Evangelistic Publicity Service and Experimental Project

Is there a vital place for advertising and publicity techniques in evangelism?

By the staff of the Ministerial Association

An important action was taken at the recent Autumn Council that we know will be of real interest to our evangelists and pastor-evangelists everywhere. All who are dedicated to the public proclamation of God's message for this hour realize the vital place of adver­tising and publicity techniques that will assure results.

Requests keep coming to us from all parts of the world field for ideas and suggestions, and so the Ministerial Association has been asked to establish an exchange service of proved, productive evangelistic publicity. The follow­ing authorizing action of the recent General Conference Autumn Council makes the plan clear:

We recommend, I. That we look with favor upon the establishment of a long-range con­trolled program of experimentation under the joint guidance of the Ministerial Association and Bureau of Public Relations serving as a laboratory in which a wide variety of methods can be thoroughly tested, making it passible to place in the hands of our ministers and evan­gelists effective materials that have proven suc­cessful; and further, that the New York Center be requested to provide this opportunity for this research project, because at this Center there is a continuing team of experienced evan­gelists, and available to our personnel at the Center are nationally recognized experts in the field of evangelism and general publicity with whom they may counsel;

  1. That this controlled testing be not con­fined to large city situations such as obtain in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles only, but that it also include experimentation in medium and small communities;
  2. That this continuing service of advertising and sermon materials be not just a package of samples as has been made available at times in the past, but rather a service covering a whole year, and to include:
  3. Tested current advertising techniques,  Visual aid ideas and material for illustra­tion,
  1. Mat service of available outstanding art materials,

d. Subject material, sermon outlines, et cetera;

4. That the materials of this service be sent out monthly in individual packets to the local conferences for distribution to those evangelists and pastor-evangelists which the conferences might select to receive this service;

5. That this service also include:

  1. Samples of the basic folders and allied materials currently used,
  2. Methods of distribution to the public,
  3. Publicity materials for newspaper, radio, and other media of publicity,
  4. A clear presentation of the cost of all pro­motion,
  5. A careful evaluation of the advertising materials and the results;

6. That the Ministerial Association encour­age evangelists and pastor-evangelists in the different fields to send in titles, methods of publicity, et cetera, to the Ministerial Associ­ation for this guided experimentation, every care being exercised to give credit to any field or individual that sends in ideas that are tested, and that the result of such experimentation be set forth clearly, it being recognized that methods which bring success in one area may not bring similar results elsewhere;

7. That to cover the expense of this compre­hensive advertising service, a charge of twenty dollars be made for the entire period of forty weeks for each man receiving this service, this amount to be paid in advance through the General Conference; and

8. That the practicability and value of this experimental advertising service be reviewed by a group of administrative leaders and evange­lists before the close of 1959."

Real interest was expressed by our presidents and other leaders when this plan was presented, for all recognized its value. The need for wise expenditure in advertising was never greater than today, because advertising and other media of publicity were never so expensive, and all too often, lack of knowledge of the best adver­tising techniques on the part of the evangelist and his associates has resulted in depleted at­tendances at their evangelistic meetings. There­fore it was felt that such a service as is outlined —where samples of folders and other publicity, as well as the techniques for distribution to the public, together with all the other methods of publicity, could be sent to the evangelist and his team—would be a practical education resulting in very real savings to the cause.

The cost of this service is infinitesimal when compared with its real value, because these materials will continue to come every month to those workers whom the conference desig­nates.

Those receiving the greatest help will of course be our evangelists in English-speaking areas, but some of our evangelists are doing an outstanding work in other languages. If those materials are sent to us at headquarters to­gether with an English translation, then those ideas can be tested, together with the results of that experimentation. And this too becomes part of this exchange service.

The unselfish spirit on the part of men who are doing outstanding work for God is always a joy to observe. When men are eager to share ideas with their brethren it is evidence of the true spirit of the gospel. And so we say again that if you evangelists have methods or materials you believe would help your fellow evangelists, then share them, and in so doing fulfill the law of Christ. Remember that only the things we give away are the things we keep.

Some of us remember the openheartedness of C. T. Everson, one time called "the dean of Adventist evangelists." He was truly prodigal in what he shared with his fellow workers. Nothing pleased him more than to have a group of workers around him to whom he gave his techniques, telling and retelling illustrations which had proved helpful in making truth clear to his audiences. Leaving one such meet­ing, an outstanding worker from another world division said: "I have learned a great lesson today. I have listened to a great soul, great not only because he had something to give, but because he gave it so eagerly, with only one thought in mind—the thought of build­ing his fellow workers into strong preachers of the everlasting gospel."

Yes, that is the spirit of Christianity, and the Ministerial Association feels indebted to our many workers who we are sure will help us carry into effect this important service project.

Remember, this service can become effective only as our workers are willing to share and make available the techniques and ideas they have found to be successful. Send them to our headquarters office. We will keep you informed through the pages of THE MINISTRY and in other ways as to how this plan is working out.

To receive this service seek the cooperation of your conference president. It may be that either now or sometime in the future you will become eligible.

MINISTERIAL ASSOCIATION STAFF


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By the staff of the Ministerial Association

December 1958

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