Personal Ministry in the Aftermeeting

The importance of personal work in public evangelism cannot be overemphasized.

Melvin K. Eckenroth

The importance of personal work in public evangelism cannot be overemphasized. In­deed, in this field of soul-winning service far too little is said or practiced by the average worker. Even in the large evangelistic cam­paign the evangelist must never lose sight of the importance of individual labor in behalf of his people.

"There is danger of passing too rapidly from point to point. Give short lessons, and often. . . . After you have opened to the people the precious mines of truth, there is yet a great work to be done for those who have become interested in the subjects presented.

"After a short discourse, change the order of the ex­ercises, and give opportunity for all who desire it, to remain for an after-interview, or Bible class, where they can ask questions upon subjects that trouble them. You will find great success in coming close to the peo­ple in these Bible lessons. The workers who labor in connection with the minister should make special ef­forts patiently and kindly to lead inquirers to an un­derstanding of the truth."—Special Testimonies, Series A, no, 7, p. 7.

"Many who come to the meeting are weary and heavy laden with sin. They do not feel safe in their religious faith. Opportunity should be given for those who are troubled and want rest in spirit to find help. After a discourse those who wish to follow Christ should be invited to signify their desire. Invite all who are not satisfied that they are prepared for Christ's coming, and all who feel burdened and heavy laden, to come apart by themselves. Let those who are spiritual converse with these souls. Pray with and for them. Let much time be spent in prayer and close searching of the Word. Let all obtain the real facts of faith in their own souls through belief that the Holy Spirit will be imparted to them because they have a real hunger­ing and thirsting after righteousness. Teach them how to surrender themselves to God, how to believe, how to claim the promises. Let the deep love of God be ex­pressed in words of encouragement, in words of intercession."—Testimonies, vol. 6, p. 65.

 

The Spirit of prophecy has much to say on this point of the aftermeeting, and on giving the people an opportunity to come closer to God in an interview at such a meeting. After the presentatign of some stirring truth or mov­ing message, it is highly important that the people who are thus stirred to action be not sent home without first being given opportunity to manifest their decision and to record their covenant with God.

Successful evangelists have for many years found this counsel of divine origin to be essen­tial. It was in the private interview that Jesus gave some of His most momentous messages.

In the private interview He came closer to the people than at any other time. The profound influence of these private conversations and ap­peals has been felt through the centuries. What tremendous themes rush through our minds when we think of the interview that Jesus had with Nicodemus, or of the challenge Christ gave to the rich young ruler, or of the profound theme of salvation as expounded to the woman at the well. These, and multiplied other experi­ences, point out the fact that in winning souls to Christ there is no substitution for this type of work. How true it is that "this work cannot be done by proxy; sermons from the pulpit cannot do it." (Evangelism, pp. 440, 441.)

In order to facilitate this important phase of public evangelism, we have made available to our brethren a new set of ten special Bible studies, with convenient cards attached, de­signed specifically for the aftermeeting. Their low cost places them within the reach of every evangelist, no matter how small his budget. These ten Bible studies are attractively printed and consist of the following ten appeals:

1. Our Wonderful Treasure

2. Our Wonderful Salvation

3. Our Wonderful Home

4. Our Wonderful Privilege

5. Our Wonderful Witness

6. Our Wonderful Keeper

7. Our Wonderful Resurrection

8. Our Wonderful Eternity

9. Our Wonderful Baptism so. Our Wonderful Church

To each one of these brief aftermeeting Bible studies is attached a carefully worded covenant card, consisting of three or more propositions which the people fill in, thus recording their decisions. These covenant cards are so designed that everyone who remains in the aftermeeting can with clear conscience make some sort of a step forward—a highly iinportant technique in working for souls. The covenant card is a 3 x 5 perforated stub, easily detached and filed for further reference.

The evangelist must be careful not to divide or embarrass his audience. In working with the individual he should be careful to press for a decision without causing embarrassment or developing a resentment toward the message or its messenger. These covenant cards are so de­signed that the evangelist can safeguard his approach in the all-important aftermeeting. Each of the ten cards can be used in dealing specifically with a definite appeal. If one after-meeting is conducted each week, they could therefore be used over a span of ten weeks. The cards have grown out of a tried and tested ex­perience in the field, and have proved to be most effective in soul-winning work.

An added feature of these cards is the artistic way in which they have been designed. On the back of each card is a beautiful picture; hence, when the covenant is detached from the Bible study, the individual has a lovely memento to keep. For instance, on the reverse side of the study entitled "Our Wonderful Treasure" there is a beautiful picture of the open Bible with the text, "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path." On the opposite side of the study entitled "Our Wonderful Salvation" the reader is given seventeen great chapters of the Bible devoted to such themes as faith, hope, love, wisdom, mercy, peace, etc. On the reverse side of "Our Wonderful Priv­ilege" is a picture of a young family attending a Sabbath morning service, with the words of Scripture, "My lips shall utter praise, when Thou hart taught me Thy statutes." The study, "Our Wonderful Witness," is illustrated by Martin Luther's courageous stand before the priests and bishops of his day, with the text reading, "The just shall live by faith," and a lovely poem by Sarah Bolton. The appeal, "Our Wonderful Resurrection," is illustrated with a beautiful picture by the famous artist, B. Plockhorst, depicting the living Christ on the morning of the resurrection, with the precious promise of Revelation 1:18. "Our Won­derful Eternity" is the famous picture by Franklin Booth, the gateway to heaven with the saints going triurhphantly to their eternal reward and the words of Revelation 7:17.

The card dealing with "Our Wonderful Bap­tism" is illustrated with a striking picture of Jesus' baptism in the Jordan and the appealing text of 1 John 2:6, "He that saith he abicleth in Him ought himself also to walk, even as He walked." The tenth covenant card, "Our Won­derful Church," is illustrated with a picture of the redeemed in the new earth, one great happy family as they stand in the presence of Jesus.

We believe that these cards will prove to be of practical assistance when conducting a suc­cessful aftermeeting, and in the securing of de­cisions.

(These ten cards now available through the Book and Bible Houses can be ordered in quan­tities of one hundred sets of the ten cards for $6; or 6o cents a hundred cards. For further particulars, see page 43.)


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Melvin K. Eckenroth

October 1949

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