When I was asked to come to Torrance and do Bible work about three and one-half years ago, Pastor and Mrs. Glenn Goffar and I prayed that God would give us wisdom to win souls for His kingdom.
One day Mrs. Goffar suggested luncheons once a week with some kind of educational program for entertainment. I could think of nothing more educational than the precious Word of God in beautiful pictures. After prayer for guidance, and with the help of some of our most zealous and consecrated church sisters, I opened my house. The Lord sent the people; these dear sisters called in their friends and neighbors, and I invited women with whom I was studying.
We started this project with just a few, but closed our first year's effort with eight baptisms, and twenty-nine women attending. Our meetings begin in September and close in June. The first year we permitted the mothers to bring little ones, but we soon found that there was too much confusion. One day Mrs. Goffar entertained twenty-two little folks while I gave the Bible study. The second year we planned for only adults to attend. Five were baptized the second year, and six the third year.
Occasionally the husbands attend. Our pastor drops in now and then to become acquainted with these interested folks, and this contact breaks down prejudice. They learn to love him and look forward to attending church to hearhim preach. .
Our luncheons are of the potluck type, which gives us opportunity to teach the women how to prepare healthful meals. In this way we teach them the health message without their being aware of it. We make out properly balanced menus for them, and we also exchange recipes. We never preach health reform, but rather in an apparently casual way explain why we do not eat and drink things that are harmful to the body.
These luncheons are actually full-course dinners, and we find the women taking the ideas to their husbands and children. By this method the whole family is educated in healthful living.
After the luncheon our church sisters help to clear the tables and wash the dishes, and I give an illustrated Bible study. When this is over, it is time for all to leave for their homes. Our meetings are very informal, which encourages personal friendship. The more timid ones soon feel at -home, and we always keep the conversation on subjects pleasing to God. We foster a truly Christian atmosphere at these gatherings.
Before long the women are ready to attend church, and they feel at ease there because all former barriers have been broken down at the luncheons. They know many of the church sisters as personal friends, and are also acquainted with the pastor and the Bible instructor. As they enter the church they sense that they belong to US.
It would be impossible to carry on a program like this without the help of our dear church members. They each prepare a dish for the luncheon, call their friends, and even use their cars to bring them. There are five loyal sisters who help us from year to year. And some others began to help us before they were baptized. We find that older women, and especially women who live alone, are delighted with this program. However, we have about ten young women attending also. Our gatherings seem to fill a need in their lives, and before they realize it they are drawn to Christ and find just what they have been longing for.
We are convinced that this profitable Bible study project is a soul-winning plan. It requires the leadership of the pastor and his wife, and the Bible instructor; but our church members are also rejoicing, for they have a definite part in bringing new members into the church. It is surprising what this project has accomplished for our church members. Although it is not our only plan for increasing our influence in this community, our worker group recognizes that this is a most effective way of breaking down prejudice and drawing people to the church. We share the plan because it is workable.
Reward of Soul Winning
A rich reward will be given to the true workers, who put all there is of them into the work. There is no greater bliss on this side of heaven than in winning souls to Christ. Joy fills the heart as the workers realize that this great miracle could never have been wrought by human agencies, but only through the One who loves souls ready to perish. The divine presence is close beside every true worker, making souls penitent. Thus the Christian brotherhood is formed. The worker and those worked for are touched with the love of Christ. Heart touches heart, and the blending of soul with soul is like the heavenly intercourse between ministering angels.—Evangelism, p. 333.
Do not become weary in the work. God will help us. Angels will help us; because it is their work, and the very work they are seeking to inspire us with. . . . May Heaven let the Spirit that was in our divine Lord rest upon us.Ibid., pp. 292, 293.