Press!—Despite the marvelous potentialities of the radio, the newspaper still affords an unparalleled avenue for publicity that all our evangelists and pastors should capitalize to the full. Besides sermon write-ups, think of the news possibilities of the local church—special services and programs, guest speakers, rallies, funerals, weddings, welfare work and campaigns, not to mention visits of the pastor to worker meetings, institutes, and conventions, as well as occasional dedications, transfers, etc. Or think of the evangelistic side —securing the auditorium or lot, erecting the tabernacle or tent, lecture high lights; baptisms, local radio broadcasts, health or food demonstrations, exceptional music, and the like. Then there are camp meetings, conference sessions, Junior Camps, campaigns, institutional reports, and limitless other features waiting to be publicized. The reading public wants news. We have news and we are news. Our message is the greatest and best news, yes, the most startling news, in the world. Let us give it in an interest-gripping, newsy way through the public press.
Questionable!—To make heavy draft upon one's junior evangelistic associates, whose salaries are paid by the conference treasury, requiring them to multiply and assemble mimeographed sermons, for example, either personally or through superintending a laymen's "bee"—put on either during the day or at night after the meeting—is open to serious question ethically. In the first place, young workers are entitled to fair opportunity in phases of actual evangelism suitable for beginners, and should not be confined to mechanical routine. This is especially true when the returns from the sales do not go back into the literature sales funds. However, the most serious aspect of all is that priceless time is thus taken away from personal work and visitation, which is our first business and responsibility during the course of an effort.
Edenic!—Once in a great while, one is privileged to catch some glimpse of nature's lingering beauty that serves as a reminder of the fadeless glories of Eden, and becomes a foretaste and an earnest of those glories to be restored in the earth made new. Recently I beheld such a scene at the famous Sherwood Azalea Gardens in Baltimore. Never have I seen a more glorious riot of color. Massed bank upon bank, flanked by great beds of gorgeous tulips and pansies, and set into backgrounds of evergreens of every variety, the ravishing beauty of the azaleas simply swept one off his feet. It was awesome and inspiring, uplifting and stimulating. Yet these glorious blooms soon fade. At best, they last only a few days. Thus they become the grim reminder of the tragic result of sin. All earthly beauty passes, the petals fall, and the grandeur is soon over. May God hasten the day when Edenic beauty shall be restored forever, when the leaf shall not wither nor the blossom fail, when man redeemed shall dwell with Him in the earth made new!
Stultifying!—Listening in to the radio program of a young evangelist recently, we noted a very startling similarity of phrasing to a set of sermons by one of our experienced evangelists. We found that it was the identical sermon almost word for word. It was a good sermon, but it was distinctly borrowed. Quite apart from the ethics of such out and out plagiarism, the stultifying, stagnating, effect upon a minister who follows this practice is tragic. It means the crippling of his own growth and development through leaning upon the work of other's instead of creating new themes by study, prayer, toil, and downright sweat. Someday that youthful evangelist may wonder why certain others of his age, or even younger, seem to forge ahead, while he lags behind in recognition and advancement. But the responsibility for his slow-up must rest squarely on his own shoulders. The "easy" way is the way beset by disappointment and perhaps defeat.
Diverted!—It is gratifying, in many ways, to find an evangelist or Bible instructor with unusual capabilities as a promoter or financial lifter. To be able to turn financial agent and raise hundreds or even thousands of dollars, so that the conference instinctively (and frequently) turns to such a person for help in all emergencies and, extremities, is not without its virtues and its rewards. He or she will usually be in demand, especially with reference to financial matters. But for a Bible instructor, for example, to spend weeks and months on conference salary, liquidating the indebtedness of a church or school, or carrying the major burden of the Ingathering for a church, is open to serious challenge. That is neither the purpose of her call nor the sphere of her calling—especially when there is such a demand for effective, soul-winning Bible instructors today. We must all do our part in carrying the load, but let us not be constantly diverted from our commissioned task.
L. E. F.