TIME is the chrysalis of eternity," said Richler. The Lord wants our precious time; not our spare time. Of all the talents we possess, time is the most valuable—time that should count for souls won to Christ.
One of the most urgent tasks in pastoral-evangelistic work is visitation, both of church members and interested people. Ministers should spend their time in the right homes at the right time to reach souls who are at the point of decision. The Rolodex Visible Visitation File system can be used effectively by a minister in planning for visiting the right interests at the optimum time. His time is not wasted in locating top names, assessing their interest, analyzing past visits made. This file system has one card filed by location, so in any given area he has at his command all of the interest names and church member names in that area. At a glance he can see the degree of interest of any name in his file, since each card is clipped with a color-coded metal signal.
In order to make the best use of time in visiting, the Indiana Conference ministerial department has prepared the following Rolodex Visible Visitation File system.
First we will define three terms that become the backbone of the file system: (1) file secretary, (2) master file, (3) location file.
In order to process each name that is turned in for visitation and follow-up and to keep the files up to date, a file secretary is chosen. This person can be invaluable in organizing and recording data for the pastor-evangelist in his visitation program.
The master file is an alphabetical listing on Rolodex 3 by 5 cards (white) of all names coming into the church office. The location file contains a duplicate Rolodex card (green), filed by location for visitation. This card is taken out of the office for visitation.
White Rolodex cards are used for the master file, green Rolodex cards (the duplicate) are used for the visitation file, and a third card in yellow has been prepared especially for members of the church. These cards are also made out in duplicate (both yellow) and filed in each of the two files, master and location. Sample cards appear below (See pdf)
A sixty-division set of plastic Rolodex alphabet guides is used for the master file so the cards can be readily located when needed. For the location file, the blank insertible plastic Rolodex guides are used for the names of the section numbers in a city, rural route numbers, or small towns within a district.
The color-coded metal signals used are the Graffco Nu Vise Signals, which can be obtained at any good office-supply store. In the center space of each card a signal is placed to show the degree of interest of each name. (Example below.) The colors are chosen for degree of interest as follows:
An "inactive" name would be one who had died, moved out of town, or is otherwise not available. These names are kept in the master file for a period of time only to check against in case the same name would be turned in at a later time.
On the left-hand position of the card, any local missionary endeavor can be clipped with a color you choose, such as using a white signal for those taking Gift Bible Evangelism, Bible studies in the home, attending Vacation Bible School, et cetera.
On the right-hand position of the card, a yellow signal is placed on the cards of those attending a current series of evangelistic meetings. These are yellow because they are top interests and need to be seen easily. Also in this same position on the card, the yellow member cards should be clipped with a white signal so they can be easily identified.
Sources of Names
The source of names to be obtained for the file are many and varied. Parishioners hand in many names of friends, relatives, and neighbors they want visited. Before a series of evangelistic meetings the Bible schools will send the names of their students. Our leading missionary periodicals will send their subscribers' lists. Clerks' records can be a gold mine of former Adventist names. These are always top interests who can be won back by persistent, loving care. Adventist doctors have names of those who would benefit from visits, and before meetings will often send out a personal letter of invitation to their list of patients. The literature evangelists can supply a list of top interests they have found. The Gift Bible names are excellent contacts. The church guest book can provide names to be visited. Ingathering contacts should also be kept in the file for visits. Once this gathering of names begins, there is no limit to the number you can obtain in your own area, and with visitation these people can become souls saved in the kingdom of God.
We have found in our conference that the Rolodex Visible Visitation File has saved much valuable time and given many promising contacts. Also when one pastor leaves a district a new man coming in can begin immediately to continue the visitation of these names, since he does not have to build up a list. Thus valuable time is saved. With this file system in operation there is no need to wait for a period of time for baptisms after a new man moves into a district. Top names are not lost and forgotten.
In summation let us quickly go through the procedure of what the file secretary does with each name handed her. First the name will be checked against the master file to see if the name has already been turned in by another person. If it has not, she will make out two cards, white and green, recording duplicate information on each card about this person. The address will be found on a large district map, and the section number placed on each of the cards at the top in the space provided for "Map No." The white card will be placed in the master file and the green card will be placed in the location file. After the initial visit to this person, a colored signal will be placed in the center position of both the white and green cards according to the degree of interest. These names should be visited as often as necessary for their particular needs. In time these people may decide to become new members of your church.
The completed task will not be accomplished by inept methods. We can carry the gospel to the lost world quickly if we will but use our time to its fullest advantage. It is not enough to continue as we have in the past. Every available moment must tell most effectively for the winning of souls. In this age of speed and proficiency our time must be judiciously employed, for as Macduff states, "Not to enjoy life, but to employ life, ought to be our aim and inspiration."