The value of a name is recognized to some extent by all of us who do the work of pastors arid evangelists. It may be that we do not realize as fully as we should the value of some of the names to which we have access.
For the past three years, as workers in this district, we have been building a permanent mailing list. The district contains six towns, none of which is more than twelve miles from any of the other towns. We have placed on one mailing list all the names that have come to us having any degree of interest. This mailing list we have been using in a number of different ways in our soul-winning program in the district, and some of the experiences and results of maintaining such a list have proved its effectiveness. We have used these names chiefly in advertising public evangelistic meetings, and a number of people have been baptized who came as a result of the advertising they received in this way.
The list has been growing, until now we have thirteen hundred names. We have conducted three twenty-week evangelistic campaigns in three of the towns in the past three years, and have mailed a post card advertising the meetings to all the names on the list nearly every week of the meetings. Whenever we began to think we were perhaps overadvertising, an experience happened which caused us to continue the practice of mailing to all the names on the list each week of the meetings.
One woman who was on the list and living in a community about seven miles from the place of meeting had been receiving our advertising each week, and, according to her report, had been dropping it into the wastebasket. The meetings had been going on for nine weeks, and we were planning to continue through the holidays. As a starter for the meetings the first of January, we mailed a lithographed letter to each name on the mailing list, suggesting some of the interesting meetings that were coming. Though this woman had not read the post cards, upon receiving the letter she and her neighbor sat down and checked the subjects they wanted to be sure to hear. She came to the first meeting, then interested her husband, and both of them have been baptized. We are now giving studies to some of her neighbors, and one of them is already attending church.
Another interesting experience happened just recently when we were revising the list for a meeting that is now in progress. To prepare the field, we had been distributing Bible course invitation cards in the area, and we also mailed these cards to all the names on the list. A certain name, we decided, should be crossed off the list because we were sure no interest was there. We sent the invitation to enroll in the Bible course, and then removed the name from the list. A few days later, on receiving an enrollment we could find no record of the name in our file. Then we realized that this was the name we had removed. This individual is now progressing very nicely in the Bible course.
We also follow the practice of sending weekly announcements to all the backsliders in the area. One man who had backslidden, whose wife was not a Seventh-day Adventist, began to receive the announcements. They both came to the meetings, with the result that he was reclaimed and his wife was baptized.
Methods of Securing Names
There are many ways of securing the names placed on such a mailing list. Most readers undoubtedly use many or all of the following means for getting names, and possibly some that are not mentioned:
1. Distribution of Bible course enrollment cards to all the homes in the immediate vicinity previous to the beginning of the meeting. Then a letter mentioning the course, enclosing tickets for the opening meeting and an invitation.
2. A pre-effort literature campaign. Good News, from A to D, is especially designed for this purpose.
3. Names that the conference office can supply of people who have sent requests to the Book and Bible House for literature, or names on the return stubs on the Ingathering magazine, and so forth.
4. Names constantly coming to the pastor from those requesting that people be visited for various reasons.
5. Requesting that the church members supply names of people they know to be interested, or of people they are praying for.
6. Sending an announcement card into the Adventist homes where some member of the family is not an Adventist, addressing the card to the nonmember in the home.
7. Voice of Prophecy names. The Voice of Prophecy will mail invitations for a small fee to cover their expenses, and will supply the names of people on their list for particular areas if they are carefully used and are never used in connection with their name.
8. Names from previous evangelistic campaigns.
9. An article in the union conference paper requesting names in your area.
10. All the names to which a colporteur has sold a religious book.
11. The enrollment names from the conference Bible school.
12. Names received during field days in Operation Doorbell.
13. Names from the church guest book.
14. All the names gathered at the meetings, whether by stub, literature cards, a guest book, offering envelopes, question cards, or Bible quiz cards.
It may seem that such a list would not be of value if built up over a period of years, with no interest demonstrated in attending any of the meetings. However, it is very interesting to note that some who did not attend any meetings when these invitations were received a number of times over a period of more than two years, are now attending our present series. Circumstances change in the lives of people; there are deaths, sickness, and other heartbreaking experiences and changes that bring about different attitudes, so that people who could not be touched before will become approachable and begin to attend the meetings. There are those who after receiving announcements for several weeks will see an advertisement of a subject that interests them at the time, and they will become regular attendants.
It is important to keep the list up to date. This can easily be done by placing a "3547 re quested" on the lower left-hand corner of some printed item that is sent to those on the list. If this is done before each campaign, the post office will notify of all address changes and of those who have moved leaving no forwarding address, so that the list can be kept up to date. Ask your postmaster about this.
A convenient way of addressing the names is by using a master addressing machine. The names are typed on a roll. By the spirits-duplicator principle the name is stamped on the item to be mailed. About one thousand names can be addressed in one hour by this method. Three different machines of the same type are available through Donald F. Rossin Co., 423 South Fifth Street, Minneapolis 15, Minnesota. (See advertisement on this page.) The Master Products Company, 330 South Wells Street, Chicago 6, Illinois, also has this type of ma chine.
We feel that the district mailing list has been our most effective and least expensive medium of advertising.