A Competent and tactful colporteur in whom the evangelist will place confidence can be an important member of the evangelistic company. In several efforts I have found it most advantageous to use the services of such a literature evangelist.
The method is simply to turn over the names of interested persons to the colporteur and let him canvass them in the customary way. It will be immediately objected that such a procedure might be harmful, that the person called upon will feel that he is being taken advantage of, and that such names were handed in for specific pieces of literature only. But these objections are groundless, as will be found in actual practice.
Of course, there are colporteurs who may be quite efficient in other ways, who would not be the type one could use in this kind of work. This is not strange. Not all can do acceptable Bible work or preach interesting and winning sermons, but each of us may find his proper place in the service of the Lord.
First, then, the proper selection of the colporteur is of considerable importance. If this specification is met, no harm will be done to the interest. Such a colporteur always makes his canvass on a spiritual plane, which leaves his prospect feeling that he has called, not to sell him a book and thereby make money for himself, but to help him spiritually. In all my experience with this type of teamwork I have never had any interested person object to the gospel salesman's call, but I have heard many speak of their pleasure in the colporteur's call.
It is not at all necessary for the colporteur to inform his prospect that his name has been handed him, although I have always instructed the colporteur to feel free to introduce himself as connected with the campaign. I believe it to be a good plan to use the colporteur in a public way in connection with the public meetings. He could be one of the ushers. Or if he is musical, he could sing in the choir. Or he could be asked to offer prayer occasionally, and thus his name would be brought before the gathering. At any rate, if the colporteur can introduce himself as from the evangelistic company, it will give him ready entrance into the homes of those who have attended the meetings.
There are a number of advantages to be gained from such teamwork. We evangelists like to fill our listeners' hands with good literature, but the average person is more inclined to read what he has paid for than what he has received free. The colporteur goes into the home to speak on religious things, and he goes right to the point, even more readily and naturally than the Bible instructor might be able to do. He is thus able to bring back to the evangelist an authentic report of the spiritual temperature in the homes visited. Often he will discover questions that are troubling the person on whom he is calling, and can inform the Bible instructor as to the need a need which may not have been suspected before. He can always speak words of encouragement and pray with the family.
Most valuable of all is the information that the colporteur will bring back. In one instance I felt that the work of the colporteur was fully as valuable as that of a paid Bible instructor, and in addition the colporteur enjoyed exceptionally high sales. Surely this is a profitable arrangement for all concerned.
No one should be afraid to try this plan. It seems that we need much more than we now have to coordinate our attack on our unfinished task. Nowadays a successful invasion by a military force is carried on by land, sea, and air. Why should we evangelists (who like to think of ourselves as the heavy artillery) ignore the paratroopers furnished us by the publishing department?