The Challenge of Evangelism

At no time has the church of Jesus Christ been presented with a greater opportunity for evangelism.

R.A.A. is an associate editor of the Ministry.

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.


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R.A.A. is an associate editor of the Ministry.

January 1942

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