How can the public know about our work unless someone tells them? We may have something ever so valuable, but unless people hear about it, it will do them no good.
"The character and importance of our work are judged by the efforts made to bring it before the public. When these efforts are so limited, the impression is given that the message we present is not worthy of notice."—Historical Sketches, p. 200.
In the commercial world one manufacturer's product may be just as good as another's, but the one most often spoken of, or most widely advertised,-delivers the goods.
In introducing an evangelistic program in a city, I use a trade name such as Prophecy Speaks and feature this name throughout the campaign. Where p6ssible, I prefer to start with a good radio program about six weeks before the effort opens. This gathers a large us
tening audience arid builds good will. Two weeks later the program is advertised by newspapers, phone calls, and announcement cards. Along with the radio program a Bible correspondence course is launched. This is advertised on the radio, in the newspaper, and by covering the city with handbills.
Of first importance in publicizing an evangelistic effort is the location of the meeting place. The best location in the city is the most outstanding publicity an evangelist can get. Next in importance, in my opinion, is newspaper display advertising and free or paid write-ups. The Spirit of prophecy has this to say:
"The truth presented by the living preacher should be ,published in as compact a form as possible, and circulated widely. As far as practicable, let the important discourses given at our camp-meetings be published in the newspapers. Thus the truth which was placed before a limited number may find access to many minds. And where the truth has been misrepresented, the people will have an opportunity of knowing just what the minister said."—Testimonies, vol. 6, p. 37.
The Bible tells us in Habakkuk 2 :2: "Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it." People are running to and fro these days ; therefore, our advertising should be plain, brief, and catchy, so the public can read it while on the move.
A variety of publicity features is necessary that the public might see the invitation many times and in several different places. For example, a man may be a radio listener and enroll in the Bible course; then he sees the place of meeting in the newspaper, and notes that it is the most popular auditorium in the city. The subject title is timely and interests him. Then he picks up an announcement at the door of his home. The next day he hears a spot announcement on the radio. On his way to work he sees window cards in the stores about town. As he drives along behind the streetcar or bus he sees a poster there. Going past the auditorium, he sees a large, attractive sign. Then in the evening when he returns home and looks at his mail he finds a card inviting him to the meeting, for he is a Bible course enrollee. If this man lived on a rural route he would get an invitation by mail, even though he is not enrolled in the Bible course. On Sunday morning he may answer his telephone to hear someone give him a courteous invitation to attend the meeting. Again, he may hear some organ music on his street, and on looking out he sees a sound car go by, with a bumper-to-bumper sign on it.
By repetition our advertising thus becomes persistent. All these publicity features work separately or together. A man may see all or a few of them; we hope he will at least see one of them. The more often he and others see or hear the invitation, the more likely we are to have a good audience on the opening night.
The whole program, as well as the sermon on the opening night, should live up to and exceed the advertising. All should click together in order and on time from beginning to end. A late start, lengthy preliminaries, a poor musical selection, a sermon that is too long, or some other bungling feature cheapens and tends to annul much of the publicity that has preceded the meeting. Let us not build up for a letdown, but rather exceed the build-up. What happens on the opening night ought to be the best of publicity.