The Bible class in connection with a large series has proved to be a most excellent method of getting personal contacts with interested people, as well as indoctrinating them in various phases of our message. And in the end, it greatly increases baptisms.
This class should not start until several weeks after the opening of the series. During those weeks the Bible worker should freely mingle with the people, making personal contacts, getting names and addresses, and becoming acquainted generally. Thus, when the class starts, these same people will want to be with their friend, the Bible worker, and will bring their family and friends.
The Bible class room should be located in a conspicuous, easily accessible place, preferably to the immediate right or left of the main entrance. It should be large enough to seat all who desire to attend, both our own people and others who are interested. A room 12 by 28 or 30 feet may be adequate for the average effort, although many times this is not large enough. The room should be well lighted, tidy in appearance, and well arranged. Charts on the walls enhance the attractiveness of a room. Earnest, consecrated, "live-wire" ushers are also an important help in securing a successful attendance of the class.
It is well to use stereopticon pictures, or some form of illustrated pictures, for this half-hour study. A five-minute review of the previous lesson is appreciated by those who attend. This helps to fix the lesson in the minds of those who were there before, creates a deeper interest on the part of those attending for the first time, and helps to dispel any stiffness that might exist. Flash cards, with a Bible text on one side and a suggestive phrase on the other, are very helpful. This five-minute review allows time for any who may be a little late, to be on time for the evening's study. At the close of the period, it is well to hand out mimeographed sheets containing the evening's lesson.
In order to gain an audience when the time comes to start this class, the evangelist will mention the class a few nights previously. He must be an enthusiastic believer in this feature, and a booster for it. The attendance will largely depend on how much he advertises it. The people generally do what the evangelist wants them to do. Once in a while, he will visit the class as an onlooker, to show his heartfelt interest in it.
When the testing truths are given, and the people are making their decision for the truth, this class is called "The Baptismal Class." Having the names and addresses of each one, it is easy to keep in close contact with all, to pray with them, to answer their questions, and to help solve their problems. Attending the baptismal class makes the people baptismal-minded, and when the time comes for baptism, you can count on the members of the former evangelistic Bible class being present almost a hundred per cent.
In the recent campaign conducted by Evangelist Richards, at Lodi, California, under the name "Voice of Prophecy," there were four baptisms in the first part of the series, in which 53, 29, 32, and 52, respectively, were baptized. The first baptism came in the eleventh week of meetings, and the others came at two-week intervals. With a short return engagement, a total of 264 were baptized. Through the entire period of the meetings the tent was packed with a thousand people or more, and the Bible class room was filled to capacity each evening.