Successful Follow-Up Work

Crowds alone do not necessarily spell success for an evangelistic campaign. In the final analysis, success must be measured by souls won for the kingdom of God.

By ROBERT L. BOOTHBY, Columbia Union Evangelist

Crowds alone do not necessarily spell success for an evangelistic campaign. In the final analysis, success must be measured by souls won for the kingdom of God. Therefore it is not enough merely to at­tract people to the meetings, but methods must be set in operation that will bring listeners to an acceptance of the faith. Public meetings make possible the presentation of the truth to hundreds, yes, thousands, at the same time. These people must then be sought out in their individual homes, and workers trained to deal wisely with souls must bring personal help to them.

Charting the Interest.—Of first im­portance in the program of personal work is the securing of names and addresses. There are many ways of obtaining names. When I first move into a city, I like to have one of my Bible workers make a chart giving the names of all Seventh-day Adventist church members in the city. Under each family head I have listed the names of any husbands or wives or 'young people who are not in the faith, with comments on their attitude toward the church and the message. On this chart I also have listed the names of nonmembers attending Sab­bath school or church services. Information of this nature may be obtained by comparing the Sabbath school class records with the church-membership list. Also on this chart I endeavor to have listed the names of those who are known to be backsliders from the truth. This furnishes a list of names for early work in the campaign.

Then every Sunday evening, beginning with the first Sunday service, and occasionally on Friday nights, I pass out cards to all in at­tendance at the evangelistic meetings, with the promise that free literature will be sent to all those who sign their names and addresses on the card. Hundreds of names can be se­cured in this way.

Mingling with People.—I instruct every worker in the campaign to mingle with the people and tactfully learn the names and ad­dresses of people in the congregation. It is quite easy for a worker to engage in conversa­tion with those who attend the meetings, and at the close of the conversation suggest that he will see that the sermon of the evening is mailed to them. Such a procedure makes it easy and natural to get this information with­out people signing their names. Many people who later accept the truth and become faithful Adventists never sign a card.

Another means of securing names is for members who possess tact and ability to sit be­side strangers in the meetings. and become acquainted. This method must be followed with caution, however. Members who lack wisdom in carrying on such work might discourage a stranger's attendance.

Other Ways of Gathering Names.—As the campaign workers are visiting in the homes, if they are alert, they can secure many new names. In many homes in which they are visiting, they are told of neighbors, friends, or relatives who are attending the meetings. These names should all be written down after the worker leaves the home. I always shake hands with as many of the crowd as possible when they leave, and become acquainted with many in this way. It is a good plan to instruct the members of the church to hand to one of the workers on Sabbath a list of neighbors and acquaintances whom they know to be at­tending the meetings. If the radio is used in connection with the campaign, many names will come in through this avenue.

All Names Reported to Evangelist.—No matter how obtained, all names of people at­tending the meetings should be reported to the evangelist and placed on the regular cam­paign list. Even though a worker reporting a name still visits that person, the evangelist should also have a record of it. This makes for thorough organization, keeps the evangelist informed concerning any and all interest at­tached to the meetings, and also gives him a full understanding of the work being done by each member of the campaign company.

Workers' Meetings.—Every Monday morn­ing a workers' meeting should be held. After time is spent in prayer, new names should be allocated to the responsibility of assistants, and a report received from every worker con­cerning every name under his supervision, This keeps the evangelist informed of the de­veloping interest of those who are being vis­ited. It also provides an interchange of in­formation received by the workers. One worker may receive some very helpful in­formation concerning a name being carried by a fellow worker. This meeting affords a won­derful training for the workers. Those, of lesser experience are enabled to learn how those of more ripened experience deal with varying circumstances. Oftentimes the evan­gelist, out of his breadth of experience, can offer suggestions on a given name that -will shed light on how to work for other names.

Personal Work by Evangelist.—After the interest has developed so that individuals are making decisions, I like the plan of asking workers to make a list of those giving promise of decision, and then appointing a day or days when the evangelist can visit in these homes with each worker. The prestige of the evan­gelist may help in securing a decision. Thus the evangelist may learn of any peculiarities of prospective new members and intelligently lead them into preparation for baptism and church membership. The importance of vis­iting by the Minister is set forth in the Spirit of prophecy':

"When a minister has preached a sermon, his work has but just begun. There is personal work for him to do. He should visit the peoplein their homes, talking and praying with them in earnestness and humility."—"Acts of the Apostles" p. 363.

"Teaching the Scriptures, praying in families,—this is the work of the evangelist, and this work is to be mingled with preaching. If it is omitted, preaching will, to a great extent, be a' failure. Come close to the people by personal efforts."—"Testimonies," Vol. VI, p. 76.

There is a twofold reason why the minister should be a personal worker. First, it is only in this way that he is able to bring many of his listeners to a decision. Second, I doubt that the minister who has not come close to his people in personal service will be able to un­derstand the art of coming close to them when in the pulpit. I cannot too strongly urge upon young men the fact that if they wish to be a success, they must learn to do personal work, and that their ministry should provide a cer­tain period of time for this phase of work. Many a preacher who was a good orator and who mastered a powerful delivery failed as a soul winner because he neglected visiting in the homes of the people.

Personal Work by Assistants.—I have a very fixed conviction that all members of the campaign company should do earnest personal work. If they have not acquired the art of doing personal work, then they should learn how to do it. I remember a young woman accomplished in music who was connected with an evangelistic company. She somehow thought that her only duty was to play the piano, and that she had no responsibility when it came to visiting the people. Perhaps it is needless to say her services were not long in demand. Of course, in speaking of the pianist, I speak of regular workers. I have no refer­ence to the wife of a minister or the wife of a singing evangelist who is given a small re­muneration for part-time work as pianist. The more each worker, regardless of such an one's designated work, learns to be a soul winner, thus contributing his or her part in produc­ing the fruitage of the campaign, the more valuable will be that worker's services to the cause, and the more indispensable to the work. Yes, and the richer will be the blessing.

Follow-Up Work.—We usually allot a cer­tain territory or territories to the workers, and, as names come in, they become responsible for those in their assigned territory. They should continue to visit the people after baptism. Those newly come to the faith must be closely watched, for they will meet with perplexities, and there will be those who will endeavor to confuse them in their belief. Follow-up work is very important. Every new convert should be in a Sabbath school class under a com­petent teacher. It is preferable that the teacher be the pastor or the Bible worker. At least it should be someone who has had some real experience in soul winning and knows how to deal tenderly with new members.

Relation of Pastor to Campaign.—If the evangelist is to move on to another city, then there should be a pastor for the church, and he should be there through the campaign, en­tering actively into the soul-winning program. Thus will he become well ingratiated into the hearts of the new believers, and the evangelist will not be missed so much when he goes. If several hundred accept the truth, then I recom­mend that at least one Bible worker for every one hundred new believers continue on after the campaign. With all the other campaigns and church duties that befall the pastor, it is a question whether he will find time to care properly for the new believers without the added help of one or more Bible workers.

Care for Babes in Truth.—Much is said about believers' leaving the faith. And often­times the evangelist is accused of careless work. I, for one, have a burning desire to learn how to present every person more per­fectly to Christ. But I believe that our heavi­est losses come from lack of provision to fol­low up the work, rather than from untimely or improper births into the message.

Sometimes it is almost a survival of the fittest. Those most able to endure trials with­out help usually endure, while those who are weak and in need of encouragement are left to languish while the pastor and the church are busy caring for other necessary routine duties in the church. Remember, new converts may have a real conversion, but they are still babes. The Bible recognizes that each new convert must go through a process of growth. No child was ever born into the world a full-grown man or woman, and no soul is born into the kingdom of God fully developed in Chris­tian steadfastness. Make proper provision to care for those newly come to the faith by sup­plying someone with time to work and a love for their souls, and our losses will be much less.

Putting Members to Work.—A strong missionary program of distributing literature and giving Bible studies should follow a cam­paign. This puts all the members to work. We are told through the Spirit of prophecy, "Everyone who is added to the ranks by con­version is to be assigned his post of duty."—Id., Vol. VII, a 30. The message has brought a thrill to the new convert. If he is now en­listed in service to win others, there will be re­newed thrills when he sees them made to re­joice by the reception of a message that brought joy to his own heart. Moreover, such a program of missionary endeavor rightly molds new converts, so that they become ac­tive, working church members.

"Because the church members have not been prop­erly instructed by those whom God has placed as overseers, many are slothful servants. . . . They ex­pect to be tended like sick children. This condition of weakness must not continue."—Id., Vol. VI, pp. 434, 435.

Augmenting the Effort.—I consider a strong program for follow-up work to include Sunday and Friday night meetings in the church or some other suitable place, and an arrangement for several cottage meetings on a specified night of the week. The number of meetings will be determined by the size of the city, the membership, and the program of liter­ature distribution. In the cottage meetings, an older member capable of giving interesting Bible studies can be made the leader, and some one of musical ability can be asked to lead the singing. The membership of the church can be assigned to certain cottage meetings, and the territory surrounding the place of meeting can be so districted that they can make systematic visits, giving out literature and inviting the neighbors to the meetings.

Thus the new members are at once enlisted in service. Such a program affords oppor­tunity to show them how to work, and con­tinues the spirit of evangelism which has reached a crest during the campaign. I be­lieve no evangelist should be satisfied merely to bring in a certain number of souls during a campaign, but should direct the church mili­tant into winning souls and finishing the work of God in the city or community. The few hundred won in a campaign should be but the first fruitage. Hundreds of others should be brought in by proper organization and fol­low-up work.

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By ROBERT L. BOOTHBY, Columbia Union Evangelist

April 1939

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