Streamlining Personal Visitation

Surely we, as God's messengers, must develop a higher regard for health principles as laid down in God's writ­ings for His people, and study to develop a more efficient plan in place of excessive personal visitation in connection with our public lecture services.

By ALBERT A. LEISKE, Evangelist, Colorado Conference

Not long ago I visited an evangelist who was successful to a certain degree in his work. I inquired concerning his method and found that instead of crediting his success to some simplified plan, he credited it to his stren­uous visiting program. He had his workers out every day all over the city, until they were all exhausted and unable to do justice to the evening program. I have seen that evangelist dash into the evening service with his entire company depleted of physical strength for the evening responsibilities. Surely we, as God's messengers, must develop a higher regard for health principles as laid down in God's writ­ings for His people, and study to develop a more efficient plan in place of excessive personal visitation in connection with our public lecture services.

In my evangelistic equipment I take into consideration the importance of personal con­tact with the people for Bible study, visiting, and prayer. I consider that the offices which we have in our tabernacle for the various workers are just as important to the success of our re­vival campaign as the prayer room, the lecture hall, or the Bible classroom. These rooms are used every evening, prior to the lecture, for our streamlined visitation and Bible studies.

Four of these offices are located near the main entrance of the auditorium. On one side we have the office of the evangelist and of his secretary, and on the other side of the entrance we have two more offices with separate entrances ; these are occupied by two of our senior pastors in the city, who serve as spiritual counselors and advisers. If these brethren understand their responsibilities, their services are most valuable. We have placed an arch door between these two rooms for the convenience of the pastors, in case they wish to consult each other on some special case or problem, and in that way it is not necessary for them to come out into the main auditorium.

Our evangelistic company is organized into various groups in order to fit into the program properly as a whole. We have the musical group, which takes general oversight of the tabernacle and the congregation 'before the services and during the music period. Then we have the spiritual counselors and advisers in their various offices, prepared to give counsel to all who are seeking a deeper experience in the things of God, to answer Bible questions, to help people in their problems of life, and to unite with lost souls in seeking God for the forgiveness of sins.

The third group consists of the floor workers out in the main auditorium, who meet the people as they come to the evening lecture. They study the individuals as they come into the audito­rium, observe their interest in the messages or sermons, and if they meet a person who wishes to ask questions on the Bible, they immediately refer him to one of the pastors. We generally have the ministers' wives, in appropriate uni­form dress, serve in this capacity.

The name, address, and telephone nuniber are secured from each individual who visits the office; also information which might be helpful to the Bible instructors or the evan­gelist. If possible, the pastor makes an ap­pointment for a Bible instructor to visit the home. The information and appointment se­cured in this way save considerable time and extra driving.

The office workers have other responsibilities which are very important in securing valuable information and appointments for the evan­gelistic company. We prepare a free mimeograph copy of certain lectures, but instead of mailing them out or handing them to the people at the door, we ask those who are interested to call for them at the various offices. This puts us in personal contact with hundreds of people in a very short time, and in an inexpensive way.

We have a free literature card which is passed out by a floor worker to all as they enter the lecture hall on certain Sunday nights, and then we announce from the platform that a free copy of the original lecture will be available to all who will fill out the literature card and call at the office the next Tuesday night. We explain that we have them fill out the card to ascertain how many copies of the lecture will be needed; also securing their names gives an opportu­nity for our Bible instructors to arrange the names alphabetically, so the crowd may be handled efficiently. The Bible instructors arrange the cards in four equal sections to be divided among the four offices. The evangelist in one office might receive the cards with names from A to F; the next office; the names from G to L; the third, the names from M to R; and the last office, from S to Z. The alpha­betical arrangement of the names in each office is given to the floor workers, and when the people come to the tabernacle on Tuesday night and request their free lecture, they are di­rected to the various offices.

I am sure that it is possible for each to understand that the spiritual counselors have a big task on their hands. Their services are indeed most valuable and important. The floor workers must see to it, as the people crowd into the auditorium, that the men in the offices have sufficient time to get the necessary information that is needed to properly carry on in an efficient manner and secure the right information. As the individual comes into the office for his lec­ture, the first thing we do is to secure his name, address, and telephone number. We look up the card that he filled out on Sunday night, and then proceed very tactfully to secure the needed information.

Here are some of the questions that we ask : "Was Sunday night your first service ? Are you enjoying. the lectures ? In what part of the city do you live? When are you generally at home? The reason I am asking this is that I might call on you sometime." Then we pro­ceed to make an appointment if a definite inter­est is shown. In securing this information the office workers or spiritual counselors must be capable of feeling their way. Again I wish to repeat, a great deal of energy and useless run­ning around is saved by this plan, and m6re people are reached in less time. I have been amazed at the large numbers who have been helped through our spiritual advisers between seven and eight o'clock each evening prior to our regular lecture.

The service of the spiritual counselors is most valuable after the testing truths have been pre­sented. They begin a definite work fdr the people who are interested in the truth, to bring them to a decision. As souls are struggling to make a decision, the gathering of the people in the auditorium, and the singing of the beautiful gospel songs during the music service, have a marvelous effect on those who are almost persuaded to take their stand for the truth. I have found that it is much easier to get a de­cision in one of our offices, when troubles of the world are on the outside and we are shut in alone with God, and the spirit of the evening service is taking hold of the hearts of the people.

The entire working force must bear in mind that their work is not the only thing that is going on in the tabernacle at that very moment. The music director must know that the wrong song just at this time might bring the wrong decision in some office. So we can see that the harmonious effort of each individual in the company is essential to carry on an efficient and definite program for God.

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By ALBERT A. LEISKE, Evangelist, Colorado Conference

December 1943

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