A field school of evangelism was held in Charlotte, North Carolina, in the late summer of 1964. The following are testimonies of students who participated and tasted the joys of soul winning.
Holy Spirit Destroys Fear
One can't learn to swim by reading a book, he has to get into the water first. Field schools in evangelism have proved that this is an effective method of teaching our present and future ministers the art of evangelistic soul winning.
An evangelistic field school is rewarding in many ways. It provides practical experience. One student remarked: "The field school program is essential for the ministerial student, for it allows him to put into practice theories he has learned in the classroom. If he is to be a soul winner he must come in contact with souls. This is accomplished in field school in a most vivid way."
Another benefit is that the student is brought face to face with the working power of the Holy Spirit. Many of our men are afraid to try evangelism because they are afraid of failure, but through the work of the Holy Spirit our power to succeed is unlimited. We do not realize this until we have seen it at work.
The third angel's message is a message of urgency. The field school in bringing the student into soul-winning contact with scores of people in spiritual darkness does much to help us sense this urgency.
"Given Me a Taste"
Another student says: "The field school has given me a taste of the thrill of soul winning; it has awakened in me the urgency of these times."
It is essential that our ministers have a real love for souls. The student often becomes so involved in his studies that he fails to feel the burden of this love. But a field school throws him into the midst of men and women struggling for they know not what, and if the student relates himself aright to this experience he will come out of it with a real burden to win souls to Christ.
There are many advantages to this field school program, but the most important is the sense of mission that the student receives. He catches a vision of evangelism and soul winning and learns that evangelism is hard but rewarding work. If my experience is typical, students leave the field school anticipating the time when they can begin their own evangelistic program.
Yes, the evangelistic field school is rewarding and is heartily recommended by those who have had this experience. The following comments were gleaned from the test papers of several students:
Test Paper Comments
"The field school program has revolutionized my thinking, and I know my ministry will be more effective because of it."
"I don't know how I could have expected to be a soul-winning minister without the inspiration and experience obtained at the field school. Truly, it has been a high point in my life, one that I shall never forget."
"I know better now what is expected of me as a minister of the gospel of Christ and how to more effectively work for others and help finish the work."
"This has given me a great desire to be an evangelist. . . . I have seen that evangelism pays and its best days are ahead for us."
"I believe it would be well for every one of our ministers, whether young or old, to attend a field school. By using what we have learned at field school I know the Lord's work can soon he finished."
"I feel this is the greatest help I have had in all my training. I believe this training will make the difference between failure and success in my ministry."—DARAYLLARSEN.
The work above all work,—the business above all others which should draw and engage the energies of the soul,—is the work of saving souls for whom Christ has died. Make this the main, the important work of your life. Make it your special life-work. Cooperate with Christ in this grand and noble work, and become home and foreign missionaries. Be ready and efficient to work at home or in far-off climes for the saving of souls. . . . 0 that young and old were thoroughly converted to God, and would take up the duty that lies next to them, and work as they have opportunity, becoming laborers together with God. Should this come to pass, multitules of voices would show forth the praises of Him who bath called them out of darkness into His marvelous light—Sons and Daughters of God, p. 274.
Field Schools Give Courage
What courage they give you, what courage!" said the student, shaking his head in wonderment as he walked away from the group surrounding the teacher.
Courage? For what? Through classroom lectures and through practical experience this student and thirty-six others had found that successful evangelism could be done, and they had helped to do it. No longer do they fear conducting an evangelistic campaign when they go into the ministry.
The Time: June, 1964.
The Place: The Seventh-day Adventist church, Charlotte, North Carolina.
The Occasion: The field school of evangelism being conducted in connection with the It Is Written crusade, with Bruce Johnston, head of the religion department of Southern Missionary College, as speaker, and Don Jacobsen, instructor in religion at Emmanuel Missionary College, as singing evangelist.
"Evangelism is not easy, it is plain hard work," said Elder Johnston, "but there is no thrill that can compare with that of working with the Holy Spirit for the saving of souls." By the end of four weeks of five mornings of classes a week; visiting two by two in the homes of the people each afternoon to arouse interest, to keep interest stimulated, or to make new contacts; and attending the meetings every evening, the students could give a hearty Amen to Brother Johnston's words. Enthusiasm was always at high tide as they saw classroom theory demonstrated in a practical way, and the feeling was, "Who minds hard work when we can see God's kingdom advancing?"
Summer, with its competition of vacations, heat wave, and many diversions did not affect the average nightly attendance of more than 200, with the largest number of people present at the final meeting. Fifteen precious souls were buried with their Lord in baptism on Sabbath afternoon, July 4.
Much interest has been created which will be followed up by the local pastor, Herman Davis.
"Soul saving should have the main emphasis in a man's ministry," said Elder Jacobsen. From a wide background of experience he gave practical suggestions on how a pastor could have a program that would allow time for his many duties, plus the conducting of two, three, or even four evangelistic campaigns per year. The main pitfalls of the aspiring pastor-evangelist are: lack of planning and organization, fear of failure, "it can't be done here" reports, and unwillingness to do the hard work needed.
"The key to success," said Brother Jacobsen, "is to give God everything we have, for even a man of few talents can be successful as a soul winner if he lets God work through him. Have a plan, work the plan, and with God's help success will come." God has given the commission, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature." Thirty-seven strong, the field school students dedicate themselves to the accomplishment of His will.—H. EUGENE MILLER.