WE MUST take every justifiable means of bringing the light before the people. Let the press be utilized, and let every advertising agency be employed that will call attention to the work. This should not be regarded as nonessential."—Evangelism, p. 130.
We preach to only a minimal audience in our most successful evangelistic campaigns. Many more people read our advertising than attend our meetings. What impression does our advertising make upon the public? What message is proclaimed through our advertising?
"The character and importance of our work are judged by the efforts made to bring it before the public."—Ibid., p. 128. Our advertising must proclaim a positive message. "God Is Not Dead!" "Jesus Will Come in Our Day!" "The Seventh Day Is the Sabbath of the Lord Our God!"
Reaching More People
Newspaper advertising may not be very effective in bringing out large numbers of people to our meetings, but it is effective in reaching the masses with our message. And we must begin making greater use of the mass media if we are to fulfill the gospel commission.
At a recent evangelistic council some evangelists revealed that they had ceased using newspaper ads because they considered such advertising a waste of money. What we desperately need to do is reexamine our newspaper advertising. If it is designed merely to draw people out to an evangelistic meeting, then perhaps it is ineffective. But if it is designed to proclaim a message of hope to a dying world, then who can measure its worth?
I always budget $100 for newspaper advertising in every effort. I feel that I'll reach more people with a few newspaper ads than I'll ever touch with my public presentations from the pulpit. For every person who attends the lecture a hundred will read the ad.
So writing newspaper advertising takes on real significance in my evangelistic outlook. Every ad must become an effective agent for placing before the world the teachings and beliefs of Seventh-day Adventists.
A Positive Message
An ad should state concisely and clearly one cardinal doctrine of the church. Here is one example: "Seventh-day Adventists believe deeply in the personal, visible return of Jesus Christ in our day. This 'blessed hope' has inspired a missionary program around the world. Hear Reuben A. Hubbard, lecturer, author, educator, artist, discuss 'Spotlight of Prophecy—What Is Coming?' Saturday night at 7:20 at the Seventh-day Adventist church. Forty-nine signs of Christ's soon return."
The above ad states our belief positively, simply, and completely, yet it still appeals to the individual to attend the lecture and hear more. I include the following sentence in my ads also: "For a free copy of this lecture write, P.O. Box --------------- ., (City)." Nearly every ad brings one or two requests from people who never attend a single meeting.
The need to secure free newspaper space, and I generally manage to get my share. But I think we also should use paid newspaper ads to reach more people with the message of a crucified, risen, and soon-coming Saviour.