afford. To begin with, six thousand neatly printed dodgers, with appropriate cuts, were placed in the homes of the people, with a verbal invitation to attend the meetings. These programs carried the opening subject in large print on the front page, and to save expense, each night's subject for two weeks was listed on the inside folder.
We had two large signs painted and placed at the entrance of the lots in a position to face the passers-by from each direction. These were quite effective, as our location is on a main street of this section of the city, along which there is bus service. A sound truck, carrying large signs and playing gospel hymns, announced our Sunday-evening subjects.
Opening Night.—When the opening night came, our workers and ushers were present at the tent early, and each one was again reminded of his duties for the evening. We wanted everything- to move like clockwork on the opening night. Promptly at eight o'clock the congregational song service began and was conducted for fifteen minutes by one of our. tent company. Then the choir, robed in white, entered the stand and sang for ten minutes. The speaker, with those who were to make announcements and offer prayer, mounted the rostrum, and the meeting was soon in full swing.
Announcements and preliminaries were short, but were given with animation. Another special number was given by the choir, and the subject of the evening was presented: "Coming—a New World Empire—Who Will Be the Ruler?—the Bible Gives His Name." Immediately after the sermon, "Look for the Waymarks" was sung as a solo by a member of the tent company. The evening offering was quickly taken, and the closing song, "Jesus Is Coming Again," which was projected on the screen, was sung by all.
Unknown to us, a news writer was present throughout the evening, and a favorable article concerning our opening night's meeting later appeared in the newspaper.
Results.—About three hundred twenty-five were present the first night. Our attendance increased, and God richly blessed our meetings. We have already baptized twenty-seven into the church. Twenty-five more are being prepared for the rite, and many are interested, or are in the valley of decision.
Mission Stereopticon Effective
By ALBERT T. PRIEGER, Slide Maker, Tampa, Florida
Glides may well be used in our homeland LY churches or tent efforts, and can often be used to present the message effectively in mission lands as well, even in lands in which priests, officials, and churches oppose. To illustrate this general statement, I would cite instances from personal experience. While in the West Indies, I used to preach in one place where only eight or ten people gathered in a deacon's home. But when I took my stereopticon out of doors and hung up a sheet, in less than fifteen minutes we had about eight hundred people to whom to preach—drawn by the colorful slides. The result of this interest was the ultimate establishing of a little church there.
At another time, I came to a very superstitious place. The priest had someone throw a large stone on a tin roof, which so frightened the wife of one of our native workers that the shock was fatal to her. But in spite of the opposition there, I took my stereopticon outdoors, and before long had about three hundred people gathered around me. The meetings again resulted in the establishing of a little company of light in a dark place.
At yet another time, I came to a town in which the United States Army post had declared martial law. I took the stereopticon, flashed the picture of Mary, the mother of Jesus, on various buildings, and soon had some two hundred people looking upon the screen. Suddenly we heard the march of soldiers, and then the words, "Halt ! Order arms !" And there stood two squads of privates with their officers, looking upon the crucifixion scene, the resurrection, the earth made new, and other pictures. After the closing prayer, the officer thanked me for the lecture given. At this place also there is now a little company established.
In one place in which I tried to canvass, I found both men and women out working, so there was seldom any one at home but children and old people who had no money. So I took a stereopticon and gave impromptu lectures on an empty lot, gathering over four hundred in the audience, and presenting some of our books from the screen. The result was a substantial sale of books. And it took me a week before I had seen all the folk who wanted the different kinds of books. I found that most of them were at home at supper-time; so I made use of that hour.
On another occasion, an elderly Adventist brother was anxious about the conversion of his neighbors; so he rented a building and asked me to hold some meetings there. I did so for several months, but could get only from fifteen to twenty-five in my audience. I decided to make a change in my method, and asked a woman who lived near a favorably located building whether she would be willing to let me give a stereopticon lecture there. She had four boys who were enthusiastic about the plan. So we attached the cord, and I threw some appealing gospel songs on the screen,—right out in the open,—and we began to sing. Along came the children and mothers, and finally the fathers, to see what was going on.
Someone, however, turned in a riot call, and soon the sirens were shrieking. On came the fire chief, the chief of police, the chief of detectives, and the ambulance. I had 644 people, by count, before me. We seemingly paid no attention to the riot quenchers, for there was never a more well-behaved audience than was present there. When the last song was sung, the chief of detectives came forward to thank me for what he had seen and heard, and offered his help in getting things packed away. He took me home in his car, and we had a good talk on the plan of salvation. He encouraged me to keep up the good work.
At another time I was attempting to give lectures in one of our little churches. We had a grouper of only forty to eighty in attendance every Sunday night, only a few of whom were not of our faith. One Sabbath they failed to announce that I would come the following Sunday night. As a result, not a soul was there when I came. But I got the key from the deacon, connected my stereopticon to the church porch socket, and focused my slides onto the side of the building. Soon came the little tots, the mothers, fathers, sons, and daughters; and before long I told them that the lecture would be given inside, and invited them to come in. There were 16o strangers, only two of whom were of our own faith.
At yet another time I came to a bathing beach where hundreds were in the water and on the shore. The moon shone brightly. There was a large oak with limbs extending in each direction at least fifty feet, and a house close by. I attached my stereopticon screen to the limbs, and weighted it with stones, so that it hung quite smoothly. The man in the adjoining house wanted to know what it was all about. I told him that if he would permit me to attach my electric cord to a socket in his house, I would give an illustrated gospel lecture. This he did gladly. The light flashed the pictures on the screen; we started to sing. In about ten minutes, I had some six hundred people singing with us, and I gave them a lecture on the evils of tobacco. Many said they were sorry they had no pockets in their bathing suits. But there was a collection of $5, despite lack of pockets.
With a large screen, a good stereopticon, and acceptable slides used out of doors, one can attract Catholic and Protestant, Jew and Gentile. Almost all will be interested in seeing beautifully colored slides on the screen. Let us not forget to go to the people where they are.