Let us suppose some preliminary work has been done. The prospects are bright, houses and halls are available, and the population and the budget are large enough to plan a campaign with at least a thousand people in attendance for six or eight weeks.
During the first preparation week, the evangelist and his assistants arrive Monday morning in the new town, the scene of their future labors. Homes or lodgings are arranged by Friday. The first Sabbath school is held with the workers.
During the second preparation week, the first workers' meeting is held on Sunday at io A.M. The plan of visiting the various churches of the community is arranged. The second workers' meeting is held the next day, Monday, at 9 A.M. Reports on church services and the spiritual life of the community are given. Searching begins for a suitable hall and the workers arrange to meet every morning at nine to discuss the prospects. Primary and secondary halls are booked, and the contracts signed. Musical arrangements and advertising plans are completed.
The third preparation week is advertising week. Sunday is kept free. The evangelist and his staff become ministers of propaganda for this particular week. Every possible proper method that can be devised and used to draw the right kind of people is put into OperationS The workers' hopes run high. They visualize while they advertise. They try to draw the crowds by appealing advertisements which they place before the public. They work, but do not worry, during this week.
The end of the week brings a good Sabbath day's rest, with study and prayer. The workers are in good spirits. There is justifiable confidence because, humanly speaking, everything that can be done to make the meeting a success has been done. The evangelist and his team are happy, enthusiastic, and thrilled with anticipation.
On Saturday evening of this third preparation week a workers' rehearsal meeting takes place. Every detail of the opening meeting is organized. Every member of the staff knows his or her responsibility. The evangelist prepares himself to present his opening subject better than he has ever done in any previous campaign. He should have no worry. He must not be distracted in any way before the meeting. His mind must now be free from all the details of organization in connection with the opening night. Members of the staff are appointed to make last-minute decisions.
Some evangelists do their best work in their study; some take a long walk in the country; some do their best after a good rest; and some in other ways. Remember that it is the lecture that the people come to hear, and nothing can repair the damage with the public if the evangelist fails to hit the headlines, however good the excuse may be. The people will be attracted to our message by extraordinary means only, and our preaching must be out of the ordinary in these days if we hope to draw and hold large audiences.
Launching the Evangelistic Campaign
FIRST CAMPAIGN WEEK.—Now, suppose we have a big opening Sunday service. A congregation of a thousand has been planned for; one thousand one hundred attend. The evangelist has never gripped his audience better. The staff handle the crowd to perfection. The music is superb. A very profitable hour and a half is enjoyed by all, The campaign is launched!
The workers are happy, enthusiastic, optimistic, energized, and full of encouraging reports for the Monday morning workers' meeting. The workers' meeting on Monday at 9 A.M. is opened with a short Scripture reading, prayer, and thanksgiving.. (From now on only one workers' meeting a week is held.) Territory and names are divided, literature is decided upon, continued advertising is arranged, and plans are made for visiting and making new friends and forgetting the old—that is, the evangelist advises his assistants not to try to keep up correspondence with all their old friends and church members. It takes too much time.
SECOND WEEK.—There is a large attendance at the second Sunday service, and more names and addresses are received. The first crowd has helped to attract the second. The meeting is the biggest thing in the town. This is the "popular period." People like the evangelist and his staff of helpers. They like the song leader and enjoy his musical programs. The singing of their old favorite hymns brings back memories of childhood, and after fife's disillusionments, the message creates a desire to recapture childlike faith.
The workers settle down to steady, regular campaign work. What a work ! What a joy it is to be used to pluck men as brands from the burning! This rewards the faithful evangelist for all his. arduous labors, and compensates for all disappointments.
THIRD WEEK.—There is a good, steady, interested audience. New names are still coming in. Advertising is allowed to wane, for the crowd brings the crowd. Bible instructor visiting is in full swing, a host of contacts is being made, and this ensures the attendance. A message is sent off to an evangelistically minded president with a like-minded committee, for necessary help, which is granted immediately, if at all possible.
FOURTH WEEK.—The evangelist is beginning to feel that he has the confidence of his audience. It will depend on the food he gives the people from now on whether he will make good Seventh-day Adventists or not. If he feels that the audience will be ready to receive the Sabbath doctrine on the sixth Sunday night, he will begin to put on extra pressure in his advertising for the next two weeks, in order to have his largest attendance when the Sabbath is presented.
Present the Sabbath as soon as it is felt that the people will accept it in the right spirit and not leave because of prejudice. Some present it more successfully on the tenth night. Everything depends on the circumstances, the budget, and the confidence that the people have gained in the evangelist.
FIFTH WEEK.—There is a good attendance at the Sunday service on the fifth night, and the interest is keen. An important workers' meeting is held on Monday at 9 A.M. The decision is made to present the Sabbath on the sixth Sunday. Extra advertising and intensive visiting (well thought out in advance) are arranged. There is also a rearranging of names and addresses, to avoid overlapping. Particular attention is given to Sabbath literature.
SIXTH WEEK.—This is a crisis week, for the Sabbath is presented. The first Sabbath meeting is announced for the following Saturday at 3 P.M., and a separate children's service at the same hour.
SEVENTH WEEK.—The Sabbath doctrine is continued. Workers' meeting, Monday morning at 9 A.M. There is discussion on how to meet the people on the Sabbath doctrine. Special advertising is arranged to try to maintain attendances at a high level. The Bible instructors are visiting at full pressure.
EIGHTH WEEK.—This is "incubation week." New Sabbathkeepers are listed, and individuals claimed for God.
NINTH WEEK.—Great opening meeting in secondary hall. Midweek meetings begin. There is a full program of Bible lectures from now onward, suited to build up the new Sabbathkeepers.
WEEKS 10 TO 15.—These are exceedingly important weeks. This is the time when decisions for or against are made. The evangelist seeks to convince, convict, consolidate.
SIXTEENTH WEEK.—An important step is taken in establishing the new church. Sabbath School Lesson Quarterlies are presented to the new Sabbathkeepers. The evangelist conducts Sabbath school from the desk at To A.M., followed by a preaching service at eleven. The assistants care for the details of the program. An appeal is made for a mission offering, and an account of our world work is given. This impresses the new members and gives them a clearer idea of the importance of our work.
SEVENTEENTH WEEK.—This may be a doleful week, a time of discouragement. Times like this decide whether a man is an evangelist or not. The prospects may not be too bright. A very important workers' meeting is held. Some names are changed over if necessary. The first baptism is discussed, a goal for souls is set and a date determined.
The list of interested people is kept continually before the workers. The names are considered in detail every week. The evangelist visits every prospect. The team thinks about the baptism, talks about it, plans and prays for it. They feel that it is the most important thing that they have ever undertaken. There is nothing in the world that they want so much as a good baptism.
WEEKS 18 TO 23.—These are the testing weeks of the campaign for the evangelist and for the staff. They hold on, hold hard, and work with patience for the harvest.
TWENTY-FOURTH WEEK.—Perspiration point. Preparations are made for the first baptism. There is no substitute for hard work if a good baptism is to be achieved.
TWENTY-FIFTH WEEK.—Victory Week ! The baptismal service is held—the workers' joy and delight. Each member of the team contributes to make it a good service, keeping in mind the second baptism. They realize that many more will decide if the first baptismal service is all that it should be. They plan to baptize between twenty-five and thirty-five at the first baptism, if possible.
WEEKS 26 To 30.—Meetings are held as usual. The evangelist begins to talk about the new church, and to create an interest in it. He asks new members to look for a church. He plans to organize the company in their new church five or six weeks after the first baptism. (This means that something special is happening every five or six weeks.)
THIRTY-FIRST WEEK.—This is company organization week. A great opening meeting is conducted in the new church. M.V. services on Friday evenings are begun. The Bible study at three on Sabbath afternoon continues to indoctrinate the new members on vital and necessary subjects. A good Sunday evening public meeting is kept up, in preparation for a second baptism.
WEEKS 32 TO 39.—Preparations for the second baptism are in progress, and the new church is being brought into line in every particular, in order that she may be worthy to join the sisterhood of churches. Necessary church equipment is secured.
FORTIETH WEEK.—The second baptismal service is held. Revival and consecration week.
WEEKS 41 TO 47.—Services are held as usual. The workers are strengthening the weak in the faith and binding off the work. Preparations for church organization are being completed.
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