It has been my conviction for a long time that we pastors should consider our churches " the most important enterprise possible for mitt to undertake and manage in this world! With this persuasion I have felt that we should use the best and most modern methods possible to advance the interests of the church we serve. Churches and communities differ, but with real, progressive planning, we can outline a program for the year that will mean strength: and growth.
At present I am experimenting with a church paper which is published weekly. It is made up in news style, and carries promotion for evangelism as well as items of interest for the average church member. The church council voted approval for the plan, and from the first it has, met with success. Of course the pastor must, take the initiative in promoting something, new; of this sort, which is in addition to the weekly bulletin. Once it goes to press, and several issues reach the homes, a very favorable reaction; is seen. Words of appreciation will come from, unexpected sources, and one then feels well, repaid for the effort expended.
We call, our little church weekly "Our Church Voice." It has a circulation of about, six hundred through the mail and three hundred by personal distribution. The mailing list is growing steadily as we keep finding friendly, interested persons who we feel would appreciate the weekly visitor. Just the other day at one of our church services I greeted a family of five whom I recognized as strangers, and in the course of conversation discovered that they had learned of the speaker and subject through the church paper received in. the mail. They expressed enthusiastic appreciation for the publication of our little four-page weekly paper.
A church paper brings people in close touch with church activities. A goodly number of per sons are influenced to attend services through the visit of this little paper each week. At least they know that Adventists are holding meetings, carrying on a world program, and with it all are interested in them personally. The paper reaches them every Thursday, and gradually they find themselves looking forward to it.
The printing of the paper is done by the offset type of printing, and no cuts are necessary. All I need to furnish is pictures, and the printer photographs them so that both the printing and the pictures appear on the offset plate together, and there is one process to print the paper. The pictures average one dollar each for printing. My paper costs $36 an issue one thousand copies of the paper ready for mailing.
The papers are addressed by an address- graph machine. Each name and address is on a metal plate, and is kept in a file arranged by cities. I have a separate file for members and non-members.
At present I am mailing the paper under a P.L. & R. mailing permit of third-class rating, but in the near future we expect to qualify and secure the right to enter our paper as "second- class matter under the provisions of the act of March 3, 1879," a provision under which we would realize a great saving.
The factor of financing such a project is an important one, and must be worked out by the pastor in the best possible way. In some locations it might be difficult to get started, but the church should find some funds to help. Some evangelistic funds can be used where the paper takes the place of handbills. Usually local businessmen will be happy to place ads in a church publication. The ads we have solicited pay three dollars an inch. Payment from subscribers also helps materially. The financial problem is not insurmountable, and can be worked out by any pastor who has the will to succeed in the project.
We should take courage from one another, and not be afraid to try new methods. I believe Arthur Escobar was the first to try this project in our conference, with gratifying results. I am told that the Lutheran Church leads the Protestants in the use of local church papers. Should we not be as progressive as they?