Evangelism Where There are No Churches

At times we hear discussions that so emphasize the value of the laity in the preparation and work during evange­listic efforts, that some might well conclude that it would be almost impossible to conduct a successful effort where there is not already a church.

By C. L. VORIES, Evangelist, Burlington, Iowa

At times we hear discussions that so emphasize the value of the laity in the preparation and work during evange­listic efforts, that some might well conclude that it would be almost impossible to conduct a successful effort where there is not already a church. Some might conclude that about all the evangelist has to do is to keep the church members busy giving the message, while he baptizes the converts.

Although it would be a deplorable lack of foresight and understanding on the part of an evangelist to fail to recognize the assistance that a large church membership can give to his effort, and to fail to harness such power, it is a grave mistake even to suggest that the laity might be so used that the preacher would no longer need to heed the inspired admonition, "Preach the word." All the assistance, help, and power which the laity can give the evan­gelist to preach the word is to be commended, but that which keeps him from heeding the clear mandate of the Scriptures is to be con­demned.

Doubtless we all desire the help, the in­creased attendance, and the prospects of an abundant fruitage which a large church may contribute to an effort. And we should cer­tainly carry on evangelism in places where we have strong support from our churches. But we should not allow this desire to keep us from giving proportionate time to evangelism in places where we have no churches. There are scores of small cities throughout America with a population of five thousand to fifty thousand or more, which have no Seventh-day Adventist church. Are these multiplied hundreds of thousands to go unwarned ? Should we con­tinually allow our churches to keep us from proclaiming the message in towns and cities in which we have no organization? It would be better by far to so use the membership of these churches that the ministry might give more time to evangelism in new fields. This would be in perfect harmony with the recom­mendation unanimously voted at the St. Louis and Philadelphia evangelistic councils six years ago. In that report we find the follow­ing statement:

"Among these objectives which we will ask our churches to join us in making effective, we are placing, first, the apostolic plan of training our churches to care for their own interests, carrying forward their own work to a much larger degree than heretofore, supplying their own needs, officer­ing and supervising their own activities, thus re­leasing the minister for ever-advancing evangelistic endeavor in new and unentered fields, while them­selves become evangelistic agencies in their own surrounding territory."—Review and Herald, Feb. 28, 1935.

Realizing, then, the importance of laboring in cities in which we have no churches, what shall be our procedure? When starting an effort in such a city we may be confronted with technical problems difficult to handle, which could be easily solved in a city in which we have a church and could take some influential resident brother or sister with us to city of­ficials. People are usually a bit suspicious of anything new that comes to town, and world conditions at present may make this condition worse. To decline to tell what church or or­ganization is supporting a project might cause the curiosity of the people to become more intense.

Disclosing the Denominational Name

It may not be possible to remove all doubt from the minds of the public when we decline to disclose the denominational name. How­ever, I believe that in the majority of cases it will be best at the beginning of the effort to refuse, because of unwarranted religious prejudice, to tell what organization is spon­soring the campaign. This view is supported by reasoning and experience, and both the Spirit of prophecy and the Bible lend support to it. In "Gospel Workers," we read, "In laboring in a new field do not think it your duty to say at once to the people, We are Seventh-day Adventists."—Page 119.

As a denomination we have long taught that John the Baptist and his message is typical of this people and the last message to the world. And we find in John 1:19-23, that when he was questioned by religious leaders regarding who he was, he merely replied that he was a voice crying, "Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias." In other words, all he revealed was the fact that he was proclaim­ing prophecy. We may do likewise, by inform­ing people through the press and verbally that we intend to discuss present-day conditions in the light of Bible prophecy, and thus reveal something of what the future holds, and that we are a part of a great campaign that is being sponsored in every State in the Union for the purpose of making better men and women and more law-abiding citizens. In communities in which we are not known, to avoid classification with such groups as Jehovah's Witnesses, we may properly show that we are patriotic by flying our national flag on the outside of the tabernacle and by appropriately displaying it inside.

Advertising in cities in which we have no membership is practically the same as in cities in which we have churches, with the exception that more advertising may be required, and a greater variety of it, to attract a crowd. There will not be scores or hundreds of church mem­bers to enlarge the attendance by their pres­ence, and by bringing their friends and their relatives. Therefore, the only way to get people to attend the meetings in these new places is through sufficient advertising.

It is well to advertise, not only to get people out, but to keep them attending, especially when we present the Sabbath question. One way I have found effective is to offer to give a Bible to all who will 'attend fifteen nights out of the next twenty. On the first Thursday or Friday night, I display a Bible and promise to give it to the person who invites the most people to attend the following Sunday night. I then place a notice in the printed advertisement which announces the Sunday night subject, that Bibles are to be given away. At the Sunday night service, the Bible is given to the one who has invited the most people, and I then state that I know that others also wanted a Bible, and I am going to tell how all may get one. I have cards prepared- to give out, as shown above.

These cards are given to all who want to try to get a Bible. From night to night they bring these tickets, and have them punched as they pass out the door. I arrange it so that the twenty nights will include three sermons on the Sabbath truth, and then end with a sermon on the mark of the beast. This not only aids in getting more people to hear the Sab­bath truth, but it also aids in getting them to attend long enough and often enough to estab­lish an interest in the message. In addition to these benefits, the plan secures for the evan­gelist the names and addresses of those who are likely to be most interested. When I have more of these cards printed, I think I shall add another rule to it, requiring all who try to get a Bible to be at least twelve years of age. But care should be taken not to make the rules so rigid as to defeat the purpose of the plan. [For advertisement of Bible given away, see page 43.—Ed.]

After the Sabbath truth has been explained. I establish a Sabbath school, but instead of conducting it in the forenoon, using the regular Quarterly, giving the mission reading, and calling it a Sabbath school, I conduct it in the afternoon. I use the Bible School of Evan­gelism lessons, and call it a Bible school, plac­ing considerable emphasis on the name "Bible school." Before announcing that there will be a Bible school conducted, I talk about it at some service, and. get the people to express their interest in it by raising the hand, and, of course, finally settle that Saturday afternoon will be the time for the school. I also promise to give them a special sermon when the Bible class is finished.

Although the unworked fields may require a larger outlay of money from the conference in order to supply the evangelist with a sufficient number of helpers, and to meet the running expense of the effort, profitable efforts could be held in many of these places and scores of new churches organized. It is true that, in some respects, this work may be more trying. It may not be so interesting to the evangelist as where a large church membership exists, and the results may not be so spectacular, but men with the gift of evangelism and a message for the unsaved should not be so influenced by show that some of their time cannot be given to evangelism in cities in which there is no church. To permit the church to keep God's message from going into places where there is not al­ready an organization is inconsistent with what we believe, and to some extent defeats the pur­pose for which the church was established.

Advertisement - Ministry in Motion 300x250

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 C. L. VORIES, Evangelist, Burlington, Iowa

September 1941

Download PDF
Ministry Cover

More Articles In This Issue

Direct Evangelism Our Primary Task

The work for which we have been called into existence is to proclaim in all the world God's message for this time, and "to make ready a people prepared for the Lord."

Adaptability Under War Conditions

Why we need to be flexible in changing times.

Lay Evangelism and Bible Studies

How local pastors and lay members can equip themselves for soul-winning work.

The Canons of Sacred Music

What are the canons, or laws, of sacred music which should govern our choice of sacred music ?

Prophetic Guidance in Early Days

The final article in our series of our look at the influence of the spirit of Prophecy in 1844-1855 look at the development of later attitudes toward the prophetic gift.

What is the Chistian's Best Strategy?

How best do we engage with evolution?

Problems of Daniel 1 (Concluded)

In the article last month on the problems of A the I and their solution, five problems were stipulated, and we dealt with three, showing that they were no problem at all. We come now to problems 4 and 5, and their explanation.

Editorial Keynotes

From the Editor's desk.

A Call for Educational Evangelism

Recognizing the three phases of evangelism.

Safeguards and Responsibilities

A Christian character is the best se­curity to be obtained in the safeguard­ing of money and other values. Hon­esty, sincerity, integrity, and faithfulness in private relations and in public duties, are the qualities which give assurance of moral re­sponsibility.

A Spiritual Lesson from Physiology

There is a phenomenon exhibited by some of the outstanding tissues of the body which demonstrates the "all-or-none law."

Simplifications of Nursing Arts--No. 1

It s the purpose of this article to review simplifications of procedure which may be taught parallel with Nursing Arts, and which may be used while doing nursing in the home.

The Missionary Doctor's Consultant

The challenging and difficult situations of an overseas physician.

The Medical Work in Evangelism

Presentation at a Bible workers' meeting, Gen­eral Conference, San Francisco.

Order of Progressive Bible Studies

Is there a best order for giving bible studies to those unacquainted with our faith?

Dealing With Feuds and Factions

It sometimes happens that feuds and factions spring up in churches, greatly hindering the progress of the work, and turning souls from the church in discouragement and disgust.

Capitalize the Pastor's Study

Let us think of the pastor's study, or office, not only as a medium for contact with church members, but also as an agency toward more efficient work for the pastor in his min­istry.

Editorial Postscripts

From the Ministry back page.

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 - Southern Adv Univ 180x150 - Animated

Trending

Recent issues

See All
Advertisement - Digital Discipleship (160x600)