Radio and the Divine Commission

Radio and the Divine Commission (Concluded)

Getting results is the thing that counts, whether it be in radio preaching or in selling automobiles.

By DALLAS YOUNGS, District Leader, Williamsport, Pennsylvania

Getting results is the thing that counts, whether it be in radio preaching or in selling automobiles. Results from radio preaching might be listed something like this: Good will gained for our church or denomi­nation, valuable help in public evangelism, and public opinion molded in the truth. Radio preaching is an agency by which false doctrine may be combated through the presentation of the true. It sows gospel seed, which under the care and blessing of God will spring up and grow, and, most important of all, it contributes to baptisms and additions to the church. Nevertheless, many good radio speakers have been disappointed with the results they have obtained, and it is true that not a great many converts come into the church, especially the Seventh-day Adventist Church, through the broadcast alone.

It is a long way from the studio microphone to the living-room radio, or public loud­speaker, and a means must be found to bridge that chasm. A more personal contact must be made. Of course, the usual volume of fan mail yields some names and addresses. And the usual methods of securing interest, such as offering free literature, pictures, etc., will yield some more. We used all these methods in connection with our broadcast over WRAK with fair results. Many people were met per­sonally, Bible studies were given, and several baptisms resulted. But yet the problem of teaching our truths to any considerable num­ber in the radio audience was still unsolved.

While pondering this problem, I conceived the idea of offering a free Bible correspond­ence course to the listening public. I found that the loose-leaf Bible-school lessons would lend themselves to this scheme very well, since they cover our Bible doctrines comprehen­sively and treat each subject thoroughly ; also there is a set of examination questions at the end of each lesson.

I offered this to the public as a free corre­spondence course in Bible, telling them that it consisted of twenty-three lessons, each one on a different subject. Emphasis was put on the fact that the lessons took them right to the Bible, and that they would need no other books or helps in the completion of the course, ex­cept the Holy Bible. To give them an idea of the value of the course, it was stated that if they sent to a correspondence school for this same course, it would cost them at least twenty dollars. [For information on sets, see page 45.]

They were told that if they completed the course successfully, they would be given a cer­tificate. Other appeals were also used. In fact, we 'sold" the course to the people just the same as any radio sponsor sells his product. Some were skeptical, and wrote in saying, "Where is the catch?" They couldn't believe that a twenty-dollar course was being given away free. Those who were really in earnest about the study of the Bible were invited to send a card or a letter requesting enrollment for the course. Around eight hundred students were enrolled in a little more than six months.

The lessons were mailed out each week to the student, together with a form letter. This letter was designed to be a sort of "pep" letter to keep the student of good courage, to gain his confidence, and to keep him working. The student was to send in one lesson each week. Of course, if this was not done, the course was continued anyway, and no penalty was at­tached. He was instructed to study the lesson from the Bible until he was able to answer the test questions, then write out the answers to the questions and mail them in for correction. After the paper was corrected it was graded, the grade was recorded, and the paper was returned to the student, with appropriate notes of encouragement and help. Many of the stu­dents were so fascinated with the whole thing that they could hardly wait from one lesson to the next. They were invited to ask questions concerning anything that was not clear to them, and care was taken to answer these as far as possible from the Bible.

Not all who enrolled completed the course. Some did not even start. We found, however, that best results are obtained when the student is made to understand clearly just what is ex­pected of him. The following letter was sent out with the first lesson.

Important—Keep These Instructions

The Purpose of this Bible Course is to help you become better acquainted with your Bible. There is hut one way to do this, and that is by earnest, prayerful study of the Bible itself. The Bible is God's pure Word, and is in itself a complete guide to eternal life. For this reason we want you to lay aside every other book, and study all your lessons with the Bible only. You will learn many things, and soon the Bible will become a new book to you.

The Value of this Course! If you sent to a regular correspondence school for this course in Bible, it would cost you at least twenty dollars. To you it is free. We have arranged at considerable cost to provide this Bible course of twenty-three lessons free to everyone who enrolls. We have done this because we are anxious for people to study the only Book that tells them how to live eternally. This course will make the Bible a new book to you, as it has to many others. Its spiritual and eternal values are beyond computation. We stress the value of the Bible course, because some folk think that if a thing is free, it is not worth much.

This is a Correspondence Course, and the condi­tions upon which it is sent yo'u are two : The first is that you study the lesson itself until you have mastered it from the Bible only. The second is that after you have studied the lesson, you write out the answers to the test questions at the end of each lesson (except the one, "How to Understand the Bible"). When you have written out the answers to the test questions, send them in for correction. Do this with each lesson. Your lesson will be promptly corrected and returned to you.

Lessons will be sent you each week (Dr month). You should plan to do one lesson each week. In this way you will keep up with your class, If you should get behind, because of sickness or for any other cause, please don't fail to write us. Re­member I will not know why you are behind unless you do this. Please put your name and address at the beginning of each lesson paper.

This Great Work is carried on solely through the freewill gifts and offerings of our friends.

Your bible instructor wants to he most helpful in all your problems. You may not have studied in this way before, or for a long time. But don't worry about that. You will surprise yourself. Write me about whatever problems you may have with your lessons. It is likely that I can help you. If you have any questions in mind as you go along, just include them with your lessons. I want to see you succeed both with this course in Bible, and in the gaining of eternal life with your family and loved ones. And so, wishing you an abundance of the Lord's blessing as you study, I am,

Sincerely yours in the Master's service,

We found that such a letter, sent out with the first lesson, impressed upon the student that he was expected to answer the test ques­tions. We found also that it was very helpful to send out a form letter with each lesson. The people seemed to appreciate these very much, and many would make reply to them. Best results were obtained by maintaining as constant and personal contact as possible. If a student has difficulty in getting started to answer the test questions, it is well to pay him a visit and give him some help. When he has advanced as far as the eighth, ninth, and tenth lessons, he should be visited by all means. These lessons are upon the subject of the Sab­bath, and it is here that most students experi­ence trouble. Many will drop the course at this point, sometimes returning the lessons. Others will go through to the completion, and accept the truth.

The object of a visit by the radio evangelist is not to give Bible studies (although help should be given if needed), but to make a personal contact, become acquainted with the student, and gain his confidence. Following the introductory visit, it is well to make visits every week or two. Such personal contacts must be made in order to get the student started in church attendance. It is usually best not to press the student on the point of Sabbath observance or church attendance on the occa­sion of early visits. These things are so very revolutionary to the thinking of many of the students that they must be brought along slowly.

The student is told that the work is sup­ported by freewill offerings, and is invited to have a part in providing funds in order that others may benefit. And owing to the fact that he recognizes that he is getting something of real value, he feels under obligation to sup­port the work, and usually does support it liberally. More than $500 was received from the 800 students who enrolled. This sum was almost enough to pay all the expenses con­nected with the work.

The greatest difficulty we experienced was in taking care of and following up the inter­est. To visit eight hundred students in six months in addition to pastoral duties is a physi­cal impossibility. We could find time to visit only two hundred of these, and many of them only once. By the time my wife or I had called on fifty or sixty students, it was time to make a second call. This accounts for the fact that our best results were obtained from the first enrollees.

Out of those whom we were able to visit, fifty-three have already been baptized, and fifty more should come in as a direct or an indirect result of the course. Twenty-five or thirty of these latter are almost ready for baptism at present. Three branch Sabbath schools have been organized, and enough believers in one town have been brought in that a small church could be organized. Many students whom we have never seen have finished their course and received their "Certificate in Bible." Many have written us that they are keeping the Sab­bath.

In addition to what might be called the immediate results, we are confident that the king­dom of heaven will reveal far greater results than we now know. Following are extracts from some of the many letters received:

"I have learned more from your Bible lessons than I have from all my going to Sunday school and church. God surely gets His message to us some way or other, doesn't He?"

"I liked the lessons so much, even if I did find the Bible different from what I had always believed. I had read the Bible, but had not studied it. I always thought a good person went to heaven at once, and I thought hell was a place where the wicked were tormented throughout eternity. I know different now."

"I enjoyed the Bible course more than I can tell you. It taught me many things I did not know, and has made the Bible a new book to me."

"I think your Bible course is wonderful. I have learned so many new things I never knew before. The lessons have made things so plain, and have done my husband and me a world of good."

"I have learned many new and interesting facts, such as which day is the true Sabbath, the mark of the beast, the judgment, what and where. is hell, and what is the true baptism."

"These lessons were sent from God. Through them God has given me wisdom and knowledge."

We have observed that this method makes a very good quality of Seventh-day Adventist. When a person takes his own Bible and sits down in the quietness of his own home and studies the lessons, God is given the best op­portunity to do His work. To sum up, we would say that the eight hundred enrollees prove that our message can be taught to people of all classes and places through the corre­spondence plan. The cost to the conference is small when compared with the cost of the usual method of evangelism. Radio is truly one of the world's greatest mediums for reaching the masses.

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By DALLAS YOUNGS, District Leader, Williamsport, Pennsylvania

May 1941

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