A News Commentary in Evangelism

Using assorted news media as a tool for evangelism.

REUBEN A. HUBBARD, Pastor-Evangelist, Idaho Conference

WE USE nearly every means in our evan­gelistic meetings to capture the inter­est of the people—moving black-light draw­ings, motion picture films, the question box, special musical features, awards for attend­ing, awards for bringing others, et cetera. But one of the most popular and beneficial features that I have discovered is a news commentary.

Our Tuesday evening meetings needed something special to attract a larger attend­ance (we hold meetings four nights a week —Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday, and Friday). So on Tuesday evenings I started a news commentary that runs the entire eight weeks of meetings. Since this innovation, Tuesday has now our second largest night attendance. The news commentary is pop­ular with Adventists and non-Adventists alike. One woman in central Oregon told me that she wouldn't miss Tuesday night's meeting for anything because of the news commentary.

This feature is not only attendance building but it has other benefits as well. The news commentary provides a wonder­ful opportunity to keep fulfilling Bible prophecies before the people. Rightly used, the prophecies "come alive." Through the news commentary the evan­gelist can keep the urgency of the message before the people. The fulfilling signs of Christ's imminent return are real, practi­cal, and motivating, and should stir up the interest of all.

Tobacco, Liquor, and Diet

The health message can be often empha­sized through news notes concerning to­bacco, liquor, and diet. The way is thus prepared through the news commentary for the more complete proclamation of health reform.

Religious Freedom

A consciousness of the dangers to our re­ligious freedoms can be generated through the news commentary, preparing the way for such subjects as the mark of the beast, the United States in Bible prophecy, et cetera. The fallen standards of the nominal churches can be presented in news notes that do not offend yet which effectively proclaim "Come out of her, my people." They also do much to add punch and confirmation to the presentation of the en­tire message.

Floods and Wars

I use some front page news items in my news commentaries. By showing the rela­tionships of publicized events—floods, storms, war developments, tragedies and criminal acts—to Bible prophecy, a third dimension is added to the news and inter­est is kindled and the listeners want to hear more of the message. Unpublicized items are valuable also. They create an atmosphere of expectation and give the people added confidence in the evangelist as one who has the inside track on the news.

As Adventist ministers we have a store­house of resources for a news commen­tary. There are news notes in the Review, MINISTRY, Youth's Instructor, Life and Health, and Liberty to say nothing of our specialized sources such as Listen News Service, Liberty News Letter, Church and State, the Arsenal (Pacific Press), On the Air (General Conference Public Relations Department) and others. All one has to do to make up a news commentary is to get together the scissors, glue, Bible, news sources, and a little imagination, and go to work.

Ten Minutes Only

The news commentary should not be too long. Ten minutes is about right. If it runs too long, interest will be killed; but a short enthusiastic commentary will spark interest. By using a Paul Harvey style, much can be included in a ten-minute commentary. The average news commen­tary can be put together in about twenty minutes if the materials have been gath­ered and marked during the week.

The news commentary need not be lim­ited to evangelistic meetings, but can pro­vide a useful and interesting feature for the prayer meeting service as well. And it is one feature that can be used over and over without losing its appeal.

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REUBEN A. HUBBARD, Pastor-Evangelist, Idaho Conference

September 1967

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