Is there a minister alive who would not thrill to see baptisms in his church on the increase? If there is such a man, we suspect two things. First, he isn't really alive. Second, he must not live in Southeastern California. Energetic and dedicated ministers in this conference have seen the conference membership rise from a little more than 18,000 to nearly 20,000 in just eighteen months. Remarkably, much of the impetus has come from a single It Is Written program.
What sort of program did it take to make Southeastern California the fastest-growing conference in North America? And how much does it cost?
It Is Written came to California in September of 1962. Televised over three channels and jointly sponsored on a fourth, It Is Written immediately captured the interest of church members and their leaders at every level. As a result of this interest, the churches have given $81,000—almost 90 per cent of the cost of It Is Written to date.
In order to make the program an unusual success, conference administrators were willing to invest unusual amounts of time and money in advertising, promoting, and following up interests throughout the five-county area. However, they soon discovered that the liberal gifts of telecast viewers who attended reaping meetings held in large metropolitan areas where George Vandemanman personally addressed the thousands who came, nearly covered the entire cost of these gigantic series.
What are the results? By September, 1963, more than 1,200 have joined eighty-four Southeastern Adventist churches. This is 50 per cent more than for the same period last year. In addition to the hundreds who have joined or will join the church and play a supporting role in church activities in the years ahead there are thousands who have been favorably exposed to Adventism.
This is why Southeastern considers the It Is Written program an investment rather than an expense. 'What better way is there to reach so many for so little?