THE spring phase of MISSION '72 is over. The results have been most encouraging. The North Pacific Union states that by the end of June as many or more will have been baptized as were baptized in any previous full year. . .

-Secretary, Ministerial Association, General Conference

THE spring phase of MISSION '72 is over. The results have been most encouraging. The North Pacific Union states that by the end of June as many or more will have been baptized as were baptized in any previous full year. This is the result of the combined, coordinated efforts of MISSION '72. The average results of MISSION '72 meetings in the Southern Union are twelve souls for each campaign, making a total as of April 30 of just eight short of 2,000 who have been baptized. Hundreds of others will be baptized in May and June.

From churches all over the North American Division we are getting inspiring reports. Some meetings, of course, have been more productive than others, but the combined results are outstanding. From Inter-America the word is even more encouraging, with double the number baptized in the first quarter than for a comparable period in any previous quarter. From Australia comes news of a marvelous beginning and a promise of great results. Similar reports are reaching us from other divisions where MISSION '72 has been launched.

A very important point to remember is that the spring offensive in early 1972 was only the beginning of a year-long effort to revive the church and to save lost souls. This is to be followed by MISSION '73 on a worldwide scale.

The church is really experiencing a renewed understanding of its unique mission and message for the world. Ministers and church members are arising to finish the task. They are becoming increasingly aware that we are in a race with time and that we do not have much time left. Revival and reformation are more than a slogan. With many they have become an experience. All must share in this if we are to fulfill our assignment in this world.

What We Learned

We have learned a great deal from the initial phase of MISSION '72. We have learned something about what to do as well as what not to do. We have discovered what is effective as well as what is not. We should like to summarize what we have learned from the many first-line reports that have reached us, as well as from the answers to our questionnaire that have been sent in by about 450 of our pastors and other ministers. This will be helpful to us in planning for the rest of this year and also for MISSION '73.

1. We have learned that there is tremendous value in the whole church in any division uniting in a coordinated way in all-out evangelism. The people must be reached with this last message of mercy. It is our duty to preach it in every community.

2. The success of MISSION '72 comes about not as the result of a few great evangelists doing a great job but of thou sands of our ministers and laymen carrying forward evangelistic campaigns, making possible great results.

3. We have learned that where the program of enlistment was faithfully fol lowed, the results of lay involvement were many times larger than from the usual way of soliciting lay participation. We have also learned that an in-service, on-the-job training program for our church members is vital to the success of our over-all mission. Such a program is now in the final stages of preparation and is about ready for release and use in the field.

4. We have learned that all of our advertising materials were of value. Some more than others. But we have reinforced the fact that the most effective way of all is the personal invitation extended to family, friends, and neighbors by our church members. The more friends our people have, the more cordial their relationships, the greater the attendance of non-Adventists at the meetings.

5. The children's programs were very effective when they were followed ac cording to the plans that were outlined. The attendance of parents and other adults was directly related to the point system that was developed. Where this was not followed the adult attendance was not materially affected. Where it was followed the attendance of adults increased and was more regular.

6. The Reach Out for Life theme was very appealing to many people, and it was the general opinion of our ministers that we should continue to use it.

7. The Reach Out for Life leaflets were an outstanding success. The number of interests developed from them was greater than any other series of tracts previously used. This, again, is the consensus of the ministers who have replied to our questionnaire. It was suggested, however, that four or five would be better than eight or nine. This is so because we can get faithful involvement of our church members for this shorter period of time, whereas it is much more difficult to get them to go to the same places over a period of eight or nine weeks.

8. We have learned that the promotion of lay involvement has been a turning point in our work in many churches and fields. Our church members in the vast majority of places are ready and eager to respond and to become participators rather than mere spectators. They are concerned about saving souls and finishing God's work. They want MISSION '72 to be followed by MISSION '73. The attendance of our own people at the Reach Out for Life meetings in most places was unusually good.

9. We have learned that the general opinion is that some TV specials, along with radio specials, would be a more productive way to prepare the public for participation in the Reach Out for Life meetings than nationwide magazine advertising.

10. We have learned that the idea of a toll-free line accompanying such advertising should be continued on a year-round basis. There is a strong feeling that there should be an open line to a Seventh-day Adventist information center that could be made available to all who read our magazines, purchase our books, and listen to and watch our radio and TV programs.

11. We have learned that using the same kind of handbills all over the division is very desirable. However, it is suggested that we make available something comparable to the two different kinds used in MISSION '72 for the MISSION '73 program with space left open on the front for imprinting the name of the speaker and dates and on the back for imprinting meeting titles and dates.

12. We have learned that the sermon summaries were very effective and it was hoped that these would be continued at a low-cost figure. It was also hoped that the printing could be larger and thus more easily read.

13. Many have suggested that in the fall a pulpit-exchange program be fol lowed in our churches. This would give a new voice to a fall series of meetings. In the spring the pastor could again hold the meetings himself, or again exchange pulpits with other ministers in the area.

14. The need for thorough preparation of the church and the community was especially emphasized. It is important that this begin in every place not less than six months before the opening meeting. The countdown program in the blue Planning Guide is very helpful in this area.

15. It is also emphasized that we not judge MISSION '72 only by the number of people baptized by the end of May but by the renewed interest of our people in soul winning and the large list of interested people who may, with proper follow-up, yet be baptized and become church members. The immediate results are most inspiring, but there will be long-range results that will continue to bear a harvest until Jesus comes.

16. Once again, the importance of a truly revived and reformed church has been emphasized. Where the members of the church are having a vital relation ship with Christ, and where their lives are in harmony with the counsels that God has given, the results have been correspondingly good. There seems to be a definite pattern established indicating the relationship between the spiritual condition of the church and its members, and the results of our evangelism. This, of course, we have understood for a long time, but it has been greatly rein forced by our experience in MISSION '72.

17. We have discovered that a great many more of our preachers are able to proclaim this message with power and conviction and with good results than many had previously thought possible. We have seen that it is possible for all of our ministers (or nearly all) to "do the work of an evangelist."

18. We have learned that our need is not merely for a few specialists in evangelism, as valuable as they are, but, as the New Testament and the Spirit of Prophecy enjoins, that all of our workers become experienced and effective in the proclamation of the message and efficient in the methods of evangelism, and that every church be involved in it.

19. We have learned that the more meetings held by competent ministers and supported by faithful church members of all ages engaged in every phase of the work, the greater will be the final results.

20. We have been reminded that there is an urgent need to enter the unworked areas of our conferences and cities. There is much territory yet to conquer; we must get at it with deliberate speed.

21. The splendid results of a coordinated effort on the part of all points out the need for even closer coordination of the work of the departments and of all the organizations. The need for all to unite in a total team effort to save souls and to finish God's work stands out as the greatest single lesson that has emerged in MISSION '72. We must provide the tools and our workers will use them.

22. Christ is coming soon. Souls are going down to Christless graves. The churches of the world are failing their people. This presents us with the solemn obligation and glorious opportunity of doing our work faithfully and effectively thus gathering in the harvest that has been promised, and hastening the com ing of Christ. This, too, we have learned in MISSION '72.

23. We have learned that "the work of God in this earth can never be finished until the men and women comprising our church membership rally to the work, and unite their efforts with those of ministers and church officers." Gospel Workers, p. 352. And we have learned, "When we have entire, wholehearted consecration to the service of Christ, God will recognize the fact by an out pouring of His Spirit without measure; but this will not be while the largest portion of the church are not laborers together with Cod." --Christian Service, p. 253.

Having learned these important facts from our MISSION '72 experience, let this be our source of challenge and inspiration to set about in earnest to bring both of these valuable counsels out of the books and get them into the lives of the people in our churches. Let us arise and finish the work that God has given us to do.

Has MISSION '72 been effective? Testimony that comes to us from all over the world indicates that it has! In every field where MISSION '72 has been faith fully followed there is every indication that this will be the greatest soul-winning year in the history of our work. Thank God for all the ministers and church members who have united in this great endeavor. Let us dedicate our lives to the fulfillment of these objectives as we plan for MISSION '73 and as we seek to finish God's work quickly so that Jesus can come.

Ministry reserves the right to approve, disapprove, and delete comments at our discretion and will not be able to respond to inquiries about these comments. Please ensure that your words are respectful, courteous, and relevant.

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-Secretary, Ministerial Association, General Conference

September 1972

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