Question-and-Answer Service

In this duo discussion two of our experienced evangelists discuss the advantages of the question­and-answer service in the evangelistic meetings.

J.L. Shuler

R.L. Boothby

In this duo discussion two of our experienced evangelists discuss the advantages of the question­and-answer service in the evangelistic meetings. First J. L. Shuler sets forth the reasons for conducting the question-and-answer service for a short period every night of his meetings. Then R. L. Boothby tells why he prefers to use the question box one night a week only, devoting the whole evening to this feature.

A Question--And--Answer service, every night, rightly conducted, is one of the most valuable mediums of free adver­tising for an evangelistic effort. In fact, this part of the meeting may be even more valuable in building and holding the interest than the paid advertising. Evangelists generally recog­nize the value of using questions in their paid advertisments to create a desire to hear their sermons. Why not have a nightly question-and­answer service during which you can capitalize on the people's questions to build interest in your future subjects?

Many questions will come in on hell, the state of the dead, the Sabbath, the unpardonable sin, the mark of the beast, etc. If the evange­list gives thought to the matter, he can, without revealing his position on these subjects, say something that will greatly arouse the interest of his entire audience to hear his forthcoming lectures on these vital themes. The preacher who knows how to keep the people curious will hold their interest and attendance.

In this procedure the benefit of the question service is not limited merely to the questioner, but it reacts on the entire audience for building and holding the interest. The public in gen­eral have scarcely any concept of the many vital themes which are to be discussed in an Adventist evangelistic effort. The question service tends to develop these themes in a natural way, without any forced publicity on the part of the speaker. Those questions open up vistas of interest to the hearers as to what the meetings have in store for them. Certainly it pays to instill into their minds the importance of the meetings in this manner. As they hear these questions read and commented upon, many conclude, If these meetings are to take up such important items, I must plan to attend every lecture.

One of the requisites for conducting a suc­cessful public effort is to know how to build and hold the interest, beginning with the first meeting. The nightly question-and-answer service affords a most desirable opportunity to build and hold the interest during the early weeks of the effort.

Some of the other advantages of a question­and-answer service preceding each sermon are:

It helps to bring the people on time for the sermon. It allows time for various needed distributions by the ushers. It can be used to create an interesting and natural approach to the Sabbath truth in the sermons. It may be utilized, beginning with the second Saturday ,of the effort, to start the people coming to the place of meeting on Sabbath afternoons.

The question-and-answer service opens the way to remove objections to the destruction of the wicked, the unconscious state of the dead, and the Sabbath, just as soon as these doctrines are first brought before the audience. It provides opportunity for the repetition of truth on our vital doctrines and makes a deepening impression on the minds of the people. It helps produce better-informed converts. It gives people help on their precise needs. It affords op­portunity to remove doubts and clear up misunderstandings, when they first arise. As a rule, the sooner misunderstandings are cleared up, the better. Why wait until several weeks of meetings have passed, before starting to clear away questions of misunderstanding?

If the meetings are well planned, the question­and-answer service will not encroach upon the time needed for the sermon, nor prolong the meeting beyond its proper length. On the re­verse side of the card I use for questions, I have a few rules printed. One of these rules is : "We reserve the right to read and answer from the desk only such questions as may be profit­able." This tends to eliminate foolish or un­wise questions.


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J.L. Shuler

R.L. Boothby

December 1943

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