The Medford Story

THE Reach Out for Life campaign in Medford, Oregon, began in October, 1971, when Pastor Taylor Morris, associate pastor, began to use the prayer meeting service as a training class for lay Bible instructors. The next step of preparation was to organize the board of elders and deacons as parish pastors. After this was done the church membership was divided into parishes of ten families each. A lay pastor was assigned to each parish for visitation and pastoral care. . .

-Pastor, Medford, Oregon, Church, at the time this article was written

THE Reach Out for Life campaign in Medford, Oregon, began in October, 1971, when Pastor Taylor Morris, associate pastor, began to use the prayer meeting service as a training class for lay Bible instructors. The next step of preparation was to organize the board of elders and deacons as parish pastors. After this was done the church membership was divided into parishes of ten families each. A lay pastor was assigned to each parish for visitation and pastoral care.

During December the Ingathering campaign took precedence until we completed our most successful Ingathering campaign ever. Thousands of pieces of literature were distributed and thousands of dollars were gathered in for the Lord's work. Twenty-six requests for Bibles and lessons were received from the Ingathering contacts.

By January 15 the church had settled again to the task of preparing for MISSION '72. The members turned out in record numbers to distribute Oregon's saturation booklets.

Organization

As March 4 approached, lay chairmen of the various commit tees were assigned their responsibilities during the meetings. Mrs. Morris headed up the receptionists and organized them into an efficient and helpful group. They planned all the literature distribution and kept accurate records of attendance, lending much to the success of the meetings.

Eight or ten lay Bible instructors began meeting to receive assignments and instruction two weeks before March 4. An all-night prayer vigil was conducted by the elders on the eve of the meetings.

Opening night saw hundreds of faithful Adventists attending with many of their friends and Bible students. The attendance ranged from 175 to about six hundred on weekends. More than one hundred nonmembers attended at least one meeting.

Feeling led by the Spirit of God, Pastor Morris invested long hours and several sleepless nights in preparing a new series of graphic lectures. As the meetings progressed the success of his investment be came apparent as the Holy Spirit worked to secure twenty-one decisions for baptism by the closing week.

The All-Day Bible Conference

Pastor Morris had for many months wanted to try a two-day Bible conference that he had developed during the General Conference Ministerial Institute at Atlantic City in 1969. During the last week of the meetings Pastor Morris, a devoted corps of lay Bible instructors, and I concentrated our visiting on those who had spotty attended only one or two meetings. Also, some Gift Bible interests who had not attended any of the Reach Out meetings were invited with the others to attend a two-day Bible conference to be held April 1 and 2 in the Medford Seventh-day Adventist church.

Besides Mrs. Morris' efficiency as an evangelist's helper, she is an expert Adventist cook. She planned and catered the four meals that were provided for the forty-five-plus persons who attended the first two-day Bible conference.

For two entire days Pastor Morris and I conducted alternate Bible classes covering again the doctrines of the remnant church. This classwork extended the regular Reach Out for Life campaign for one night, on Sunday, April 2. When the call was made that night, nine more decisions for baptism were obtained from those who attended the Bible conference but had attended only one, two, or three meetings before. One Catholic couple had not attended any of the evening meetings and had completed only part of the Gift Bible lessons, but they took their stand to go all the way with Jesus. They were among the thirty who made up the first baptism on the next Sabbath.

They Burned the Ouija Board

One family had been practicing with the ouija board, and on learning the truth about spiritism they asked what to do with it. They were advised to follow the example of the converts at Ephesus as recorded in the nineteenth chapter of Acts. They went home and burned the ouija board. Almost immediately Satan began a vicious attack on them. A freak windstorm destroyed the roof over their large rabbit hutch. Expensive tires blew out on their Lincoln, and their cars would not start when they tried to come to the Bible classes that were conducted for five nights after the meetings. The woman of the family was still smoking, but seeing the ire of Satan, she said, "He is not going to treat us like that and keep me enslaved to tobacco." With that she threw away her cigarettes and gained complete victory over the habit.

The little daughter of another family who were attending fell from their moving automobile on their way to the Bible class. The small child was spared with only cuts and bruises, and the young couple are praising God for His loving care. They remained loyal to their decision to go all the way with christ . Four more decisions for baptism were made at the close of the five days of Bible classes.

Follow-up Gains More Decisions

Like all evangelists, Pastor Morris was reluctant to let go of those who had shown an interest in the church. On May 6 and 7 he and I, with the help of other pastors in the Rogue Valley, conducted an other two-day Bible conference. By the time the five nights of Bible classes that followed were completed, six more decisions for baptism brought the total to 40. Praise the Lord!

MISSION '72 is already a tremendous success in the Medford Seventh-day Adventist church be cause the laymen rallied to the support of the ministers in con ducting the meetings. Beautiful music and singing enhanced the preaching of the Word each evening and the Bible conferences. A vigorous program of continuing evangelism is expected to bring many more precious souls into the kingdom of God.


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-Pastor, Medford, Oregon, Church, at the time this article was written

September 1972

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