Advertising the Evangelistic Effort

Advertising is a great means to the end of moving our Eastern cities, or any city, to accept of this the greatest message ever given to man.

By M. G. CONGER. President of the New Jersey Conference

The eminent evangelist, Dwight L. Moody, said again and again, "I wish that I might be moved of God to move one large Eastern city." Such was the heavy load of concern that the great evangelist Moody carried for binding the multitudes of the Eastern cities to Christ. How much more should we who bear God's final message of warning and invitation to the world carry on our hearts the heavy burden for salvation of the lost. Advertising is a great means to the end of moving our Eastern cities, or any city, to accept of this the greatest message ever given to man. Says Bruce Barton, noted writer and Congressman :

"Advertising as a profession is young. But ad­vertising as a force is woven into the very texture of the universe itself. The scent and color of the Powers are an advertisement to the bee. The plumage of the bird is color advertisement of a very effective sort. . . . The clouds are an advertise­ment of the coming storm. The first warm winds from the south proclaim the return of spring. Every­where we discover the design to attract attention arouse interest, and provoke action. And this it advertising. More specifically we think of adver­tising in terms of molding public sentiment and guiding public action."

Various Mediums of Advertising

Following are some of the varied methods by which Seventh-day Adventist evangelists in North America advertise their soul-winning meetings.

1. The Newspaper. Years ago Martin Luther said, "The printing press is God's . . . greatest gift for the advancement of the gos­pel," and this is still true in our day. With a daily issue of newspapers printed in English in the United States of more than forty million copies, the widespread value of this type of publicity is apparent to us all. In our evan­gelistic work, the paid "display" ad or "reader" ad of part-column length, of full-column or double column length, or of a half or even full page size, is in quite general use. As evan­gelists we should continue to give considera­tion to the free write-ups of the sermons and other features of evangelistic services, and other phases of our world-wide work. An aggregate of tens of thousands of inches of free space in our city dailies has been granted wide-awake evangelists who take the time and effort necessary to put reports in such form that they are appreciated by the editors of our newspapers. The newspapers have the decided advantage over other forms of evan­gelistic advertising of being delivered by news­boy and mail to the homes, offices, and business places of populous cities, and of being read by all classes of society. The messenger of the Lord has written:

"The press is a powerful means to move the minds and hearts of the people."---"Counsels on Health," p. 465. "There is great need of men who can use the press to the best advantage, that the truth may be given wings to speed it to every nation, and tongue, and people."—"Gospel Workers," p. 25.

2. Window Posters. Window posters, pre­pared of good quality card with a careful layout of material, have proved to be good advertising. Cards printed in two colors are the more effective in attracting the notice of the people. If displayed in the windows of the best stores in the city, the effort is given good standing in the community. Some evangelists have found that posters printed on paper the size of the usual window card are more economical, and are usable with good success in windows and pasted on the outside of build­ings in favorable locations.

3. Folder Announcements. This is a popular type of advertising among us. When printed on good stock, with proper distribu­tion of large and small type, and sufficient amount of white space, this form of advertis­ing makes a strong appeal, especially when done in two-color work. It is intended that these folders be presented personally to the homes or sent out through the mails. When distributed to the homes, it has been found that to knock on the door and pass the folder to whoever answers the door, with a smile and a brief word of personal invitation, is most effective.

4. Announcement Cards. Another form of weekly advertising of sermon topics that brings results is the use of small cards. These may be enhanced by the use of small cuts and by different-colored ink or paper on successive weeks.

5. Smaller Cards. Small cards in the form of theater tickets, and of that size or a little larger, advertising one special meeting or several meetings, may also be utilized to good advantage. In some places where a theater effort is being conducted, or when the meet­ings are held in a popular auditorium, the words "Reserved Seat" are printed on one end of the ticket, and the ticket admits the holder to a section that is reserved up to a certain time at the beginning of the service.

6. Special Printed Invitations. This type of card is printed on a card of the same size that is usually enclosed in a wedding invitation envelope, and has much the same appearance. It is adaptable for mailing as a special invita­tion to the well-to-do and the influential classes of the city, and has been used with gratifying results in many city efforts to attract this class of people to evangelistic meetings.

7. Handbills. Simple handbills on good paper are a cheaper form of publicity, but may be made up attractively. This form of advertising is perhaps better used after the effort is well started and favorably known. If the handbill is cheap in appearance—on poor paper with poor printing—the effort itself may thus be cheapened in the minds of the general public.

8. Large Billboard Posters. This is a form of advertising adaptable for use on street­cars, and where desirable space is available in other places throughout the city. In some cities, streetcar and bus companies will pro­vide free space for these posters if the words "Ride the trolley" or "Ride the bus" are placed in a particular location on the poster. Inasmuch as the buses and cars cover the entire city and its suburbs, this is a profitable form of publicity and merits a wider use among us.

9. Highway Bulletin Posters. The value of large highway bulletin posters for use on the five-by-ten-foot billboard was presented to us at the 1936 General Conference, as a begin­ning for our outdoor advertising. Advocates of this form of publicity state that magazine advertisements reach but 40 per cent of the population, while outdoor posters reach 85 per cent. They further claim that even newspapers do not reach so large a reading public. Produced by a new process, giving the effect of a five-color lithograph job, beau­tiful in design, with a section of the poster available for the changing sermon topics of successive nights, this type of highway poster is urged upon us for widespread use.

Attraction Magnets to Augment Attendance

Our advertising should be made alive, alert, and striking by the use of cuts. Improving on past advertising, we ought from now on to use far more action" cuts. Show the evan­gelist in action with his Bible in his hand, standing near the pulpit, or in some other appealing pose. Picture the pianist at the piano, the song leader with music in hand, etc. The action cuts used in commercial adver­tising and the moving neon signs give proof of what catches the attention an arouses interest.

All types of printed advertising should not only feature information as to the subject, place, and time of the service, but should also have some strong appeal in the nature of a powerful attraction. There are legitimate at­tractions "against which there is no law," that are within the reach of almost every Seventh-day Adventist evangelistic effort, and which have pulling power for larger attend­ance.

10. Auditor Attraction. Attraction that comes through the ear has always been effec­tive advertising. Good music, both vocal and instrumental, is advertising of the best kind, and is widely used by our experienced men in their evangelistic campaigns.

11. Visual Attraction. Charts of all kinds, models of the beasts of Daniel and Revelation and the great image of Daniel 2, stereopticon pictures, selected films, etc., greatly assist in gathering a large audience. In addition to aiding in making the subject clear, they are also a telling form of advertising within the meeting place itself.

12. Mental Attraction. Some of our best evangelists have found that a question box, with fifteen minutes, or even an hour, of answering questions at some time during the evening meetings, serves to increase the at­tendance materially.

13. Health Feature Attractions. Health demonstrations and lectures presented by one of our graduate nurses, or someone else skilled in presenting our health work to the public, make an added appeal and form another ad­vertising magnet that augments the attendance.

14. Subject-Title Attraction. The mes­sage itself, advertised in well-worded sermon topics, catches the eye at once, arouses in­terest, and increases attendance. Before enter­ing the avenues of advertising, we should se­lect a subject that we know is of keen interest to the public. Avoiding sensationalism and observing dignity, our evangelists can use such striking subject titles as :

"A Message From the Sun, Moon, and Stars"

"The Sizzling Fuse on the World's Powder Keg"

"The World's One Hope"

"The Race to Armageddon"

"Millions Now Living Will Die, and Die Twice !

"Spiritism—Friend or Foe of Christianity ?"

"Ten Commandments—All Divine"

"The Silence of the Dead : Can It Ever Be Broken?"

"God's Answer to Evolution"

"What God Commanded to Remember, but the World Forgot"

"How to Postpone Your Funeral"

"How's Your Backbone?"

"All Eyes East"

Shorter titles have also been used effectively. One well-chosen word, such as "War," "Crime," "Satan," "Spiritism," "Heaven," etc., can often be printed in bold type on folder, poster, or billboard, with more telling force than many words. Appropriate auxiliary words appear below this one word in smaller type. Subject-title attraction is a form of advertising that we may profitably add to our methods of publicity.

We have been told that "ministers of God's appointment will find it necessary to put forth extraordinary efforts in order to arrest the attention of the multitudes. . . . They must make use of every means that can possibly be devised for causing the truth to stand out clearly and distinctly."—"Gospel Workers," pp. 345, 346. In harmony with this statement, it is clearly for the good of mankind that we capitalize on every scientific, modern facility made available in this twentieth century. In addition to those already enumerated, the following are worthy of special mention : radio, films, neon signs, calliope, telephone, and the government postal system.

The well-known slogan, "It pays to adver­tise," is accepted as a self-evident truth in the United States. However, let us beware ! We have heard of a minister who advertised so effectively that he drew a full attendance into a large hall—but only once! Advertising alone will not do. There must also be a reality behind the publicity. To disappoint an audience is tragic. Our preaching must be better than our proclamation. The best and greatest advertisement is found in Spirit-filled sermons which result in a satisfied audience.

Although personal reference to himself seems necessary in order for a minister to instill into the public confidence in him as a representative of the truth, yet let us not advertise ourselves too highly. Rather let us advertise God's message. For as Barron Collier says : "The purpose of advertising is not to impress the medium on the consumer's mind, but to impress the product." In this case the product is Christ—Christ's message, Christ's truth, Christ Himself.


Ministry reserves the right to approve, disapprove, and delete comments at our discretion and will not be able to respond to inquiries about these comments. Please ensure that your words are respectful, courteous, and relevant.

comments powered by Disqus

By M. G. CONGER. President of the New Jersey Conference

January 1940

Download PDF
Ministry Cover

More Articles In This Issue

Our Task in Time of War

In the crisis hour many are asking, What is our task? What can we do to help a world in distress?

Modern Movements in Hinduism

A look at various movements that constitute a challenge to our mission­aries who are commissioned to carry the ever­lasting gospel to the ancient land of Hindustan.

Native Evangelism in Africa

Ways and means of native evangelism.

Our Stupendous Responsibility

The progress, prosperity, and success of the cause of God on earth will be in direct proportion to the faithfulness, devotion, and effectiveness of His ministry.

Value of Films and Slides

Why do we not make use of more slides?

Winning and Holding Our Youth

The winning of our youth is a problem for every worker in the conference.

The Necessity of Organized Study

Our multiplied duties tend to reduce study to the barest minimum.

Make the Bible Foremost

In these days of Modernistic views, higher criticism, and doubt, we as Seventh-day Adventist ministers consider it a profound privi­lege to uphold the Book of books as the inspired word of God, as a harmonious unit in both the Old and the New Testament, as the infallible guide to mankind on his journey heavenward.

Religious Trends of Today

Christian doctrine and belief was greatly affected by the growing emphasis upon the external which developed with recent scientific progress.

Leading Your Own Song Service

Many conferences cannot afford to send out a song leader with every effort; so the evangelist must lead his own music. What, then, must a minister do to make the song service attractive?

View All Issue Contents

Digital delivery

If you're a print subscriber, we'll complement your print copy of Ministry with an electronic version.

Sign up
Advertisement - RevivalandReformation 300x250

Recent issues

See All
Advertisement - SermonView - WideSkyscraper (160x600)