"O that my ways were directed to keep Thy statutes!" Ps. 119:5.
Today many people are asking the way. They want to be directed. They are asking, "Is it Chrigtian Science I want? Is it Catholocism? Will I find peace and contentment of mind in the teachings of Jehovah's Witnesses? Or is it more likely that the Seventh-day Adventists have the truth? But where can I find them?"
We probably have but little conception of the many influences that are now having a part in directing people's minds. Jesus taught that "a city that is set on a hill cannot be hid." He said, Don't light a candle and put it under a bushel. Surely in these days of spiritual darkness He would tell our Adventist church leaders, "Put signs on your churches. Give the people in your community every direction possible to find your church. Go even further, and guide the travelers passing through. Let everyone know that there is a Seventh-day Adventist house of worship, and how and where to find it."
For four years the burden of a nation-wide project to mark our churches, erect signboards on highways to direct people to them, and in other ways publicize the existence of our churches, their location, and time of services has been pressed upon our Bureau of Press Relations.
"There are scores of persons traveling about in the various cities who would attend our services if they could find our churches," one General Conference vice-president wrote us, urging that we push a campaign in behalf of getting Adventist churches listed on hotel bulletin boards, in church directories, and in the news papers. "Almost everything is listed," he said, "except our churches. This is a big mistake."
Of course it is a big mistake. It is a pity, a tragedy, a hiding of our light under a bushel, for which there is no excuse. In the judgment day we may hear these words of accusation: "I looked for a Seventh-day Adventist church and could not find it. A sign on the highway directed me to a Christian Science church, and I turned to that."
'Who will be responsible? We are glad that more and more church leaders are taking seriously the need of giving attention to this subject. Progressive pastors here and there, possibly with the support of the men's society, have placed attractive signs on their churches or on the lawns. A few have caught the vision of placing guide signs on the main highways or streets to direct people as to the distance, where to turn, and so forth. What a thrill it is when all at once, as you are passing through a town where you are not acquainted, you come to a neat signboard which says, "Seventh-day Adventist Church, 2 Blocks North."
W. A. Butler, of the Home Missionary Department of the General Conference, has long felt the need for more adequate church publicity, and has been instrumental in having the accompanying cuts made. I am sure many will appreciate the suggestions shown here. The important thing is that we get quick action in putting up such directions, and that we make them clear, neat, and attractive. If it calls for a new sign on the church to correspond with the guide signs, or perhaps some paint, or extra care for the lawn, arrange for these as well. Possibly many of our workers and church elders are willing and eager to publicize their churches properly, but do not know how to proceed. If you do not have a handy man or carpenter in your church, who could construct signs or bulletin boards, we would suggest that you consult a sign painter.
The Lord's Spirit is impressing people these days to look for truth, and we must open the way for them to find out where it is taught. So much about making it convenient for those not of our faith to find our churches. But what about our own church members and ministers who travel through the country, and would like to worship with those of like faith? Every few days we hear tales of anguish and distress from this one and that one who was in a certain city on a Sabbath day, and tried to find the Seventh-day Adventist church. They could not find the church listed in the telephone directory, or in the newspaper, or anywhere else. They inquired diligently, but no one could give them the information. They went to the "butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker," but were unable to obtain the exact address of the church.
They visited the fire hall, the police station, and some, as a last resort, even went to the undertaker. In some cases they found out, but in others had to give up. Is your church guilty of such negligence?
Besides providing markers, check up also with those in charge of hotel church directories, and get your church properly listed there. And if you aren't in the newspaper with a standing announcement that appears along with all the other churches each week, be sure to care for that also. Why should a person looking over the announcements of the churches in a city find the Methodists, the Baptists, the Lutherans, the Catholics, and all the rest represented there, but not a line announcing the services of the Seventh-day Adventists—a church entrusted with the truth of God for these last days?
"O that my ways were directed to keep Thy statutes !"