Evaluation of It Is Written Decision Films

The June issue of The Ministry carried the third and final article of a series en­titled "From TV Screen to Harvest," deal­ing with effective follow-up of the It Is Written television program. This third ar­ticle was devoted particularly to an intro­duction of the series of decision films only recently released.

THE June issue of The Ministry carried the third and final article of a series en­titled "From TV Screen to Harvest," deal­ing with effective follow-up of the It Is Written television program. This third ar­ticle was devoted particularly to an intro­duction of the series of decision films only recently released.

Before this last article went to press a good many sets of the new films were in use across the nation, and an almost phenom­enal response was beginning to come in. Some have had doubts about the possibil­ity of anyone's responding to an appeal made on film. Surprisingly enough, certain factors, among them the fact that the ap­peal is made while the meeting place is in darkness, have made it even easier for the individual to respond than in the conven­tional public meeting. And, verifying a statement that G. E. Vandeman has re­peatedly made, the films are in some cases proving more effective than his appearance in person, since the impact is greater on a large screen and the appeal, when care­fully prepared as on these films, can be as personal.

Among other responses the following very thorough analysis of the whole project has come in, completely unsolicited, from Wayne Massengill and his associate, War­ren Heintz:

" 'It's uncanny.' 'No one will respond to a beaded screen.' 'It might be embarrass­ing.' 'What about expenses?'

"These are questions and fears that no doubt have traced their way through the minds of those who have contemplated us­ing the It Is Written decision films for fol­low-up of the television series.

"Here in the Coeur d'Alene area we had the same questions, the same doubts. We viewed the prospects with dubious eyes and considered the venture a gamble. But we thought we would give it a try.

"The night we chose was Sunday night. Generally speaking, this night could be ex­pected to bring us smaller crowds, in com­parison with Friday and Saturday nights. The place selected for the decision meet­ings was the church. This combination of time and place might well tend toward re­duced attendance. In addition to this, for three weeks we would be competing with Elder Vandeman in person in Spokane, thirty miles away, on Sunday nights.

"Surprises? Yes. Every Sunday night the church is full. Approximately one fourth of the attendance is made up of people not of our faith. The offerings received more than pay expenses. In fact, they exceed anything previously realized.

"What type of people attend? At present we have some of the finest, most influential, professional people in attendance. Do they come back? Yes. During the week they at­tend the meetings in Spokane, but on Sun­day night they are always present for the decision meeting.

"And does the audience respond to ap­peals made on the screen? It's surprising, but they do—churchgoers as well as non-churchgoers. This response is genuine. They are not responding to a man, but to God. Elder Vandeman isn't there. The transition from the screen to the church pastor is smooth, without embarrassment, and is effective. We followed the program exactly as outlined and found that it worked.

"In summation, we have found the program to be one of highest dignity, rightly representing the solemnity of truth, a pres­entation for which no one need make apology. It is gripping and alive with pur­pose and movement. At the close of the service there is the feeling in each heart that God has been present. This is the atmosphere in which the Spirit can work.

"Experiential Observations

"1. The time and place selected for the use of the films is dependent on the amount of television interest. Where the in­terest is scattered, this approach will work as well in a cottage meeting as in a church or hall.

"2. The clarity of the minister conduct­ing the Bible study is of more importance than his eloquence.

"3. Audience participation consists of filling in texts on individual work sheets. This method is simple yet greatly appreci­ated by those studying. Here is the easiest place for confusion. Keep the texts clear.

"4. It does not take special training to conduct this type of program. A layman with initiative can use this persuasive me­dium with decision results."

 


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August 1961

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