Soul Winning by Correspondence

In the results obtained by the correspondence method of soul winning we see direct fulfillment of the Lord's promise of Isaiah 55:11.

By Dallas Youngs, Director, Bible Correspondence School, Potomac Conference

In the results obtained by the correspondence method of soul winning we see direct fulfillment of the Lord's promise of Isaiah 55:11: "So shall My word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto Me void, but it shall accom­plish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it."

When an individual or a family sits down in the quietness and privacy of its own home and studies the Bible under the guidance and direction of our fine doctrinal lessons, the Holy Spirit is able to make deep and lasting impressions. Decisions are made under no emotional influence but under the influence of the Spirit, and must of necessity be enduring. The naked, unadulterated Word of God is powerful. It is accompanied with the power of the Lord's Spirit, and therefore must suffice to effect the transformation of sinful hearts.

The possibilities of the correspondence method of soul winning are almost entirely unexploited. It is entirely within the realm of possibility that every conference in America could have a live school of from five to fifty thousand students. Here is a method that is wholly peculiar to Seventh-day Adventists. Other denominations are not using it—they have not yet recognized its possibilities. God has given us a new method. We are in the field with it ahead of all others. Let us organize and use to the fullest this God-given way of help­ing to finish our task.

The correspondence method is one that gets both short- and long-range results. Some students make immediate decisions to obey latter-day truths; others who do not definitely decide can never for­get what they have learned. The following letter is indicative of the immediate results obtained:

"I do not as yet belong to the Adventist Church, but I expect to join in the near future. It is going to be a hard road for me to travel on this earth, as everybody is against me. But with God's help I am going all the way with my Saviour. I can see it no other way but that this is the true teaching of God's Word for today. None of my people believe this truth. I pray that as I study these lessons I will come to know ray Bible well enough that I may show them something that will bring them to Christ, that in the last days they may not be led by false teachers.

The correspondence plan is certain, as time goes on, to become a strong evangelistic aid. Soon, wherever the evangelist pitches his tent, or con­ducts his meeting, he will find those who have in­doctrinated themselves through the study of the lessons at some time or other. A student may study part of the lessons or complete the course and yet not accept the truth ; however, in "the changing of the times" he may be brought into other circumstances and make other contacts. He may meet an Adventist believer or attend an evan­gelistic series, and the Holy Spirit will bring to his mind with new force the truths he has learned before, and lead him to an acceptance of them.

A Self-Supporting Plan.—Conference presi­dents should take note that this is undoubtedly the only soul-winning plan in use that will, when rightly organized and carried on, bring in sufficient in gifts and offerings to meet all expenses. The Potomac Correspondence School has more than met the costs of operation. Gifts and offerings for the month of December amounted to $552.50. The total offerings of both- November and December were almost a thousand dollars. If rightly located, a correspondence school can be carried on by trained laymen. It has been our plan here to ar­range with lay people who have time and ability to give one day a week to correcting lessons, ad­dressing envelopes, folding lessons, etc. The re­sponse has been gratifying, and we have arranged with a sufficient number of laymen to come the same day each week to carry on the present en­rollment of three thousand students. It has been necessary to employ only one secretary.

People will give to something in which they are interested, and from which they receive benefit. The lessons are sent out free to everyone. How­ever, we have felt that it is for the student's best good for him to support the school from which he is receiving benefit. Appeals are made on the basis of giving an offering to "help send the lessons to others." We suggest the amount of the offer­ing, and find that it works very well. The aver­age offering is a dollar, with a good sprinkling of fives and an occasional ten. We make it a point to answer the student's questions, and to take a personal interest in him. The student appreciates this, and generally is more than glad to give an offering to help pass on to someone else the bless­ing he is receiving.

A Central Organization is Best.—The terri­tory of a conference lends itself well to the con­ducting of a correspondence school. No point is so far distant that the student cannot get his lesson back quickly. This prevents loss of interest. Only those who have taken work by correspondence can appreciate the eagerness and anticipation with which the student awaits the return of his lessons, and the receipt of advance lessons. If lessons are corrected and returned within a day or two, it indi­cates to the student that the school is progressive and punctual, and this will tend in turn to inspire the student.

A centrally located correspondence school in a conference has all the advantages that a consoli­dated day school has over small country schools. The central school is equipped and manned to carry on the work efficiently. It has all the ad­vantages of economy. A considerable saving can be effected in the purchase of lessons, paper, and other supplies in quantities. In some cases a sav­ing of 50 per cent can be effected by a large print­ing order over a small one. However, the great advantage of a single conference school is the sav­ing effected in the time of a skilled and highly trained minister. Ministers, district leaders, and evangelists, skilled in the holy art of developing and directing spiritual interests, should not spend their time in conducting or supervising a district school of a few hundred students. We have found that it works out very well if the student is re­ferred to the minister or Bible instructor when he has .reached the tenth lesson. If the minister calls at the time the student is studying the tenth or twelfth lesson, he will be able to gain confidence before the presentation of doctrines which create prejudice.

Ordained ministers with vision and intuition and the ability to organize are needed to develop the correspondence work. To place the responsibility upon an already overburdened home missionary secretary, or to turn this important soul-winning work over to the stenographic force, is to doom it to failure or near failure. Hundreds and thou­sands of Bible questions come in from students, which for the success of the school and the win­ning of souls, call for a correspondence secretary skilled in theology.

As America departs from the principles of re­ligious liberty, it is not unlikely that we may lose our right to the use of the airways, and public evangelism may become more and more difficult ; but undoubtedly the free use of the mails will con­tinue after other liberties are abridged. No one soul-winning method may be used to' the exclusion of others ; but every vehicle of conveying the truth must be employed in these last days.

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By Dallas Youngs, Director, Bible Correspondence School, Potomac Conference

July 1945

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