It has always been a conviction of the writer that the chief administrator in a conference should be at the forefront in evangelism. The days of swivel-chair evangelism are gone. If we are to successfully meet the challenge of this hour, every executive, departmental secretary, pastor, Bible instructor, colporteur, and layman must catch a new vision and unite in an all-out evangelistic drive for the enlarging of the kingdom of Christ.
This is exactly what happened in the East Jamaica Conference in 1964. The Spirit of God moved upon the office staff, and within six months two lots of land were purchased, a tabernacle to accommodate eight hundred was erected, the office staff was molded into an evangelistic team of twelve, a crusade was launched that resulted in more than one hundred souls baptized, and a church was organized within six months from the opening night of the campaign.
This remarkable crusade was conducted in the midst of the annual Ingathering campaign. In spite of the heavy administrative responsibilities and multitudinous duties, the members of the team, particularly the speakers, found time to visit scores of those who manifested an interest in the truth.
Since the time of the organization of the church the membership has been doubled. We are grateful that God has enabled us to demonstrate that it is possible to have the officers and departmental secretaries of a conference share directly in the soul-winning program each year.
It is noteworthy that these meetings were held in a Catholic stronghold. In fact, there is a large Roman Catholic church and school less than a quarter of a mile from our church. This Roman Catholic church gives free food to its members every week, but in spite of this attraction and incentive, more than 50 per cent of our new converts were once members of the Roman Catholic Church. Truly this is the work of God. "We can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth."
It is the plan of this conference to keep the fires of evangelism burning from headquarters until the Spirit spreads throughout the territory in a mighty blaze, as it was on the day of Pentecost. We are looking forward with joyous anticipation to the time when even greater things will be accomplished through the power of the Holy Spirit. We are determined under God to evangelize the fast-growing metropolis of Kingston.
We pay tribute to our devoted laymen who sowed the seed and prepared the way for this unforgettable campaign. Without their help the task could not have been achieved. They constitute a shining example of what God can do with a dedicated laity.
The conference staff, according to their individual talents, carried the responsibilities of speaker, manager, treasurer, song leader, pianist, and ushers during the campaign.
They served on a rotating basis in order to avoid undue pressure on any one. A fine spirit of unity and cooperation was manifested by every member of the team.
The newly organized church has made a great impact on the community. These new believers are missionary-minded and hard-working. Already the tabernacle has been enlarged at no cost to the conference, and they are negotiating to purchase an adjoining lot for future expansion of the work in Penwood, a suburb of Kingston. Each month the members of this church have been turning in more than $700 in tithes to the treasury, and we are confident that they will reach one thousand dollars a month in the not-too-distant future. The prospects for Penwood are bright.
We thank God for the example of our office workers who were willing to go the second mile. They have all stated that it was an enriching experience. We are determined to preserve the spirit of evangelism in our conference. To God be the glory, great things He hath done and will continue to do until the task is completed.