It has been-my privilege to see many souls won to Christ as a result of names given me by our faithful colporteurs. Contacts made in this way, I find, are my best prospects. These people have invested in books, and therefore there is some definite interest:
Among those to whom sales have been made by the colporteur there have been three classes of people reached. The first class includes those who have expressed a definite interest in religious things. Those in this group may have questioned the colporteur on certain Bible subjects and shown an interest in knowing more. There is then an opportunity for the colporteur to suggest that he has a friend who gives free Bible studies who would be glad to spend half an hour once a week studying the Bible with them. I suggest that the Bible instructor be called a friend rather than an instructor or minister, as the case may be. My reason for this is that when the name instructor or minister is used, the prospect will, in many cases, immediately begin to feel a complex take possession of him. The term friend appeals more to the interested person. I have found that the most successful way to work this plan is for the colporteur to go with the Bible instructor on the first call and introduce her. A friendship is created immediately, for the prospect is already acquainted with the colporteur. I have seen an average of seven out of ten of this first class accept the message.
In the second class are those who have shown an interest and bought a religious book, but whose interest is not so definite as that of the first class. The colporteur alone can judge whether there is enough interest to offer Bible studies. To this second class literature should be taken regularly each week (not mailed). This could be given to them by church members who live in the district of the interested persons. With personal contact each week and earnest prayer by the caller for God's Spirit to bless the silent messenger, a definite interest can be awakened. If the lay member feels he can give Bible studies to the prospect when the right time has come, he should get into the home and study. If he feels he cannot do this, the name should then be given to the Bible instructor.
In the third class are those who were interested in a medical book but showed no interest in religion. These have received a subscription to the Signs of the Times along with the medical book, so an interest may develop after they read the magazine for several months. One way to find out whether there is any interest is to mail literature each week to them. This might be done by the Missionary Volunteer Society or a literature band formed by the church. After the fifth or sixth week of mailing, a circular letter should be sent to inquire as to their interest and their desire to receive more literature. The colporteur should hand in the names of this third class not later than nine or ten months from the time the people have received their first issue of the magazine. Old names are a dead interest. Names from the colporteurs'' current lists are fine prospects for the evangelist to mail announcements to when holding public meetings.
It brings great joy to my heart as I look back at the names given me by the colporteurs and see men and women rejoicing in this message, and in turn giving it to others. These people are well grounded. First, they have invested in a book; second, they study. The best prospects are those who are students of the Word, rather than those who just listen to the Word preached.