It pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe" (1 Cor. 1:21). During my college experience public evangelism was strongly promoted: however, because of the belief among many ministers that public evangelism was on the way out, my own faith in the public preaching of God's Word was weakened.
Therefore the most valuable lesson I learned from the field school was that public evangelism really works! Opportunity was given to observe God in action. And what a thrill it was to see the Holy Spirit working through the many avenues of the evangelistic campaign. As I beheld the response of men, women, and children to the united effort of the total evangelistic team, I was convinced that this is God's appointed means of saving men.
Never have I observed the wooing of the Holy Spirit in such a marked way as during the field school. The Spirit of God worked through the visitation, the prayers, the music, the sermons, the quiet calls that were so beautiful and appealing, through every phase of the series. God reached down into the hearts of men, dispelling the darkness and filling the heart with the light and warmth of salvation.
During the field school there was an abundance of evidence that God blesses the efforts of the evangelistic team. One family that my team was visiting had been attending quite regularly. The man seemed to be fully convinced that this was God's truth; however, his wife objected that there were good people and doctrines in all churches —that it was impossible to know which was right. She continued to come but made no response to the simple yet beautiful prayer appeals that were extended each evening, nor would her husband take his stand without her.
I was a bit discouraged concerning them as we came to the last weekend of the series. On the Friday evening before the final calls were made, the entire team. which included the church, participated in a unique prayer service that lasted twelve hours. The special needs of each of the interested persons were brought before the throne of grace throughout the entire night.
This was a most stimulating and rewarding experience. The church members were especially blessed by this. However, the most joyful result was seen the next day. As I visited my problem family I found an entirely different attitude. During the night their decision had been made.
My heart burned within me as they, along with the two oldest children, took their stand that evening and went on to follow our Saviour in the sacred rite of baptism. As I watched God working through many avenues during the three weeks' series, I was sold on public evangelism. Without the field school I may have gone throughout my ministry handicapped by the wrong attitude toward God's special means of saving men.
Not only is the field school proof of the effectiveness of public evangelism, but the student is given on-the-job training in every phase of public meetings. The organization of the church into an efficient team was a high light of the school. I was thrilled with the time-saving and productive visitation plan. The revival of the church, the budget, the ushers, music, sermons, calls, prayer appeals, order of service, offering—all these and many other areas were taught so as to, assure success for a pastor just beginning his ministry. This material was given to the student in mimeograph form as a help to a young pastor as he goes into a public series. He is given added confidence that he is conducting a meeting that will produce a rewarding harvest.
Before I attended the field school I felt somewhat confident that I knew quite a lot about public evangelism. Some pastors had told me that I would learn nothing new from the field school. However, now that I have attended the school, I must confess I knew nothing about public meetings, and any attempt to conduct a series without the school, would have been foolishness.
Since the field school I have had opportunity to put to a test the things I learned. In my first series of public meetings, I followed the field school instruction in detail and God was able to bless the series with fourteen decisions for baptism.
If you are just beginning or you are about to begin your ministry, the field school is a must! If you are a seasoned minister and you are tired of oiling the mechanical wheels of church machinery, if you want some real excitement—excitement that will rouse the whole church to action, then turn on the sirens of public evangelism. Go to the field school, then hold a well-organized series of meetings and God will bless you with success, your ministry will be a joy, and your church a power that will march forward to meet its coming King!