Portable Wood and Canvas Tabernacle
A. A. LEISKE: Pastor-Evangelist, Michigan Conference
The problem of finding a suitable building for conducting evangelistic meetings is still in the process of being solved. The tabernacle I have used over a period of years has its advantages as well as disadvantages. It is a portable structure 60 feet by 120 feet.
This structure can be quickly moved from place to place. It is of sturdy material and can serve some of the larger cities in the States, even in the more restricted areas.
The walls are built of waterproof plywood and the top is of heavy canvas. The floor is covered with a carpet of sawdust. This tabernacle has a large platform for the choir, and five small offices. These offices are used by the evangelistic workers for Bible studies, counseling, and decisions during the preservice.
There are several advantages in having a can vas top. First, it is easily moved with very little cost because it is compact. The walls being made of lumber, the tabernacle has a permanent appearance. By having the roof of canvas, the rafters can be spread sixteen feet apart instead of sixteen inches as for a wooden roof.
I have found that some of the cities permit canvas tops when they do not allow a wooden structure. Wherever I meet building ordinances this type of tabernacle always seems to fit the ordinance, because it is half wood and half canvas. The permit may then be for either a tent or a portable wooden tabernacle.
In Denver, Colorado, I remember we had to get a permit for a tent, and the city inspector was amused at our having too much framework for a tent. He asked, "When is the tent coming?" However, he was well pleased with the meeting place after we had finished it.
The tabernacle can be erected in less than a week. The braces and rafters are in sections and fit in any part in the building. Also, any section can be illuminated for a small-town campaign.
This tabernacle also has a portable gas-heating system for early spring and fall campaigns. Because of present restrictions I usually erect the tabernacle first, and then later install the gas units before applying for priority, for the ruling is that where the building has a gas furnace installed the service may be connected.
Our tabernacle has not solved all our problems. We would do well to study the development of a light structure that will meet the specifications of the building codes of the main cities. With the new plastic materials on the market we should be able to reduce the former bulk and shipping weight.
Detailed plans and blueprints of this tabernacle may be obtained for $10.00 from R. Gordon Pierce, Architect, McAllen, Texas.
There is a great advantage in having our own meeting place. Then the enemy cannot shift the time for our services because of the plans of some lodge or auxiliary organization.
Evangelistic Cottage Prayer Meetings
H. T. ANDERSON: Minister, Georgia-Cumberland Conference
One of the most important phases of public evangelism is the preparation of the soil for the sowing of the seeds of truth. In fact, there is little use in sowing the seed before this work has been done. There would be a far greater harvest of souls if people's hearts" were first made ready for our present-truth message.
One of the most effective methods for accomplishing this work of preparation is the cottage meeting plan. We are told in Evangelism, page 445:
"If half o£ the time usually spent in making public effort were devoted to house-to-house teaching, till the people had become acquainted with the religious sincerity of the workers and with the reasons of their faith, it would be much better."
This work is to precede the public meetings.
"The work is to commence quietly without noise or trumpeting. It is to commence by giving Bible readings and thus educating the people. This plan will be far more efficient than starting in with sermons." Ibid.
What lines should be followed as we try to educate the people?
"Dwell on the necessity of practical godliness. Give them evidence that you are a Christian, de siring peace, and that you love their souls. Let them see that you are conscientious. Thus you will gain their confidence; and there will be time enough for doctrines. Let the heart be won, the soil pre pared, and then sow the seed, presenting in love the truth as it is in Jesus.'' Ibid., p. 200.
Practical godliness is the heart instruction that prepares the way for the truth.
Often people resent the suggestion that we study with them. They feel that we are trying to win them to our church, and thus our efforts are defeated. We have found it better to call the meeting a cottage prayer meeting. This re moves the suggestion that we are attempting to change their faith. Then, too, the cottage prayer service is becoming popular in these times of uncertainty, because people are becoming more prayer-minded. This plan is suggested in Evangelism, page 446:
"Bow with them in prayer, and in humble faith present your petitions at the throne of grace. Both you and they will be brought into a closer connection with heaven, prejudice will be weakened, and it will be easier to reach the heart."
The cottage prayer meeting should be given a real prayer meeting setting. Sing a few familiar songs. Have a season of prayer, encouraging the people to take part in prayer. Perhaps a brief study on the theme of conversion or some other timely subject may be presented. At the close a few minutes for questions should be allowed. The service is closed with a brief, earnest prayer.
Attendance at the meetings may be increased by giving to those present for the first two or three meetings several card invitations to these prayer meetings to be given to their friends. No attempt should be made to conceal the identity of the faith of the leader. The series of studies including practical godliness will help to break down prejudice and will prepare the way for a rich soul harvest when public meetings follow. It would be well to begin these meetings two or three months in advance of the public effort.
Assurance has been given from the Lord that this method of labor will prove successful.
"There is a work to be done in this line that has not yet been done. Let God's workers teach the truth in families, drawing close to those for whom they labor. If they thus co-operate with God, He will clothe them with spiritual power." Ibid. p. 436.
Sowers of seed are needed, harvesters are in demand, but Christ is looking for those who will enter tenderly into the work of preparing the heart's soil for the sowing and harvesting to follow.
Evangelistic Bible Quiz
G. F. WILLIAMS: District Leader, Indiana Conference
The evangelist is constantly confronted with the problem of finding a way to review his past subjects without using a formal review. The question arises, "How can I review the important points of my recent sermons in a way that the congregation will enjoy and at the same time will not suspect that they are being reviewed?"
In my recent evangelistic effort I discovered a method that was immediately accepted by the audience as one of the most interesting parts of our program. Before the song service each night there would be a fifteen-minute children's story time, in which one story such as a bed time story and one Bible story would be used. The Bible story I would illustrate with slides. I began with the series on the Old Testament, "Creation to Christ," followed by "The Life of Christ." (These may be obtained from the Mayse Studio, San Diego, California.) By the time the effort closed the Bible had been covered in story form.
Each Sunday night there would be a children's Bible quiz. Five children were chosen to participate. The questions were to be upon the stories and also upon the sermons that they had heard during the week. In this way questions could be asked that would review the past week's subjects. Care must be taken in the questions asked; it would not be fair to the children or to their parents to ask questions of a controversial nature.
The method of choosing those who were to participate was very simple. The attendance card had a stub that was retained by me, which contained the name and address of each attend ant. One color of card should be given to the adults and another color to the children. In this way it is simple to separate the children's stubs. These are placed in a box, and each Sunday night the names of the quiz participants are drawn out. To the winner of each quiz a paper-bound Bedtime Stories was given, and to the others a beautiful picture of a bird or an animal. (Beautiful colored pictures 10"xl2" may be obtained from M. A. Donohue and Co., 711 S. Dearborn Street, Chicago, for about seven cents.)
The children's Bible quiz has other good features: Attendance will be increased. The children will encourage their parents to go every night for fear they might miss a sermon from which a question might be asked on Sunday night. They will also encourage relatives and friends to attend. Another point to be considered: This program is an excellent method of keeping the children quiet during the preaching service. They will give close attention to the sermon and note all points that might be asked in the Sunday night quiz. It is surprising to see how much they retain. I have had very small children not only give the correct answers but also quote a Bible text for proof.
I highly recommend the children's Bible quiz, and hope that many of our evangelists will try it.
The Sound Auto in Public Evangelism
E. HENNECKE: President, Hannover Conference
[EDITORIAL NOTE. Elder Hennecke here suggests some ways that might be used more frequently in our evangelistic work, at least in some places. There may be many variations of this plan suited to local conditions. Music has not yet been used to its full advantage in evangelism. The Spirit of prophecy also counsels singers to go into the homes of the people, suggesting by way of introduction, "Would you be pleased to have us sing? We should be glad to hold a song service with you." Evangelism, p. 502. During the great Billy Sunday meetings Homer Rodeheaver, his song leader, often "happened" by the various schools just as they were being dismissed. Some of Rodeheaver's Christian "magic" would quickly attract a crowd of youngsters, and shortly he would be announcing a children's choir rehearsal for that evening. Then when the evangelistic meetings began, many parents naturally attended to hear their children sing. E. G.]
An excellent means of publicity for the public preaching of the Word is the use of an automobile with a loud-speaker attached. This advertising means for gathering an audience is in some countries perhaps the quickest for public evangelism. It reaches people everywhere. Wherever this loud-speaker auto travels it grips the people by the spiritual songs that are sung. These powerful gospel songs speak directly to the heart. People then gather in the streets, windows open, and many listen attentively. After the song, an invitation is given, by means of the microphone, to attend the evangelistic meeting that will shortly follow. From the parked car are distributed at the same time handbills, which are carried like a prairie fire from house to house by a large group of children. Among these children are always several more aggressive ones who will zealously distribute the handbills. It may well be said of them, "Out of the mouth of babes . . . hast thou ordained strength." Ps. 8:2. So within a few hours the town or city has been systematically covered, often so efficiently that this missionary activity becomes the main topic of conversation.
Next the auto stops at one or two central points of the town and more songs are played over the loud-speaker. Sometimes one or two brief talks are given about our message, or else some question relating to the times in which we live is answered. That same evening the first meeting is held. In most instances several such messages are given on consecutive evenings. The addresses of those desiring more information are gathered, and these people are then invited to the regular area Bible studies. Later they are visited in their homes by a personal worker. In this way new territory for the message is continually being entered and new churches are being established. Publicity concerning the meetings has also been handled through newspapers.
Details of the Plan
This type of audience gathering, using the auto and loud-speaker, is distinguished from the usual means of publicity because it is carried on entirely in a missionary way. The chosen four-part choir songs are recorded on tape in our own chapel, as are also the short speeches by our ministers. These are then transcribed on records. Three minutes is the usual time for one of our song records. The talks do not exceed three and a half minutes. Songs and speeches will ring through the air with wonderful clearness and fullness of tone to a distance of six hundred meters. When the song "Lift Up the Trumpet" is used, the listeners are much impressed by the spirit of the singing.
In the afternoon before the evening service a meeting for the children of the town is con ducted. They help to increase the attendance at the evening meeting, and are at present the best means for advertising our evangelistic services. About 250 children attended one of our children's meetings. They could not all get into the hall. A short film with pictures of the life of Christ riveted the children's eyes and gripped their hearts. After a short prayer it is the custom to dismiss the children, with an invitation to the evening meeting to take home to their parents. In this way a full house is assured for that evening.
There is still room for improving the plan and broadening the contact methods in the use of the loud-speaker automobile. There are always new ways to be found to give speed to the proclamation of our progressive message. It should also be borne in mind by the one using this loud-speaker publicity that circumstances and places differ. Occasionally one may run into opposition on the part of the town's authorities. This would depend on their religious views. Usually the workers have wonderful experiences, when many indicate a great interest in our message. May God free us from any fear in trying out a new plan and also make us willing to give up human comforts. The Lord always goes before us when we are willing to move forward in faith. We should therefore make use of every means to further this urgent and exalted work of evangelism.
Another System for Explaining Prophecy
B. H. MATTHEWS: Pastor, Kaimuki S.D.A. Church, Honolulu, Hawaii
Ministers and Bible instructors are today profiting by the use of miniature visual aids for teaching the prophecies of Daniel and the Revelation in home evangelism.
I find that many readers are not only completely unfamiliar with the Bible symbols themselves but also unacquainted with the very names of the historical nations they represent. In such cases the teaching task is multiplied several fold.
A simple system of identification by name tabs progressively inserted in the models, as in the accompanying illustration, has helped simplify the learning process. The tabs pictured are used as follows:
Starting first with the Daniel 2 image, the identification tabs (which are merely short lengths of one-eighth-inch plywood faced with white cardboard, hand lettered, and lacquered) are inserted one by one as the various empires are identified by texts and historical statements. Each tab is fitted with a short length of swab- stick doweling glued into it, which supports it by being inserted into a corresponding hole drilled in the model.
Later, when it is time for the study on Daniel 7, Nebuchadnezzar's dream is also reviewed, and as the Daniel 7 beasts are identified one by one in our study, the tabs in the image of Daniel 2 are transferred to the holes drilled in the Daniel 7 beasts. In this way the whole four-empire series and the ten divisions of Rome are twice impressed upon the Bible student. It is usually an interesting discovery for the reader himself to see and point out the fact that the nations of Daniel 2 and Daniel 7 are identical.
The papal horn is not brought forth until the following study, when the whole time is devoted to its identity and significance.
The "key" idea is not original with me, though its adaptation to home Bible studies may be. It is used solely with the Daniel 7 beasts, although other "keys" may be used to explain the symbols of the 2300 days, Revelation 12, et cetera. Keys unlock closed doors, and the reader readily catches the idea that prophecy may be understood.
As the study proceeds, these "keys" are introduced one by one to open the mind to the hidden meaning of each symbol found in the prophecy. As each point is made clear a "key" is then hung upon brads driven into the small rack.
Should a question rise about the use of both the "keys" and the name tabs at the same time, it is helpful for the instructor to remember that three of the five "keys" are used before any of the tabs need to be moved. My experience has been that my readers follow very easily without any confusion over the combination of the two systems.
These prophetic "keys" are made of light cardboard, lettered with a Speedball pen. The stand is made of one-fourth-inch doweling and a window-shade stick. Anything proportional to your models (twelve inches or so) and made demountable for carrying would serve.
When the teaching of symbolic prophecy is motivated by appropriate visual aids, its importance is immediately discovered by the Bible reader. There is still a challenge for the individual worker to find those ideas that will help him personally to set forth these great truths so that the Bible searcher may be impressed and convinced of our present-truth message.
Through the Eye to the Heart
R. A. HAMM: Minister, Florida Conference
Jesus was the most successful evangelist the J world has ever seen. His methods were perfect. He was an expert on human nature. He knew that the people of His day, so needful of salvation, would, on the average, remember only 10 per cent of His spoken discourse. But He also knew that these same people would remember approximately 50 per cent of what they both saw and heard. So Jesus pointed out those things around them which would impress upon their minds His teachings. Let us seek a more efficient ministry by following His example.
"Jesus constantly made spiritual truth plain through visual education. He did not confine His illustrations to word pictures. He used object lessons. He was asked a question about the lawfulness of paying tribute to Caesar. Instantly He called for a penny to illustrate His answer. It is quite probable that when He spoke of the beauty of the lilies, these flowers were all about Him. He may even have held one in His hand. Doubtless when He spoke of a mountain or o£ sycamore trees, they were right there. Once He took a little child and put him in the midst of the disciples, and commented on the humility of the child as a qualification for the kingdom of heaven." CARLYLE B. HAYNES, Living Evangelism, p. 158.
People of our day are curious. They want to see everything that happens. Let a fire truck race by, and everyone rushes to see! Linemen rescuing a small kitten from an electric pole never fail to draw a crowd. We can, through curiosity of the sense of sight, attract people to hear and see the gospel. We might well say the way to a man's interest is through his eyes.
"With intense interest God is looking on this world. . . . He has counted His workers, both men and women, and has prepared the way before them. . . . Through their efforts the truth will appeal to thousands in a most forcible manner. . . . Truth will be made so prominent that he who runs may read. Ways will be devised to reach hearts." Testimonies, vol. 7, p. 25.
These words should encourage us to seek ways of making this truth prominent. New ways are needed, for a changing world needs changing methods. There is still a wide-open field for original ideas with modern prophetic appeal.
"Some of the methods used in this work will be different from the methods used in the past, but let no one, because of this, block the way by criticism." —Ibid.
"Let the workers for God manifest tact and talent, and originate devices by which to communicate light to those who are near and to those who are afar off." Review and Herald, March 24, 1896.
This is a commission from the messenger of the Lord, laying upon us a sacred responsibility. The world has never been in a darker condition than it is in now. New ways and new devices must be originated!
Around the turn of the century one of our evangelists, W. W. Simpson, took this counsel to heart, and concentrated on ways of making the prophecies of Daniel and the Revelation more realistic. Sister White sent many letters to him encouraging him in his project. In one of them she said:
"You have given much study to the matter of how to make the truth interesting, and the charts you have made are in perfect accord with the work to be carried forward. These charts are object lessons to the people. You have put intensity of thought into the work of getting out these striking illustrations. And they have a marked effect as they are presented to the people in vindication of truth. The Lord uses them to impress minds. Instruction has been given me clearly and distinctly that charts should be used in the presentation of truth." E. G. White letter 51, 1902.
Again Mrs. White said:
"Brother S dwells especially upon the prophecies in the books of Daniel and the Revelation. He has large representations of the beasts spoken of in these books. These beasts are made of papier- mache, and by an ingenious invention, they may be brought at the proper time before the congregation. Thus he holds the attention of the people, while he preaches the truth to them. Through this effort hundreds will be led to a better understanding of the Bible than they ever had before, and we trust that there will be many conversions." E. G. White letter 326, 1906.
"Elder S is arousing a good interest in his meetings. People of all classes come out to hear, and to see the new life-size images that he has of the beasts of Revelation. A great many Catholics come to hear him." E. G. White letter 352, 1906.
Great companies, with the backing of fortunes, are doing everything in their power to keep people home at night. The radio offers every form of entertainment.
"Ministers of God's appointment will find it necessary to put forth extraordinary efforts in order to arrest the attention of the multitudes. . . . They must make use of every means that can possibly be devised for causing the truth to stand out clearly and distinctly." Testimonies, vol. 9, p. 109.
A Few Simple Rules
There are no limits to the effective illustrations that can be used. Whether it be on the prophecies or other doctrines, they create and hold attention. There are certain rules, however, that should be applied to the use of visual aids. Following are a few of these that are helpful:
"a. Visual aids should be dignified.
"b. They should be simple.
"c. They should be made for a particular purpose.
"d. They should not be displayed until needed.
"e. They should be progressive." F. B. JENSEN, "Pastoral Methods," Syllabus, p. 6.
"The work in the large cities is to be done after Christ's order, not after the order of a theatrical performance. It is not the theatrical performance that glorifies God, but the presentation of the truth in the love of Christ." Testimonies, vol. 9, p. 142.
Some think that this excludes all striking il lustrations, but the messenger of the Lord used the word "striking" herself. This does not hinder the fulfillment of the rule that asks for simplicity. Much depends upon the way the subject is presented.
It is best if all illustrations can be progressive; that is, no part should be put before the eyes of the congregation until the words of the speaker are turned upon that subject. This holds the close attention of the audience, and keeps them from reading ahead. Strive for perfection!
.Evangelists, Bible instructors, and laymen should be interested in using visual aids to teach the message. The Lord has told us that "such methods will be used more and more in this closing work." Evangelism, p. 205.