Pointers for Preachers

Anonymous Worshipers, Secret of Success


The old adage, "We can have too much of a good thing," is-reflected in a recent plan put into operation in a Methodist church in Los Angeles. The minister, convinced that some people are actually staying away from church be­cause of the "rush treatment by enthusiastic gree-ers," has been led to reserve a part of his church for what he calls Churchgoers Anonymous.

"Beginning September 25, 500 balcony seats will be reserved for this select group," reports the Los Angeles Times, Sept. 17, 1960. "CA's (Churchgoers Anonymous) will be invited to enter through an exclusive door—1211 S. Flower Street. They will walk up an unattended stairway to the private sec­tion. Bulletins and other literature will be available on a table, but there will be no ushers. The offering? A collection box."

"Maybe this minister has something," remarked the one who sent us this information. It is more likely, however, that we err in being too restrained with visitors attending our services. Better for them to be tired from too much handshaking than to leave the church having had no welcome at all. The art of kindness and the ability to establish friendship is something all should learn, but espe­cially those who are appointed as doorkeepers in the house of God. The selection of men and women to serve in this important office requires much wis­dom. The mere appointment to such an office is not of itself a problem. A welcome requires enthusi­asm, as well as a prayerful study of the techniques that win hearts. To know how to shake hands is important, but to know when or when not to is equally important.

"Much depends upon the manner in which you meet those whom you visit. You can take hold of a person's hand in greeting in such a way as to gain his confidence at once, or in so cold a manner that he will think you have no interest in him."—Gospel Workers, p. 189.

R. A. A.



During the great gold rush days in the western United States there was one old prospector who would frequently disappear into the hills for a few weeks. On returning he usually reported finding a rich vein of gold, often bigger and better than anything he had ever found before. Other prospec­tors never seemed to have the same good luck, so they tried desperately to learn from him the secret of how he was able to make such valuable finds. They thought he must have some secret formula. Finally, one day he told them his secret. "Boys," he said, "I just keep on digging holes."

This story, told by J. W. Nixon, newly appointed publishing and radio secretary of the Northern European Division, emphasizes a very important point. Success in any line of work usually comes by just keeping on. We learn to do by doing. We learn to sell by selling. And we learn to preach by preach­ing. This veteran trainer of literature evangelists also tells of the manager of a large steel company who was looking for a man for a responsible posi­tion. He went to the foreman of the drafting depart­ment and said, "Al, I would like to have your best man."

"But all my men are good," said the foreman. "I don't have a number one man." The manager didn't press the point further, but a little later he sent an order to the drafting department asking every man to work two hours overtime each day. When this had gone on for some weeks, he asked the foreman, "How do the men like the accelerated work program?"

"Like it? They don't like it. They are kicking about it—all but one man."

"Tell me who that is," inquired the manager.

"His name is Charlie Schwab. He just eats work. He seems to enjoy it."

"Send him to my office," the manager said. "He is your number one man. This is the man I was ask­ing about." Charles Schwab became world famous as a steel king, an outstanding man in the industry.

It has been well said, "If you want a job done, go to a busy man." If we would have success in soul winning, let us apply the principles of good sales­manship and industry. The more contacts we make, especially in the homes of the people, and the more hours we spend in diligent preparation for our ser­mons and our Bible studies, the more power we will have in the pulpit. A powerful sermon is one that carries over into the homes of the people, so that when the preacher visits he finds an open sesame. People want to speak with him because they know he has learned the secret of speaking with God. Let us "keep on digging holes" or going "the second mile" in our service. This is the secret of ministerial and evangelistic success.

R. A. A.


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January 1961

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