Experiments in Evangelism

There are no doubt methods of successful evangelism which are not yet being employed. How should we experiment?

By A. W. Ortner, District Superintendent, Southern New England Conference

There are no doubt methods of successful evangelism which are not yet being employed. It is easy to get into the rut of doing things according to the conventional way, and therefore failing to seek new ways and means, which if used would prove to be much more successful. I believe that every worker should avoid this rut by always seeking and trying out new methods of winning souls. We should be willing to experiment with any plan which seems to be reasonably feasible. The correspondence method of instructing people in this message has proved its worth. Through this plan thousands of people are being enlightened who have never been reached by the customary methods of evangelism.

Believing that the correspondence course could be used as a valuable asset in soul-winning work, I have experimented with it in my district. This experimentation has convinced me that the correspondence method can be used to greatly increase results.

Last fall we chose to work in a city which had a population of twelve thousand people. Eight thousand of these were Catholic, one thousand Protestant, and the remainder made no profession. Because of this, I concluded that if the attendance did not prove to be good, I would present six noncontroversial Bible lectures, designed to arouse interest in the prophecies of the Bible, and en roll as many people as possible in the Bible correspondence course. On the first night the attendance was rather small; therefore I decided to carry Out the plan just mentioned. The Bible course was offered each evening, and a goodly number of people were enrolled.

The series of meetings was advertised by circulars and in the newspapers as the Twentieth Century Bible Institute. A group of laymen began to work this city from house to house, with the purpose of enrolling as many people as possible in the correspondence course. These workers introduced themselves as representatives of the

Twentieth Century Bible Institute. This introduction proved to be an entering wedge. The course was briefly described and offered. About eighty were enrolled. Some of these are now definitely interested. Thus a good work was accomplished with a minimum of effort, time, and expense. It is too early to estimate the results accurately.

In January we opened a series of meetings in one of the suburbs of Providence. The attendance proved to be very satisfactory, and therefore we decided to present a complete series of Bible lectures. The correspondence course was offered each evening, and a majority of those who at tended were enrolled. Our lay people began to work the city from house to house, with the hope that many who did not attend the meetings might be enrolled in the course. A hundred and twenty-five people signed the enrollment cards. Many of these are active students. The meetings have just been concluded and the prospects for gathering in a good harvest of souls are very good.

We plan to use this method to evangelize as much of our district as possible. While the two series of meetings were being conducted, a district-wide campaign was under way on the part of our church members to encourage friends and neighbors to take the Twentieth Century Bible Course. About eight hundred people have signed the enrollment cards. Approximately 20 percent have sent in one or more lessons. Scores of these people are thus receiving the message in a systematic way. I am confident that many of these will ultimately accept the message. Several of them will be baptized within the next few weeks.

Many improvements will no doubt be made as we continue to work this plan. I am convinced that there are great soul-winning possibilities in this method.

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By A. W. Ortner, District Superintendent, Southern New England Conference

September 1944

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