Evangelism always has as its objective the capture of a community for Christ. The first requisite in the accomplishment of this goal is to acquaint as many people in the community as possible with the presence of the evangelistic agency, and to expose them to its influence. This massive aim is the ideal of the advertising and promotion of the It Is Written program in southern California.
To accomplish this goal we have depended upon the public media of newspapers, magazines, and bus cards, and upon the personal contacts of every church member. Our philosophy is that the public media provide a broad foundation upon which to build the advertising structure, and that the personal invitations of Adventist neighbors, relatives, friends, professional and business people, become the living bricks and mortar of the total evangelistic advertising edifice.
Before the first telecast was released the nearly 23,000 members of the eighty-four churches in the conference at that time were readied to perform their vital part. At a workers' meeting held nine days before the telecast was released the entire program was outlined and supplies were provided to the pastors. Many pastors expanded the suggestions made to them and adapted the materials especially for their own churches.
Four giant rallies were held in various sections of the conference during the ten days preceding the first telecast. At these rallies laymen caught a glimpse of how they could join with evangelists and pastors to form a living link between Heaven and humanity.
The youth of the conference were in the forefront of the activity. Each of the five academies conducted an It Is Written rally at chapel time. During the week before the first telecast the students were released from classes one day for a special students' "Penetration Day" when young people distributed nearly 60,000 invitations. Bible teachers and school administrators warmly cooperated with the program.
On the Sunday night before the telecast was first aired, a meeting of physicians and dentists was held at the Statler-Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles. Those attending the meeting took back to their offices thousands of announcements, printed letters prepared for them to sign and mail, and plastic holders designed to display the It Is Written announcements and Take His Word enrollment cards on receptionists' desks. Later, attractive announcements were printed for insertion with monthly statements by professional and business people. The effectiveness of this kind of advertising was witnessed weekly as the testimonies of viewers and students were received.
As an added reminder to all Adventists in the conference about their part in launching It Is Written, Elder Cree Sandefur, conference president, sent to each Adventist home a printed personal letter encouraabinab church members to a wholehearted participation in a program of prayer and promotion.
"Penetration Day 1962" was the focal point of the entire initial advertising campaign. This occurred on Sabbath, September 15, the day the telecast began. It was dedicated to a burst of personal and public announcements about the telecast, and to a spirit of prayer and intercession that God would bless the program.
Before that day closed nearly 300,000 advertising announcements were in the hands of people in eighty-four church communities. A goal was set of 30,000 telephone calls to be made within the hour preceding the telecast time, inviting people to tune in that night. A year later people were being baptized who traced their first contact with Adventists to a voice on the telephone, inviting them to view It Is "Written.
Undergirding these personal contacts were the public advertising media.
One full-page ad in TV Guide announced the opening telecast, and twelve subsequent weekly one-fourth-page ads kept the televiewing public aware of the new series.
The newspaper advertising campaign was spearheaded by a large ad in a special eight-page Adventist supplement in the Sunday Los Angeles Times on September
This supplement, prepared by Herb Ford, at that time conference public relations director and now public relations secretary of the Pacific Union Conference, entered one and one-quarter million homes with the story of Adventist beliefs, practices, and programs. From September 15 through December 8 additional advertisements were inserted on the TV pages of the metropolitan newspapers.
Spot announcements on KCOP television and nine radio stations were sponsored by the program promotion department of KCOP, which released the telecast during its first year. Additional announcements on television were made on the Adventist Hour, a weekly one-hour telecast of a worship service jointly sponsored by the Southern and the Southeastern California conferences.
To help reach the man on the street, some three hundred bus cards were displayed on metropolitan buses.
Vital to the program of It Is Written promotion were the various organizations of the denomination. The Voice of Prophecy sent a warm, appealing letter to each of its listeners. Faith for Today and the Signs of the Times urged their viewers and readers to tune in.
Maintaining the Audience
Since the initial promotion thrust, a continued program of maintaining a public awareness of It Is Written has been perpetuated.
Several weeks after the telecast was first released, Attorney Warren Johns, conference religious liberty secretary, sent a letter to all Liberty subscribers urging them to view telecasts that dealt with the theme of religious liberty.
At 1962 Ingathering time 100,000 advertising pieces promoting It Is Written were distributed with Ingathering papers. Four additional announcement folders have been printed and distributed by the many hundreds of thousands to the community.
To maintain the enthusiasm and direct the activity of church members, a second series of rallies was held about three months after the telecast was launched. Biweekly reports of enrollments and excerpts from TV mail kept the churches aware of the progress of the program. Posters were distributed for use on church bulletin boards. Weekly articles appeared in the union conference paper. Most important of all, church members were constantly involved in the activity of the program, and pastors and laymen alike were thrilled to greet new faces at the church door as a result of their work.
In southern California, It Is Written is still on the air. As pastors and people press forward they are now encouraged by the flesh-and-blood evidence of the success of the plan. Promotion has ripened into results, and the faithful workers who walked, telephoned, and addressed envelopes are already rubbing elbows with new converts. Thus the edifice of advertising is being transformed into a temple of God.