One of the major problems that the pastor-evangelist must meet in locating in a new field, is reclaiming backsliders and bringing back into the fold those who were at one time members. When I entered my present field nine months ago, I found only about sixty per cent of the church members attending the church services. A large number, particularly young families, were not attending and had lost interest in the church largely because the church was not interested in them. Many of them were following the pleasures of this world and were a reproach to the church of Christ.
Today our attendance has doubled, and our people have taken a new hold on the Lord. We are grateful for the blessing of the Lord in our endeavors for those who had lost interest. Not only have those whose names were still on the church books been reclaimed, but some of the ex-Adventists have already come back into the church, and a goodly number more are seriously considering the matter. We firmly believe that before many more months, these, too, will be with us.
I have always made it a practice to do much of my work in the homes of the people. In the home, the pastor can get close to them, and they will share their burdens and problems with him. I have been told again and again by members that I was the first minister ever to visit the home. Some who have been Adventists for many years have told me they have not been visited by their pastors in ten, fifteen, or seventeen years. This explains to my mind why some lose interest. They have problems with which the pastor can help them.
It was only a few days ago that a member of a former Adventist family asked me, "Why didn't the church work with us as it does now, when we were drifting out of the church ?," This family returned to the fold, but not until I had labored with them for months.
As an evangelist, I make my acquaintance with the people and gain their confidence in my public lectures, but the work in the home and the personal contacts make Adventists out of them.
I am profoundly convinced, fellow workers, that in order to hold what we have, to bring new members into the church through evangelism, and to reclaim backsliders and ex-Adventists, we must faithfully visit the people in their homes. This contact shows our love and interest for them. My personal experience has proved to me that this is the most effective way.