UNION COLLEGE ministerial students may choose to take their evangelistic training in either of two ways.
A student may elect to take his work at a field school in evangelism held during the summer. Such schools have been held in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and in Greeley and Colorado Springs, Colorado. Plans are being laid for such a school in Denver.
If he wishes, the ministerial student may take evangelism in a two-hour course each semester of his senior year. Whether the class is taken in this winter program or in the summer field school, both include participation in an actual series of meetings.
Our recent winter series at the North-side church in Lincoln shows that young men can be successful in evangelism. The 175-member church had just finished a new building. They had performed a number of community services and laid some good groundwork. Pastor Myron Voegele felt the time was right for evangelistic meetings.
Students Plan the Program
Although we have preferred the field school because of the problems involved in trying to make an evangelistic effort fit into a student's busy schedule, there are some advantages in the winter program. Here the student can help plan the meetings, lay the groundwork, prepare the advertising—and do the preaching. Months were spent in class making these preparations for the Northside effort. Class is a great deal more interesting when the discussion is changed from, "What subjects should be included in an evangelistic effort?" to, "What subjects shall we include in this effort?" From, "How much money should meetings cost?" to, "How much money will this meeting cost?"
Before meetings began, the whole series had been planned, sermons preached and reworked in class. By this time the men had been taught so much and experienced so little that they approached the first meeting with fear and trembling. But the Lord used them.
Confirmation of Soul-winning Success
One of the questions young men ask themselves repeatedly and worry over more than we realize is, "Can my preaching win souls—am I really a soul winner?" Practice preaching doesn't answer it. Neither does preaching on Sabbath morning answer completely. The loyal members make about the same comments to the young preacher at the door whether he did well or not. There is nothing like soul-winning success to confirm a young man's call to the ministry. He has felt called. He has been convicted of our message. But can God use him to convict others? This question hangs heavily over the heads of our ministerial students. What a thrill it is to these young men when they see the Holy Spirit working and non-Christians becoming Christians, non-Adventists becoming Adventists through their preaching. To them it is as though the heavens had suddenly opened.
As our meetings progressed, we noticed one particular middle-aged couple attending very regularly. A few days after one of the young men preached on the mark of the beast, this couple made their decision for baptism. You can imagine what it did for the embryo preacher to learn that through his sermon the Holy Spirit had placed a man under such conviction he hadn't slept all the following night. The couple have now been baptized.
Holding a series of meetings with a group of young ministerial students always worries one a bit. Soul-winning attempts can teach them either of two things—that they can win souls or that they cannot win souls. Young men go into an evangelistic campaign with such high hopes and grand expectations! An effort that fizzles out is such a blow to their self-confidence that it can leave them a little bitter toward evangelism. A success, on the other hand, whets their appetites for more.
The enclosed photograph pictures our evangelism class along with the nine new members resulting from their Northside effort. These boys have proof positive that by the grace of God they can win souls.
Please pray for our colleges as we endeavor to fire our young men with a zeal for winning souls.