Conference Presidents and Evangelism

Aids to successful evangelism.

By H. W. LOWE, President, British Union Conference

Evangelists are subject to peculiar maladies and troubles, among wnich we might list the following:

1. Discouragement due to difficulties in­herent in the problem of getting converts in this unspiritual age.

2. Disappointment due to inability, of the conference to provide adequate funds to meet the actual needs.

3. Development of a defeatist outlook when meeting with but little success or with tem­porary failure—a malady very likely to attack the young evangelist.

4. Tendency to exaltation under publicity and flattery which come with success.

5. Inclination to settle down to an easier work in preference to the constant strain and stress that public evangelism demands.

Aids to Successful Evangelism

It becomes imperative, therefore, for the president not only to keep in personal touch .with his evangelists, but, where possible, to devise means for their inspiration. Such aids keep all the men well informed of the progress their brethren are making and introduce the impetus of holy ambition to, be a successful soul winner. They also provide ideas as to good advertising titles, which will 'be especially helpful for the younger men. Furthermore, this enables the president to keep his finger constantly on the evangelistic pulse of his' field. We may well consider the following proved methods:

Personal Letters.—Frequent letters from the president to each evangelist, passing on items from workers' experiences which would likely be of general encouragement. Nothing can quite take the place of inspiring, personal communications between a leader and his men.

Mimeographed Information.—The regular issue of a mimeographed sheet giving the fol­lowing information from month to month, or perhaps each three months: Names of evan­gelists; dates of each effort ; location of work­ers; subjects and titles used at principal meet­ings; number of people present, especially the non-Adventist attendance; also the subjects and titles at subsidiary meetings, and the num­ber of people present.

Evangelists' Councils.—Holding evange­lists' councils from time to time.

Local Evangelistic Institutes.—Where funds permit, the most valuable aid to our evangelists is undoubtedly an institute at which none but evangelists are present. Here it is very profitable to go through a complete agenda of problems relating specifically to evangelistic work. It is well for the men to come face to face and discuss their problems with the utmost frankness, and to pray to­gether about their problems. The old en­courage the young; and quite often the young will give new. vision to the old !

There is an ever-present tendency for pastors to lose sight of the fact that they must not only shepherd the flock of God, but add to it constantly. Evangelism is hard, trying work, but it is the outworking of divine energy in the church. Every worker must 'be an evangelist in the broad sense that he must be a soul winner. "Save souls or die" is the inexorable law governing the life of the church of God. A man no longer able to stand the strain of public evangelism, or one not espe­cially gifted in that line, can, nevertheless, win many souls if he has a passion to do so and is willing to adopt some of the many methods by which souls are won to this truth. We might mention the following:

Sundry Soulsaving Methods

1. An evangelistic type of preaching in all church services. Too often we develop a dry, legalistic type of doctrinal preaching that is too forbidding to draw souls to Christ. This must be guarded against. True doctrinal preaching exalts Jesus, and should be inspiring and spiritual.

2. Literature work from door to door—either distributing tracts freely or selling our literature in search of interested people. This method is dying out, but its day is not ended.

3. Assiduously following up Harvest In-gathering work, which can thus be made to produce results in soul winning as well as money for the cause of God.

4. Keeping alive in the church a love for souls, so that interested people can be brought into contact with the pastor through the lay members.

In many conferences it is possible for the conference president to conduct a public cam­paign in connection with his other duties. But where this is not possible, he should certainly plan to hold short evangelistic campaigns in certain churches. He could stay for a few weeks with a church, conducting meetings al­most every night; and this type of evangelism would revive the listless and indifferent. It would also lead to conversions among the young people growing up in the church, and it quite frequently brings interested non-Ad­ventists to a definite decision. In this way the conference president may save himself from dying spiritually—a fate that awaits any man who allows himself to be fully occupied with only the administrative and the business side of the work. And at the same time it brings the living breath of God into churches that might otherwise languish.

I make no pretensions of knowing how to make a fifty-pound budget go as far as a two­hundred-pound budget. I notice, however, that small budgets have not, in many fields, slowed down the ratio of soul winning. This does not prove that small budgets bring more souls, but it rather teaches me that our men have been driven to a more complete de­pendence upon the divine blessing. Lack of means often leads us to seek other methods than those we used to follow when budgets were larger.

The evangelism of Jesus took the form of open-air preaching, temple teaching, syna­gogue reading, and home visiting. And back of these methods lay a constant, intensive life of prayer.

"The evangelization of the world in this genera­tion depends first of alI upon a revival of prayer. Deeper than the need of men; deeper far than the need of money ; aye, deep down at the bottom of our spiritless life, is the need for the forgotten secret of prevailing . . . prayer."—"Effective Evangelism," R. E. Speer, p. 65.

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By H. W. LOWE, President, British Union Conference

December 1938

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