UNIQUE among the twelve Field Schools of Evangelism sponsored by Andrews Theological Seminary last summer was the one conducted by Harmon Brownlow, coordinator of evangelism for the South eastern California Conference. From June 14 to July 12, thirteen Seminary students received instruction that they were able to apply immediately.
During the first two weeks the students assisted Elder Brownlow in his pilot crusade held in the Arlington, California, Seventh-day Adventist church. The mornings were spent in classroom lectures on methods and techniques of evangelism. The remainder of the day afforded the students opportunity to put theory into practice as they visited interested people and assisted Elder Brownlow in his nightly meetings.
The second two weeks was the unique feature of this particular Field School in that the students conducted their own meetings in four Southeastern California Conference churches patterned after the pilot crusade. They used similar program for mats and the same gift-Bible and Bible-marking plans.
Each team was composed of a speaker, a program and visitation coordinator, and a song leader. Several Seminary students' wives assisted with special music and served as hostesses. One team was made up of one black and two white students working in an integrated crusade supported by a white and a black church. The speakers, one white and one black, spoke on alternate nights.
The climax of the Field School took place on the final Sabbath, when the students met with Elder Brownlow to present their reports. In addition to the 40 baptisms from his campaign, the students re ported 30 baptisms of their own, making a grand total of 70. As of this writing, the total has increased to 80 baptisms. Enthusiasm for evangelism ran high as the students related the victories that God had accomplished in individual lives. Without exception, the students felt that bringing people to Christ was the most thrilling experience they had ever had. One person stated that his experience of bringing three persons to Christ was a confirmation that God had called him into the ministry.
That the students' enthusiasm was more than temporary has been repeatedly demonstrated by the activities of these men once back at Andrews University. Two students were so eager to return to evangelism that they volunteered their services for an evangelistic meeting in Virginia, where seven were baptized. Between school terms two other students conducted a series of meetings in Provo, Utah, where nine were baptized. Several other students have assisted in campaigns in Michigan, and as this article is written students are beginning meetings in Chicago Heights, Illinois, and Decatur, Michigan.
In conjunction with the above-mentioned meetings the students train the interested local laymen in Christian witnessing as they were trained by Elder Brownlow. At a recent meeting where I presented some soul-winning experiences a layman asked me: "What's gotten into you Seminary fellows? Why are you so excited about evangelism?" The answer, of course, is that we have had the thrilling experience of leading men and women to Christ. But the answer goes deeper. We have been trained in a method of One to One evangelism that as we work together with the Holy Spirit, is certain to get results. It is a method that so excites me that it has motivated me to write this article. And the method is simple, for I took a young man out with me once where a woman accepted Christ, and he brought another woman to Christ the next week using the same technique. Today both of these women are baptized members of the Adventist Church.
The method, known as Steps to Eternal Life, is primarily for One to One visitation in a home. However, it has been used on entire families with excellent results. It was developed by Elder Brownlow, though he does not claim originality except for the leading question, which I believe is the key to the method.
The Plan Illustrated
Perhaps an experience will illustrate the method best. I visited a woman who had been attending our meetings and discovered that she was well informed about Adventists. She had taken several Bible correspondence courses and had attended two evangelistic series. I proceeded to ask her whether she believed the Sabbath, the mortality of the soul, and the church standards as believed and practiced by Seventh-day Adventists. To each question posed she answered affirmatively. Then I asked her the leading question: "That's wonderful, Mrs. X, but in all of your Bible study have you received the assurance that if you should die now you would have eternal life? In other words, do you know that if you died today, you would have eternal life?" She looked at me sadly and replied: "No. I've never accepted Christ."
It was my privilege to lead this woman through. the "4 Steps" booklet developed by Elder Brownlow:
1. God loves you.
2. Man is sinful.
3. God's only provision is Christ.
4. Receive Christ.
Mrs. X accepted Christ and three days later gave up smoking completely on her own, a problem that none of us knew that she had. Today she is a happy, baptized member of the remnant church.
I believe that it is this method that has excited me most about evangelism. It is a method that can be used on hospital calls, in following up Bible correspondence interests, and in regular pastoral visitations even in members' homes. For those not having access to the "4 Steps" booklet, the "Five Spiritual Facts" produced by our own Collegiate Action for Christ can be used.
The method has excited me because it is Christ-centered. Take, for example, the experience of Mrs. X. Here was a woman who had come to the Sabbath, the mortality of the soul, and a score of other orthodox Adventist doctrines, but had never accepted Christ. This story is not meant to indict our Bible courses or public meetings, for it is well known that thousands have found Christ through these avenues. Undoubtedly this woman would have been unable to accept Christ without this background. The story does, however, point out a judgment that hangs over our heads—the possibility of bringing people to doctrines that appear cold and irrelevant because they lack the content of the living Lord.
The argument could be used that it is not enough merely to bring people to Christ, and I would readily agree. We were careful to point out that once an individual accepts Christ he will be different. He must have a personal relationship with Christ that a framework of doctrines can help to give him. We pointed out that when doctrines are properly understood they become meaningful, for they contain a deeper understanding of Christ.
Often the individual accepting Christ in the privacy of his home had little idea of the full implications of his decision. We tried to point out to him that now that he had accepted Christ he would probably want to demonstrate in a public way that he had accepted Christ privately, for Christ has promised to confess before His Father those who confess Him (Christ) before men. In this context it was no problem to get these individuals out to a specific meeting where they promised to publically take their stand for Christ. It was a source of encouragement to the evangelist to know that sitting in the audience were six or eight individuals who would respond to his call. Of course, their example often encouraged others who had not taken their stand for Christ previously. We found that once these people begin coming to the meetings they do not usually miss a night. It then becomes only a matter of time before they are ready for baptism, for once they have accepted Christ, points such as the Sabbath, tithing, and church standards are no problem, for obedience to the doctrines becomes the natural expression of the decisions already made.