About three years ago when I first began experimenting with this novel aid to evangelism, it was with a conviction that the Lord was leading me into something new and unusual. The Lord's messenger had said, "Some of the methods used in this work will be different from the methods used in the work in the past."—Evangelism, pp. 129, 130. With the excellent direction found in the book Evangelism for my guide, I entered into extended experiments in the field of black light. When my brother, Elman, was called to full-time evangelism in the Central California Conference [now with the New Gallery Evangelistic Center in London, England], we pooled our knowledge and continued our experimentation.
Up to the present time we have held a total of eight full efforts using this black light approach. Others of our evangelists are using variations; however, this report is based primarily upon our own experience in this field, for we have not had the opportunity of studying the plan with others who are using it successfully. In our preparation for each campaign we have spent a great deal of time in changing and revamping our materials, even indulging in a "post-mortem" at the close of the meetings. We have been trying to avoid the pitfalls of getting into a rut in the presentation of a given topic, and we feel that this has been the means of keeping our thinking fluid.
Does This Method Make the Gospel Stand Out With Renewed Clarity?
On the basis of the reaction of those who attend the meetings, the answer is definitely Yes! Not only is the message made clear to new listeners, but older members say the old truths stand forth with new clarity. We follow the plan of using an automatic projector and throwing all texts on the screen. The lecture is then built up step by step on the black-light board. As we conclude the presentation, the hearers have before them the finished subject. Many have told us that it burns into their minds to the extent that even after they have retired, they still "see" the material before their eyes.
Further, we have worked out in outline form, the lectures given with all the texts used, together with the diagrammatic material shown on the black-light board. This is placed in the hands of all so they can restudy the subject presented in the quiet of their own homes. As they do so, the truths presented in diagrammatic form come back to them again with renewed impact.
Is This Method Dignified?
This depends on the individual preparing the materials and on the manner in which they are used. The common reaction of the people attending the meeting is that it makes them think most solemnly. Just one thing stands out, transcending all else in the minds of the audience —the tremendous impact of "present truth" for this time. Everything else sinks into the background. The speaker is submerged in the great truths he is handling. Usually, illustrative materials that are the most simple enhance these great truths by their very simplicity.
What Are the Disadvantages of This Method?
The problems brought to our attention by this question are not so much with the method as with the individual. Not everyone can use the same methods, not everyone can adapt himself to this approach, and not everyone should attempt to do so. God will use our several abilities and talents in the way that will best honor the gospel. Any method or talent that God can use that will not present ourselves, but will cause self to be "lost sight of," that causes people to "catch hold of big ideas," is what we as ministers must look for (Ibid., p. 169). I find this method to be in harmony with the instruction in Evangelism, for "with tact and talent" it is being used to "communicate light to those who are near and to those who are afar off" (Ibid., p. 206).
General Data Regarding Materials
All my materials are constructed to fit a black-light board that is 5 by 12 feet in size. The major part of the letters are 3 inches high, and they are readable in nearly every auditorium that our men might wish to use. The backing of the board is composed of celotex, with three panels four by five feet in size, standing on a frame with an incline of 21/2 inches to the foot. This gives adequate pitch so materials backed with flannel, sandpaper, or flocking will stick properly. At the base of this inclined board is a shelf about 14 inches wide running the length of the board, on which materials can be placed before displaying them to the audience. To the front of this shelf, three fluorescent black-light units are mounted so that they give the greatest amount of illumination to the board itself. From the shelf to the floor the framework is hidden by appropriate material, so draped that it fits into the general decoration of the platform.
Actual construction of the frame is very simple if one keeps in mind the basic measurements mentioned above. An added attraction is the use of pointers made of 4-foot doweling and painted with radiant paints. As the pointer comes within the field of the black light it begins to glow, as do the other fluorescent materials when placed on the board.
As to subject matter, it is our plan to present a complete message with this medium, including our church standards, the Spirit of prophecy, and the health message. We have nothing to hide. Presented in a quiet and dignified manner, these truths become a sword that brings about an operation of far-reaching consequences in the hearts of those hearers who are sincere.