I believe that our work in the vineyard of the Lord will be sealed with marked success if we will follow the blueprint in detail. But on the other hand, very meager results will be seen if we try to cut corners. The great problems of apostasy and other related church problems would be largely solved if the laymen were properly trained for service, and urged to work for the salvation of souls.
"There are hundreds of our people who ought to be out in the field, who are doing little or nothing for the advancement of the message."—Testimonies, vol. 9, p. 134.
"The work of God in this earth can never be finished until the men and women comprising our church-membership rally to the work, and unite their efforts with those of ministers and church officers."—Ibid., p. 117.
In every city where I have held meetings I have found that with a few stirring, Spirit-filled sermons the _members of our churches were ready for a mass lay movement to take place. O that we as God's servants would begin to sense the mighty power for service that to a large extent has been lying dormant in our army of laymen ! Let us now tap this great reservoir of power.
"Many of God's people are not growing in grace. . . . If they were busily engaged in seeking to know and do the will of God, they would feel such a burden for perishing souls, such an unrest of mind, that they could not be restrained."—Ibid., p. 39.
We as workers must have this same burden, this same fire kindled in our hearts, if we are to lead the way in the finishing of God's great work. Because "a most solemn obligation" rests upon the laymen "to do all in their power to open the way for the Lord to work," it is our duty as workers to direct their efforts in the proper channels so that the work of God may soon be finished, and Jesus can come for His own. It is only as we lead our laymen into a spirit of genuine conversion that we shall see the deep movings of the Spirit of God among our churches. It is then, and then alone, that they will feel such a burden for perishing souls that they cannot be restrained. This program is the will of God for this people today. God is ready to use Spirit-filled men and women.
There is no more inspiring program than to have the laymen, properly trained, prepare the way for an effort by getting enrollments in the Bible correspondence school. Four weeks before the opening meeting I have someone who understands the city, cut the city map up into about fifty districts, and paste them on separate sheets of paper. These sections are duplicated on a large map for a permanent record.
After the districts are made up, I then have band leaders appointed for each district, and every member in the church is enlisted in one of the bands. The band leader is responsible for seeing the members of his band, and working every home in his district by hanging Bible school enrollment cards on the door knobs. Four week ends are given to this work, until every home is visited. On each week end of this work small 6-by-12-inch advertisements of the free Bible course appear in the newspapers. As the enrollments come in, small red pins are placed on a large map in the church to point out just where the enrollments are from. Thus every church member can observe the progress made in his territory.
Just before the opening meeting in the evangelistic series we send a special invitation letter and reserved-seat offer to every enrollee. At this point the evangelistic program is connected with the Bible correspondence school, and both are carried on in a simultaneous manner. Thus the people receive the message in two ways.
In addition to this pre-effort work by laymen, a triplicate card, advertising the meeting, the free Bible course, and reserved-seat offer, is addressed to every name in the phone book, and mailed one week before the opening meeting. In the past four years I have never seen this plan fail, and the Lord has greatly blessed beyond measure. For example, in Birmingham we had about 2,000 enrolled in the Bible course before the meetings began. Fourteen hundred people requested reserved seats, and 2,000 attended the opening meeting. Before the evangelistic series closed in that city, 3,500 had enrolled in the Bible course. Here in Miami 1,575 had enrolled in the course before the opening meeting, and every seat was reserved in the auditorium. An overflow crowd resulted in an audience of more than 200 on the outside listening to the message from the loud-speaker.
Our laymen greatly rejoice when they see the blessing of the Lord resting upon their efforts. Good results will come when they unite their efforts with the ministers'.