Bible Schools in Neglected Places

A definite aim and a definite purpose must in­spire the co-worker with Christ.

By JOHN R. JOHNSON, Pastor-Evangelist, Charleston, West Virginia

The prompt act on the part of Andrew in bringing his brother to Christ reveals one of the greatest principles of soul winning: "One of the two which heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother. He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ. And he brought him to Jesus." Here is organization, well-directed effort for a single soul, and a per­sistence in that effort until results are obtained. A definite aim and a definite purpose must in­spire the co-worker with Christ.

"In our planning for the extension of the work, far more than the cities alone must be comprehended.

Those in the highways are not to be neglected; neither are those in the hedges; and as we Journey about from place to place and pass by house after house, we should often inquire, 'Have the people who are living in these places heard the message? Has the truth of God's Word been brought to their ears? Do they understand that the end of all things is at hand, and that the judgments of God are impending? Do they realize that every soul has been bought with an infinite price?' As I meditate upon these things, my heart goes out in deep longing to see the truth carried in its simplicity to the 'homes of these people along the highways and Places far removed from the crowded centers of population. It is our privilege to visit them and acquaint them with God's love for them and with His wonderful provision for the sal­vation of their souls."—Evangelism, p. 4.

The organization of community Bible schools in small city efforts and in rural evangelism de­pends on openings resulting from the sowing of the gospel seed. We can expect no interest or openings unless we sow the seeds of truth. However, if we will faithfully "sow beside all waters" God has promised: "My word. . shall not return unto Me void." Isa. 55:11. The or­ganization of a single Bible school is simple after the interest has been aroused. I shall con-line this report to the various ways that should or could be used to arouse the interest so that a community Bible school may be organized. To my mind this is basic and underlies everything else in the consideration of this subject. Let us consider five avenues which are open to us for the organization of Bible schools.

First, encourage the lay preacher to find openings by continually sowing the seed of truth. If the ministry could be awakened to the potential strength which lies in the hands of the lay members, our results in soul winning would be tenfold. It should be our constant ob­jective to encourage our faithful members to go to work where they are.

"The sower sowed 'his seed.' Christ taught the truth because He was the truth. His own thought, His char­acter, His life experience, were embodied in His teaching. So with His servants: those who would teach the word are to make it their own by a personal experience."—Christ's Object Lessons, p. 37.

When our laity become soul-winning con­scious they will keep in close touch with the minister, the Bible instructors, and those compe­tent to open Bible schools, pointing them to new interests. This earnest burden for souls will change the atmosphere of any lukewarm church, and God's work will go forward with power. This is one of our greatest avenues for Bible schools, through the soul:burdened lay member who is continually sowing the seed.

Second, where we have churches, let the lights shine out for Sunday night meetings. We must not allow ourselves to get into the do-nothing rut Many workers feel that because they are not permitted to have a large evange­listic effort, with a large financial budget, that they can do nothing. This is a grave mistake. Sunday night meetings in the church will re­quire but a minimum expense account, and great good may result.

During last year's work I recall a very good experience that will serve as a humble illustra­tion of how a community Bible school was or­ganized five miles out of the city in a rural community. A man became interested in our message through attending our meetings. He was living in a rural section and opened his home for Bible studies. Although not yet a member, he worked with a steady enthusiasm among his neighbors and friends. For five months a Bible school was carried on in his home once a week. Each meeting found there the same interested ones, and friends whom they invited. After the Sabbath truth was pre­sented, a branch Sabbath school was organized, which met on Sabbath afternoon. Although the final results have not been realized, five people from this rural community have been baptized.

As a third avenue we list systematic work with the Bible correspondence courses in the rural and outlying sections. The Ingathering program will serve very effectively as a means of sowing the gospel seed, and if properly car­ried on will bring good results. In our Ingather­ing work last year, while calling on the homes for offerings, our members were asked to enroll as many as possible in the Voice of Prophecy correspondence course, and the 20th Century Bible Course.

We are beginning to see the results of this faithful effort. In a little community some thir­ty-five miles from the city, a family of four have become interested through the Voice of Prophecy Junior Course. A small girl of eleven finished the course. This family is now asking for help, and desires to study the Bible in their home. In the same neighborhood a man com­pleted the 20th Century Bible Course, and is keeping the Sabbath. Also two other women in this vicinity are interested. The way is now open for the organization of a community Bible school. If we would be faithful in using the cor­respondence courses, doing a systematic work in rural and outlying sections, God certainly will see to it that His chosen ones find and ac­cept the last warning message.

The fourth avenue is following up the work of the colporteur evangelist. The faithful work of the colporteur evangelist is still another avenue for the organization of the community Bible school. Recently one of our colporteurs revis­ited a woman to whom he had sold a book some years before. He inquired if she had read the book, and was informed that she had not. However, the interest exhibited by this faithful worker caused her to think about her spiritual needs. This contact led to the opening of Bible studies in the home. She took her stand and was baptized in December. Now the husband is looking with favor on the message and desires studies. His mother is also interested, and soon another Bible school will be started here.

The fifth is the training of lay members to do effective Bible work in the homes. For some time now we have used very successfully the  slide film projector and are now operating six in the church. We use the twenty-eight studies produced by the Mayse Studio. After each study those at the Bible school are given an out­line of the subject presented in the film, called the "Home Bible Course." A course on how to give Bible studies is a regular part of our church program. At these meetings the lay members take part. They give the study before the group, and learn how to operate the slide film projector.

"In a special sense Seventh-day Adventists have been set in the world as watchmen and light-bearers. To them has been entrusted the last warning for a perishing world. On them is shining wonderful light from the word of God. They have been given a work of the most solemn import, —the proclamation of the first, second, and third angels' messages. There is no other work of so great importance. They are to allow nothing else to absorb their attention."—Testimonies, vol. 9, p. 19.

"In clear, distinct rays light has come to us, show­ing us that the great day of the Lord is near at hand, 'even at the door.' Let us read and understand before it is too late."—Ibid., p. 20.

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By JOHN R. JOHNSON, Pastor-Evangelist, Charleston, West Virginia

August 1947

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