A million methodists mobilize is the arousing caption of an article by G. H. Black in the Christian Advocate of September It. As the associate secretary for the commission on evangelism, the writer sets forth the aims for this new movement within the Methodist Church. The program, which covers two years, aims to accomplish a very definite objective: "To mobilize one million Methodists for spiritual service ; reclaim one million more members; secure one million new members."
Such a program calls for large planning, and the writer goes on to state that one thousand selected ministers will be trained this year to direct home visitation campaigns. Leadership training schools will be conducted throughout the whole country. "When the program is complete," states the writer, "Methodism will have the greatest host of personal workers that ever participated in an evangelistic endeavor."
This urge for a new evangelistic awakening in Methodism is surely heartening, and is an indication that among certain sections of the Christian church, which for years has been withering under the blight of an arrogant Modernism, there is a definite movement back to the "altar call." One writer says, "Methodism is on the march." Not only are Methodists on the march, but thousands of Christians representing all creeds are vitally concerned for their spiritual condition. Such words as "evangelism" and "revival" have, in recent decades, been almost discarded by large sections of the Christian church. But today there is a distinct change.
While the Christian church has been slumbering, the enemy has been sowing tares, and having sown to the wind, we are reaping the whirlwind. No wonder men's hearts are failing them for fear. Like the prodigal son, who "came to himself," and then resolved to return to the father, millions who for years have been trying to live without religion have discovered that life without religion is only existence, if indeed it is existence at all. Such living is as the poverty of the pigpen in comparison with the liberty and life of home. In multitudes of hearts there lurks a longing for the reality of religion.
The following extract from one of the resolutions of the Methodist General Conference of 1940 could well be taken as a resolution for the church of the advent message the world around :
"We therefore call on every church in Methodism to promote annually a program of evangelism, embracing personal visitation, public meetings, educational, pastoral, and clinical evangelism, to reach the unreached, campaigns to make the increasing army of inactive members active, to teach children who are without religious training, and to cultivate uncultivated fields. To this end we urge the reopening of the closed doors of the churches on Sunday evenings. We pledge ourselves to take the gospel of Christ by all available methods to the multitudes who are not in the churches."—Christian Advocate, Sept. II, 1940.
At no time has the church of Jesus Christ been presented with a greater opportunity for evangelism. We must lay hold on this God-given opportunity.
R. A. ANDERSON.