The use of black light in evangelism has unique possibilities in our program of world evangelization. It has the quality of being "something new" that attracts the public; it favorably competes with TV, and it makes the material presented much more interesting.
In spite of all these points in its favor, the use of black light in evangelism is definitely not a cure-all for evangelistic failures. It will not take the place of prayer, consecration, or the work of the Holy Spirit upon the hearts of men and women. It will not relieve the evangelist of visiting in the homes of the people, of hard work and study, nor of the proper preparation that would be necessary for any series of evangelistic meetings. It can only be used in addition to all of the items mentioned.
The use of black light is not something to jump rashly into with the feeling that "it has worked for others, so it must work for me." The results may be most disappointing. It might be the unproved armor of Saul for a David who could do great things for God in another way. It must be experimented with, tested, and tried until one is familiar with its use and is able to adapt it to his specific type of evangelistic work.
Now some concrete suggestions for those who live near enough to order from Chicago, Illinois. The Black Light Products Company, 67 East Lake Street, Chicago 1, Illinois, offers an inexpensive trial kit of chalks, water-color paints, and other items for a small sum. These can be purchased for experimentation. Then after a plan has been developed more funds can be invested intelligently for such visual-aid equipment and supplies.
The above-mentioned company also handles the black-light fixtures, bulbs, oil paints, water colors, chalks, crayons, ribbon, paper products, printing inks, and a variety of materials to work with. Write for their free advertising material on all these items.
The fixtures they have to offer are excellent though perhaps a bit more expensive than the average person would wish to invest in for experimental purposes. (Ordinary fluorescent fixtures can be adapted at a very reasonable price.)
They carry all sizes of the fluorescent black-light bulbs from 4 to 40 watts. The 40-watt size is perhaps the most practical for evangelistic purposes. The type of bulb best suited is the BLB black-light bulb. This one has a blue Glass filter built into the bulb itself and does not need a filter glass on the fixture to eliminate all the white light. The 40-watt size (4 foot) sells for about $7.50 retail, depending upon the make and the source of supply. Another type of black-light bulb is also available, but it has a white glass and can be used only with a blue glass filter built into the fixture. This type sells for $2.00 or under.
A 40-watt single fluorescent fixture can be purchased at any electrical-supply store. It must be of the "standard start" type. (Black-light bulbs are not made to work efficiently with either the "rapid start" or the "instant start" type of fixture.) A simple curved reflector made preferably of polished aluminum can be installed just below the bulb to deflect all the light rays upon the illustrative material. White enameled reflectors can be used also, though they are not quite so effective as the aluminum.
One 40-watt light fixture, with bulb, is sufficient to activate a 4 by 6 foot illustration board very satisfactorily. That size board is large enough to experiment with and can be used for groups of from three to four hundred people.
The board itself can be made of quarter-inch tempered masonite reinforced with a light wood frame. If the masonite is painted with black slate paint, it will produce an excellent blackboard upon which to use the black-light chalk for more variety.
The flannel used to cover the board should be black for best results, and can be made to slip over the entire board so that it can be quickly removed if the blackboard is desired.
Many simple types of frames and stands can be devised, upon which to mount the board and the light fixtures. The light can be mounted either above or below the area to be activated, with "above" mounting probably a bit more effective. This may be a matter of personal opinion.
If the device is properly set up and used, it can be very effective either in the daytime or at night. The room need not be in total darkness in order to produce good results. Enough light should be in the auditorium to permit the speaker to see the face of every individual in the congregation, and thus to maintain the "circular reponse" so necessary for best results in preaching or public speaking.
The effect upon the public is amazing if the device is properly used. Some have said, "It looks like 3-D," while others have said, "I cannot forget what I have seen and heard." One individual asked, "Why can't this be put on television so that the whole world can see the wonderful gospel story?" Thus we find it is a valuable aid in preaching the story of salvation.
In spite of all that has been said in its favor, due caution must always be exercised in the use of black light. I repeat, this is not a cure-all for evangelistic failures. Do not think it will win souls without effort and hard work. Do not think "it has worked for others, it will work for me." It might fail! It has for some!
We believe, however, that this is one of God's gifts to use to make "the foolishness of preaching" a much more effective means of saving souls. It is a device to be tried and put to work for the Master. Used widely, it is a truly wonderful aid to the teaching of God's Word.