Ford V-8 Evangelism

We must constantly be improving our methods of communication.

ALBERT S. WHITING. M.D., Islaka Hospital, Uganda, East Africa

Some years ago when in college I read an article in THE MINISTRY entitled, "Model T Evangelism." Its message, which I never forgot, was a plea to bring our evangelistic endeavors up to date. I am neither an evangelist nor a minister, but I think we could all benefit from the resounding of that trumpet from time to time. Perhaps the title needs to be changed as I have done; and if the Lord does not come soon, perhaps we will see the title, "Jet Evangelism." The increase in knowledge has not excluded the science of communi­cation. We must constantly be improving our methods of communicating the truth for these last days to the world. Improve­ments we all need, but some must experi­ment and dare to use untried methods. However, in this age of space travel why do we still drive Ford V-8's in evangelism?

There are thousands of people in the developing countries who have not yet heard the truth for these last days. Some of these countries do not have television, the movie theater, and the high pressure ad­vertising that plagues the modern world. It is in these countries that the tried and proved evangelistic methods that we have used for years can be tremendously effec­tive. We do not necessarily need to develop new methods. We do not need "rocket evangelism," or even "jet evangelism." We need only to use V-8 evangelism—the methods that have worked for years in the Western World. But what do we sometimes see in our mission programs? Horse-and­buggy evangelism. I say this with all kind­ness to my ministerial brethren, for there are reasons and problems, but my plea is to let us begin to raise the standard and reap better results.

I attended camp meetings in Tanzania and had the pleasure of going on safari with the union publishing secretary, R. H. Henning. He was using a little V-8 evan­gelism in a most effective manner. For eve­ning meetings he would use a slide projec­tor placed on the back of his compact model station wagon, using the car battery and converter for his power supply. He used a piece of translucent paper for a screen, which allowed him to place the screen between the projector and the peo­ple for maximum viewing by all the peo­ple. (He reversed the slide in the projector so that the image would be correctly viewed from the other side of the screen.) He used a tape recorder to accompany the filmstrip, and thus the people heard the message without a translator, including the King's Heralds, singing in the Swahili lan­guage. The people came hours in advance to wait for the pictures. This was the first such experience for many, and the re­sponse was most gratifying.

In Rwanda, G. L. Goodwin has taken the Twentieth Century Bible filmstrips out in the hills with a battery operated projector. His particular filmstrips have had many years of use and are scratched, faded, and contain photos ill-suited for an African audience. But the people thought it was wonderful and showed up regularly three nights a week for three weeks. The results—eighty converts. Similar efforts previously without the filmstrips had re­sulted in only a handful of converts. Arthur Hands, of the Gitwe Seminary, used pictures in an effort in one city. He took an old set of filmstrips and cut them up and made individual slides, thus adapting them more readily to his audience. Several hundred baptisms have resulted from his effort.

M. J. Church, of the Central African Union, has used his imagination in the ra­dio ministry of the Voice of Prophecy. His correspondence school offers language study as well as Bible study. At present he is preparing a health series. He has had a very good' response, and enrollment in the Bible course has increased.

These are only a few examples. My mes­sage is simple. By employing methods al­ready proved, we can have excellent re­sults, increased interest, and more people hearing the message. While these countries are still developing their communication skills and facilities, we need to be on the ground floor. We now have an opportu­nity, using simple methods at a low cost. It will not be long until the Ford V-8 will be outdated also; and the cost of evan­gelism will increase if the same interest is to be maintained among the people.

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ALBERT S. WHITING. M.D., Islaka Hospital, Uganda, East Africa

December 1967

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