Good Public Relations and Evangelism
By BONN HENRY THOMAS, Press Relations Secretary, Pacific Union
If there ever was a time to follow the advice given editorially in the April MINISTRY, to become acquainted with ministers in other churches and to cooperate in community endeavors, now is such a time. We are happy to see evidence of attempts by Seventh- day Adventist pastors and others in our area to mingle with their fellow citizens in a way that will increase friendship and understanding without compromising our beliefs.
Carl Becker, former pastor of the Lodi Hil-born church, and now president of the Arizona Conference, some time ago spoke at a noon luncheon meeting of the Lodi Realty Board, telling his listeners something about Argentina, where he spent eight years. Beyond the resulting informative story in the local newspaper, his talk gave Lodi realty men a true picture of Adventist missions in action in South America. Our ministers, who are qualified to speak on non-doctrinal subjects, will do well to seize every opportunity to appear before service clubs and luncheon groups.
At Beaumont children representing the Baptist, Christian, Community, and Seventh-day Adventist churches entertained at a meeting of the local W.C.T.U. This was related in a story in the Beaumont Gazette, which explained that Adventist children conducted the worship service. Here was a cooperative venture with other churches that gained a favorable impression for the denomination.
Similar cooperative participation was shown by A. D. Bohn when he addressed a W.C.T.U. meeting at the First Baptist church in River side. The interdenominational aspect of the gathering was emphasized by the newspaper account.
C. C. Cantwell made news in the Ontario daily and weekly newspapers, and promoted good will for Seventh-day Adventists besides, when he told something about conditions in India, where he has served, in speaking to members of the local chapter of the D.A.R.
One of the speakers in a series of pre-Easter services, sponsored by the Bible club at the First Presbyterian church in Inglewood, was Ernest E. Lutz, pastor of the local Adventist church. The Inglewood News used nine column inches to report his remarks on the "Promises of God." Here was an excellent opportunity for a pastor to give something tangible about Adventist beliefs to the people of Inglewood without retrenching in our attitude toward Easter.
Similar willingness to be a part of the community was shown by Seventh-day Adventists of Alhambra and Fullerton when they observed the World Day of Prayer with other denominations in the district. This was publicized in the local newspapers.
Walter T. Crandall, instructor and public relations director for La Sierra College, and Mrs. Crandall, who is a correspondent for the near-by Riverside newspaper, entertained the editors of the Riverside Press, the college president, the dean, and their wives. It is not often that such definite social gestures can be made, for the limited acquaintance of most ministers and workers with editors precludes asking these busy men to come to our homes. However, the friendly relationship existing between the school and the newspaper was such that our educators were able to do much for Adventism around the dinner table.
At Newbury Park Academy, F. E. Rice, the principal, is getting the public's attention by making his own opportunities for publicizing the merits of our educational system. At a time when certain groups are frowning on parochial schools, this is extremely good public relations. Elder Rice invited the editor of a near-by newspaper to speak to the students, and no one was surprised when that publication printed a front-page story about the rural boarding academy the next day. Later a radio commentator addressed the students, and within a few weeks the principal was heard over the air as the commentator's guest.
Upon invitation, both F. H. Rahm, of Fallon, Nevada, and H. E. Me Whinny, of Fort Bragg, California, participated in Good Friday Protestant union services. Elder Me Whinny writes: "I considered it an excellent opportunity to come before the people of this locality. An Adventist preacher can preach the cross of Christ on Sabbath, Sunday, or even Good Friday." Rahm was recently elected secretary-treasurer of the Fallon Ministerial Association.
Another example of friendly relations between a Seventh-day Adventist pastor and clergymen of other denominations was evidenced in a story about "Men's Go-to-Church Sunday" in the North Hollywood Valley Times.
Promoted by the Van Nuys Lions Club, the move to get people out to church gained the attention of civic leaders. No believer in hiding his light, W. R. Jefferson, of the Van Nuys church, participated wholeheartedly in the movement, and was listed in the news story with pastors of other churches. The story explained that Jewish and Seventh-day Adventist special services would be held not on Sunday but at "regular church schedules."
In two instances the practical Christianity shown by Seventh-day Adventists has caused favorable editorial comment in newspapers. In Ventura the local Dorcas Society quickly came to the aid of two poor families who were burned out of the home they shared. Gathering up food and clothing, the Dorcas women won praise from the Star Free Press. Admitting an "unabated torrent of bad news," the editor related that the good-neighbor deed "did our heart good, and we think everybody felt the same way about it."
In Phoenix, Arizona, the South Side church, under the leadership of Milton Prout, not long ago began a free medical clinic. Commented the influential Phoenix Gazette: "Establishment of a free medical clinic at the Seventh- day Adventist Church in East Stephen Lane is not only actuated by the highest motives, but is a pioneer project in Phoenix, and thus is doubly commendable." The editorial concluded with, "It is good to have the church cooperate in this work of healing."
Too often we have withdrawn from logical social and civic contact with those of other faiths, and the inevitable result has been mutual lack of understanding. We can never hope to gain the friendship of other clergymen with the attitude of aloofness which is shown by some ministers. This, combined with deceptive advertising, can only result in pronounced, if, not bitter, opposition to Seventh-day Adventist evangelistic efforts.
Actually our association with others in the community is the basis of our entire public relations program, and a good public relations program is a good foundation for evangelism.
Our Relation to Freemasonry
By ERNEST W. VOYLES, Licensed Minister, Hinckley, 'Minnesota
Scholarly after I entered my district work in 1947 the husband of one of our sisters informed me that he could not become a member of the church because we would not permit a Mason to become a member. This was simply a petty excuse, but it launched my thinking upon an intellectual Odyssey for a short time.
After questioning a number of our ministers, I found the consensus to be that it is best to disregard the Masonic affiliation of an interested man, because invariably when he becomes actively engaged in our varied church activities, his love for Masonry will wither away. This statement of fact has been conclusively supported by two of our laymen. Both are Masons of different degrees. One has only the fundamental degrees, and the other is a member of the Shrine; in other words, has all attainable degrees of Masonry. All the former attraction for their lodges lost its luster when they embraced our wonderful truth for this age. We must remember that when one becomes a Mason he remains one until the day of his death, but when a Mason becomes a real Seventh-day Adventist he becomes an inactive Mason. Both of these brethren think it best in trying to win a Mason to the truth to minimize our objections to Masonry, or better still to disregard the affiliation, and let time and the love of the message do the work.
However, if any of our workers feel that candidates should forsake the organization before or upon baptism, then the following quotations will prove to be invaluable. These three quotations are taken from an authoritative sourcebook for Freemasonry.
"But on the plains of Shinar man again rebelled, and as a punishment of his rebellion, at the lofty tower of Babel, language was confounded, and masonry lost, for masonry then, as now consisted in acknowledge of these great truths, that there is one God, and that the soul is immortal."—ALBERT MACKEY, Lexicon and History of Free Masonry (Philadelphia: McClure Publishing Co., 1910), p. 34. (Italics supplied.)
From the constitution of the Grand Lodge of England these words are taken:
"A Mason is obliged, by his tenure, to obey, the moral law, and if he rightly understands the art, he will never be a stupid atheist nor a religious libertine. He, of all men, should best understand that God seeth not as man seeth: for man looketh at the outward appearance, but God looketh to the heart. A Mason, is therefore, particularly bound never to act against the dictates of his conscience. Let a man's religion, or mode of worship, be what it may, he is not excluded from the order, provided he believe in the glorious Architect of heaven and earth, and practice the sacred duties of morality. Masons unite with the virtues of every persuasion, in the free and pleasing bond of fraternal love; they are taught to view the errors of mankind with compassion, and to strive, by the purity of their own conduct, to demonstrate the superior excellence of the faith they may possess. Thus Masonry will be the center of union between good men and true, and the happy means of conciliating friendship amongst those who otherwise have remained at a perpetual distance."—Ibid., p. 409
If a brother tries to tell you that Masonry had a glorious beginning, and that it preceded the birth of Christianity, then it would be well for you to read up on the formation of Free Masonry in France and especially the life and activities of Jacques de Molay. Then use the following quotation.
"Masonry, one of the greatest institutions of man, no doubt has existed for ages, yet we cannot definitely fix its birthplace, home, or parentage. That it conies from the East is believed from its peculiarly oriental complexion; it has all the sombre, majestic, mystic, and brilliant features that are found in so many institutions of the Far East."—Ibid., p. 539. (Italics supplied.)
Brethren, before we take the step in approaching a Mason with this message, let us think seriously. Judging from my former experience in the De Molay, a junior Masonic organization in high school groups, and from the experience of those Masons with whom I have talked, I would say, Always open wide the door to a happy church experience before you attempt to close and bar the door to the memories and activities of lodge brotherhood.
Man's first duty has been and always will be, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness." Revelation 21127 is very emphatic in stating that only those who have their names "written in the Lamb's book of life" will enter the kingdom of heaven. In light of these facts, Masonic organizations, for men and women, cannot be satisfactory substitutes for church membership and activity. We must be united with the spiritual body of Christ, the church, and must at the same time maintain an ever growing, strengthening bond of consecration to Christ and to His church. Active Masonry tends to weaken this bond. Let us resolve to win our Masonic brethren and their wives to our standard of truth, but see that they are so busily engaged in the activities of the 'church that their love for lodge will wither away. Thus they will begin to have a happy church experience, and benefit from a healthy spiritual condition.
Audience Participation in Evangelism
By REUBEN W. ENGSTROM, Pastor- Evangelist, Portland, Oregon
Audience- Participation programs are tremendously popular in radio today. Millions listen to these presentations, and thousands more crowd the studios to witness or participate in them. Enormous sums are spent in their production. Quizzes, interviews, free prizes, and other features have a unique appeal to everyone. This audience-participation psychology, so successful in radio work, should be carefully studied and used by our evangelists. We may capitalize on this universal interest of taking an active part in what is presented. Because our sole object in evangelism is to lead people to the most active participation of all— that of making their eternal decision—we should survey this approach carefully, and make the most of it.
Dignified, well-planned audience participation can do much to increase attendance, and prepare people for acceptance of the divine message. In my last two public campaigns in Port land, Oregon, I tried this approach, and was gratified to find that it appealed to our audiences as much as it did on worldly programs. I list here some suggestive ways of securing audience participation. These would not all be used in the same meeting, of course, but would find their place in the series as it progressed.
UNISON SINGING.—This is highly successful if a sincere, enthusiastic song director takes the lead. A special chorus selected each evening to fit the sermon may be taught to the audience, and then used near the close of the sermon, having the audience sing again with you before making the appeal. A souvenir song sheet (mimeographed for economy), containing some popular gospel songs and choruses and occasionally presented to the people to take home, was appreciated. Some of these are learned and repeatedly sung at home, and they impress hearts for the message.
QUESTION SERVICE.—People feel that they have a personal part in the meeting if they put in a question that the speaker takes time to answer publicly. This is a time-tested way of warming up your audience, and should be used often. A prize book may be offered for the most interesting question submitted each evening.
QUIZZES.—Study a few popular radio quiz programs for ideas. You will be surprised at the interest you may arouse in getting people to come on time and to give active interest in the meeting. You may use good printed Bible quizzes. Do not make the questions too difficult. A small book, brochure, bookmark, or plaque is an appreciated token for those who answer correctly. The quiz may be on the previous night's topic. Given regularly at a certain time, this feature will ensure an early crowd, and it is a means of getting names. Keep all these features short and inspiring.
THEME TEXT SLIDES.—Before starting the series we prepared Kodachrome theme text slides, one for each evening. For example, for the subject on signs of the times, the theme text was Matthew 24:33. As the appeal was made the text was flashed on the screen and read by the speaker, and then the entire audience was invited to read it in unison and encouraged to memorize it. This helped prepare hearts for the appeal to follow.
PRIZE BOOKS.—We have found that a good Bible with concordance is the most attractive attendance reward. People who already own Bibles seem just as eager to work for one more. We do not use punch cards for attendance records. A small advertising card for the coming week was handed to all on Sunday evening as they entered the hall. If they turned this card in the following Sunday, signed on the back and checked for the week nights they at tended, it counted toward the Bible. We gave away 290 Bibles at the last series.
GIFT BOOKS EACH EVENING.—This proved exceptionally popular, and many told of making special efforts to come early, hoping to be among the fortunate ones who received a book. Recipients were selected in this way: As the visitors turned in their attendance cards, the ushers were instructed to select the cards of three likely strangers and give these to the evangelist each evening for prize books. A record of the names was kept to avoid duplications. One young man who was brought to our meeting by a friend seemed unimpressed, and was about to reach for his hat and leave. Just then his name was called for a gift book. His attitude changed completely. He remained for the meeting, kept coming, and was baptized at the close of the series.
COMPLETION BIBLE STUDY CARD.—This was used in our campaign every Friday evening during the sermon. A 4-by-6-inch index card was mimeographed, with twelve statements on the topic of the sermon, but with the Bible texts omitted. Each visitor was provided with a card, and asked to fill in the texts as the speaker referred to them. This proved better than urging people to use a notebook. These cards were eagerly anticipated, and were preferable to paper, being stiff enough to use easily. To help many who do not know how to write Bible references readily, the assistant evangelist writes the text on a portable blackboard, or on the "Light/writer," a new electric blackboard on which words glow like a neon sign. (Maxilume Company, 125 W. Hubbard Street, Chicago.)
FREE REPLICAS OF VISUAL AIDS.—In sermons where a built-up visual display was used to illustrate the topic (the millennium, time prophecies, the changed law) we would sometimes ask, "How many would enjoy having a small printed replica of this display?" Nearly everyone would respond to this question, and our ushers would then quickly pass out cards to be signed. A mimeographed drawing of the display would be sent to them. This is a good variation of the usual methods for securing addresses. We also used this card in asking for a decision, and received a fresh list of interested ones at the same time.
FREE CRISIS BOOKS.—Occasionally a free book may be given to each one who gives a certain amount (perhaps a dollar or more) in the offering. We have tripled our evening offering this way. It is well to have another piece of literature also, such as Present Truth, to give to those who cannot contribute a dollar. This creates good feeling, for no one is omitted.
INTERVIEWS ON SABBATH KEEPING.—A favorite radio participation program is the personal interview. In your meetings select some who can make a public appearance, and have them relate a good experience in Sabbathkeeping, tithing, et cetera. Interview them briefly, or let them tell their story. These interviews create a desire to go and do likewise on the part of others.
THE JURY TRIAL MEETING. — This is perhaps the best single audience-participation meeting. Besides the jury and general jury, selected individuals may be on the platform to read the various testimonies used. In our last "trial," nearly thirty people actively took part.
There are other features, such as the Bible courses, shaking hands and meeting the people, after meetings, the various calls, and prayer requests, all of which encourage participation. These have one grand objective — to lead people step by step until finally when the truth stands out in its grandeur they will make the greatest participation of all, the receiving of the message into their own hearts.
Conference Billboard Advertising
By LEROY J. LEISKE, Home Missionary Secretary, Kansas Conference
We have at the present time twenty-six billboards located on prominent Kansas highways. These billboards were erected by the local churches; and the conference provides a metal, reflectorized, screw-on type of sign for each billboard. The sign is cut out of aluminum sheeting, painted with a durable automobile paint, and the letters are reflectorized by the use of glass beads. These signs are guaranteed to last for several years.
The billboards are uniform in size, being constructed according to the blueprint sent to each church. Most of these signs are located on Adventist property. However, several choice locations have also been rented.
At the present time we are displaying Bible correspondence school and Voice of Prophecy signs on these billboards. In the near future we plan to add a temperance sign. We are using the screw-on type so that we can rotate these signs every six or eight months.
We have received several dozen enrollees from our correspondence school signs and many favorable comments from Voice of Prophecy listeners.
We feel that this advertising is very profit able. During our Ingathering campaign we found that many businessmen were better acquainted with our work as a result of our bill boards.
FINAL SOLUTION.—At a meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous one man was relating the story of his defeat and final victory over drink. He had been one of the seemingly hopeless cases. Then he told of how, at one time, he had wanted to buy a very fine watch. It had a stop watch, a chronometer, and it showed the phases of the moon and the day of the month.
"In fact," he said, "all it lacked was hot and cold running water."
But he knew that a watch like that could not be fixed by the ordinary jeweler. When a repair job was needed, it would have to be sent back to the maker.
"Then one day," said this alcoholic, "it came to me suddenly that my life was also a very complicated affair just like that watch. It had broken down. It was out of control; it was keeping irregular time. It was recording irregularly even the days of the month. Then I decided that my only solution to my particular problem was to take my body, my thoughts, my problems back to the Maker of my life." ---Zions Herald.