THE thrill of twentieth-century soul winning is unsurpassed. Truly to fulfill the gospel commission today constitutes a marvelous opportunity. How good it is to see hearts transformed as men and women come to a full knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Faith for Today evangelism is to be gauged by far more than the 16,000 baptisms that have taken place as a result of the telecast's impact in the past twenty years. It is more than the measure of evangelistic meetings that have seen more than one hundred persons baptized in one service. It lies, rather, in reaching individual hearts with the glad news of the coming of Jesus, for the redemptive power of the gospel is individual rather than collective. Christ came to save you, He came to save me, and not simply an unidentifiable mass. Truly there will be a great host saved, but that host will be composed of individual men and women who have discovered Christ as a personal Saviour.
As a result of the Manchester, New Hampshire, evangelistic series, eight Roman Catholics took their stand for Christ. One of them has led her two sisters to accept the three angels' messages. A sister-in-law is now receiving studies.
Two Roman Catholic priests visited the Manchester, New Hampshire, series. They carefully examined slides, black light, and other visual aids. Before they were finished, they secured the address of the Review and Herald, expressing the thought they would like to have similar materials! There is no evidence they have been or will be converted, but they have heard what the Bible teaches about the Sabbath and what history reveals about the attempt to change the Sabbath from the seventh to the first day of the week.
In San Diego, a city judge attended all the evangelistic meetings conducted by Pastor Fagal, and made his decision for baptism.
In up-State New York the manager of a supermarket employing twelve persons at tended Faith for Today meetings and took his stand for Christ. Laymen had studied with him prior to the series; he made his decision while the meetings were in progress. It took several months to dispose of his business and get everything in order, but he has been baptized and rejoices over his stand for Christ.
In Ottawa, Canada, a Roman Catholic nun attended the evangelistic series dealing with the 2300 days and the 1844 period. She commented as she left: "I have always been interested in what Seventh-day Adventists believe about the judgment." No one has heard from her since, but seeds of truth have been planted that may bear fruit later.
Also, in the Ottawa campaign a young man of college age, coming from one of the finest homes in the city, accepted the Advent message. His parents and others in the family opposed him, but he was baptized into Jesus Christ as a result of taking a Bible course and attending the series.
During the Staten Island series a number of Roman Catholics attended almost every meeting. One of them explained: "I've always been interested in finding out Bible truth. Now I feel I have discovered it."
In Binghamton, New York, two former church members, husband and wife, for many years had been members and then had become embittered. They were rebaptized during the evangelistic series con ducted by Pastor E. E. Duncan.
Below is a roll call report of Faith for Today evangelistic meetings, with attendance the opening night and the number baptized in each series.
|Series||Opening Night Attendance||Baptisms|
|Manchester, New Hampshire||375||35|
|San Diego, California||1650||127|
|Los Angeles, California||2350||115|
|Swift Current, Sask., Canada||150||17|
|Halifax, Nova Scotia||490||21|
|Albany, New York||350||43|
|Staten Island, New York||800||46|
|Binghamton, New York||250||21|
A unique advertising program utilized by Faith for Today staff members has brought excellent turn-outs to every evangelistic series conducted by the telecast to date. This includes an announcement at the end of Faith for Today programs, use of a book offer on the telecasts, and the mailing out of handbills and invitation cards, et cetera.
Other modes of advertising have included bus placards, newspaper displays, and window placards.
A heavy evangelistic schedule is slated for months to come. In the spring Pastor Gordon Dalrymple is scheduled, for a major evangelistic thrust in Charleston, West Virginia, where he is to cooperate with Estel Richardson, church pastor; Lyndon DeWitt, Ministerial Association secretary; and Richard Fearing, conference president. A precampaign rally in Charleston brought an outstanding response from church members who pledged more than $800 for the meetings.
Pastor Everett Duncan is scheduled to conduct a spring campaign in Ventura, California.
In summer months Dalrymple will con duct a field school for Andrews University Seminary the last part of July and into the early weeks of August in White Plains, New York. Over-all coordinator for the project will be L. L. Reile, president of the Greater New York Conference. Roy Thurmon will handle campaign details and direct teaching of the field school. Associated with the White Plains church in the evangelistic endeavor are to be surrounding churches of the area. With a strong visiting team and solid conference support, prospects point to a good harvest of souls.
Planning the Series
Faith for Today evangelistic meetings develop in this way. First of all comes the telecast, sowing' seeds of truth and interesting viewers in the everlasting gospel. This is followed by the Bible course. When there has been at least a year, or perhaps even more time, for viewers to become acquainted with the program and the truths it advocates, planning for a decision series begins.
Contact is made with Faith for Today by the conference president or Ministerial Association secretary. In turn, the requests are brought to the Faith for Today board and formally approved.
Then comes detailed planning. This ranges all the way from a complete advertising program to a precampaign rally in which the help of every church member is solicited for the evangelistic series. Careful attention to details pays dividends when harvesting time comes.
Visiting during the series is constant. The entire team, including the speaker, visits the people in their homes. Former Adventists, Bible school students, telecast viewers all of these are contacted about giving their hearts to Christ.
Planned for Trenton, New Jersey, in the fall is another major Faith for Today campaign to be conducted by Dalrymple. In most of the Faith for Today campaigns every household in the community as well as outlying areas receives a handbill. With it is an invitation card that has the appearance of a special engraved invitation, five tickets, and a request card seeking the return of the tickets if the person or the family cannot be present the opening night. Upwards of 1,500 responses from people who could not come the opening evening have been sent to the chairman of the committee on arrangements.
Where the visiting team is large enough, these people have then been contacted after the series has gotten under way. They are invited to come to the meetings later.
Precampaign rallies have been vitally important in the evangelistic program. At these rallies two Faith for Today films are shown, special music, including academy choirs and the national Adventist choir, has been featured, and messages dealing with current events and the fulfillment of Bible prophecy have been presented. Members have been invited to help financially and fill in assistance blanks in which they may check their willingness to help in any way. Almost every member participates in the campaign in some way.
Also distributed to church members have been interest information sheets on which they are to list names and addresses of relatives, friends, and Bible study interests they think should receive a special invitation to the meetings.
Before any Faith for Today series begins, a complete listing of Faith for Today interest names is obtained and sent to the pastors. Also solicited are Voice of Prophecy listings of names, and Signs of the Times and These Times circulation lists for the area. Where The Quiet Hour is aired, its interest names are also secured.
Therefore, no Faith for Today campaign begins without hundreds of interest names in hand. These pay dividends as the staff contacts every home in the territory. Coordinator of Faith for Today evangelism is Everett Duncan. Working closely with him is Gordon Dalrymple, who has conducted eight field campaigns to date for the telecast.
The number baptized thus far in Faith for Today evangelistic series is more than 750.
Calls have now come from every part of North America for Faith for Today evangelistic meetings. Indeed, the staff is in adequate to meet the requests that have reached telecast offices.
What is being done is a sharing of ideas with the field. Faith for Today's Advertising methods have been picked up by entire conferences. Pastors and evangelists have found them uniquely effective in interesting men and women to attend and later take their stand for Christ.
Frequently a local pastor or conference evangelist will conduct a Faith for Today evangelistic campaign, capitalizing on the Faith for Today name. All of this builds up the work in the local field and strength ens the telecast. It constitutes a bond be tween the field and Faith for Today.
Should you seek further information about Faith for Today decision meetings and advertising, feel free to contact telecast offices. Evangelistic methods and ideas are freely shared.
Jesus, centuries ago, explained that the harvest was great and the laborers few. To have a part today in leading men and women to accept the Lord Jesus Christ as a personal Saviour is a great privilege. Hand in hand with the unfolding of current events, hand in hand with the rapidly and dramatically fulfilling signs of the times, hand in hand with the resurgence of interest in spiritual things, comes a proclamation of the everlasting gospel from the public pulpit. May God bless as every worker unites with his fellows, hand and heart, to complete the giving of the gospel.