Do Short Evangelistic Campaign Converts Stay?

This question seems to be one of the first to arise when considering the merits of a long or a short evangelistic campaign. It is a strange and Presumptuous matter to limit the power of the Holy Spirit; salvation is an experience that can be brought about in a moment of time, whereas the development of Christian char­acter takes a longer time. But who can say whether it takes a month, a year, or a life­time?

H.H. Schmidt, President, Florida Conference

This question seems to be one of the first to arise when considering the merits of a long or a short evangelistic campaign. It is a strange and Presumptuous matter to limit the power of the Holy Spirit; salvation is an experience that can be brought about in a moment of time, whereas the development of Christian char­acter takes a longer time. But who can say whether it takes a month, a year, or a life­time?

A number of things contribute to loss:

  1. No integration into missionary and social life of church.
  2. No pastoral care.
  3. Unusual circumstances in family and job.

Over the years of evangelistic work we have discovered a number of things that seem at times to be paradoxical. We have discovered that-

  1. Many converts have become good Sev­enth-day Adventists and strong church members by means of a campaign, without having had any former background or knowledge of Seventh-day Adventist teachings. Many of these came as the result of the short campaign.
  2. A strong percentage of the converts we win in a campaign, short or long, come from homes or from a background of SDA experience. It doesn't take a long cam­paign to accomplish this.
  3. A large percentage of the loss we sus­tain is of those having an SDA background as well as of those learning of the message for the first time in an evangelistic meeting.
  4. The percentage of loss, or ratio of loss, is commensurate with the number won, whether in a long or short campaign. In other words, if there are one hundred baptisms as the result of one campaign, there are a larger number of apostasies from this group than from a group of ten baptisms. But the ratio or percentage is the same.

A quick survey of our field (Florida) in the churches where short campaigns were held over the past three years, shows a loss of about 15 per cent of those won. This figure is no greater than the losses we have sustained in other churches over the same period of time where there hasn't been an intensive campaign.

We can well conclude that all this talk about a short campaign not showing last­ing results has no foundation. We believe in the short, intensive campaign because it does bring results in souls won to the mes­sage in a shorter period of time. To hold these converts then becomes a responsibil­ity of the pastor and church where the con­verts have fellowship.

We may summarize as follows:

  1. More of the field can be covered with several short campaigns.
  2. More churches are influenced and en­couraged by an evangelistic campaign.
  3. In the long run the expense is less to a conference because of more Adventist people participating who give toward cam­paigns.
  4. The results in baptisms are greater.
  5. Those staying by the message and the church are greater in number because a greater number are won initially.

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H.H. Schmidt, President, Florida Conference

July 1963

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