Just Doing It For Jesus

YOUNG Seminarian Bill Wright and the elderly lady Bible worker had a list of five hundred persons to visit. Their only transportation was on foot, and the rolling hills of Montego Bay, Jamaica, made every step an effort. In each home they visited they talked of the previous night's meeting. Frequently the people would reply to their questions regarding the best part of the program with, "The sermons, the sermons." And as the two workers left, the seminarian would often overhear the Bible instructor softly say, "Just doing it for Jesus. I'm just doing it for Jesus."

-a senior journalism student at Andrews University at the time this article was written

YOUNG Seminarian Bill Wright and the elderly lady Bible worker had a list of five hundred persons to visit. Their only transportation was on foot, and the rolling hills of Montego Bay, Jamaica, made every step an effort. In each home they visited they talked of the previous night's meeting. Frequently the people would reply to their questions regarding the best part of the program with, "The sermons, the sermons." And as the two workers left, the seminarian would often overhear the Bible instructor softly say, "Just doing it for Jesus. I'm just doing it for Jesus."

This past summer the twelfth annual program of field evangelism brought to more than six thousand the total number of persons baptized into the Seventh-day Adventist Church through direct efforts of summer Field Schools coordinated by the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary.

E. C. Banks, professor of evangelism and field work, initiated the summer program to ensure that every Master of Divinity candidate would have opportunity to get practical experience in public evangelism. Many seminarians, profiting from their first summer of evangelism, have enrolled the following year in Field Schools concerned with public health, ghetto ministry, or social work. During Evangelism Week at the Seminary (October 25-27, 1972), reports were given by students from each of the field schools. The experiences were as varied as the localities.

The ten seminarians who worked in Glasgow were confronted with what has been termed "the least typical Scottish city." Yet, with hundreds leaving the state church annually, there exists a need to get the gospel to these questioning persons.

Some of the major high lights of the seminarians' stay in Glasgow were to see their landlady baptized; to witness an 84-year-old man quit smoking after seventy-two years; to observe the power of the Holy Spirit as it impelled a passer-by to come into the meetings; and to overhear a woman remark to her husband before they together took their stand for Christ that the book they had been studying previously was of the devil.

Many of the meetings were held in tents, and the effort in Los Angeles became a political football between local politicians wanting and others not wanting the tent to be pitched in their district. The legal ties centered on the lot's not being paved. But when City officials recognized the need for the medical work planned for the community they agreed to let the tent go up.

In Washington, D.C., the approach was one of urban ministry. The goal was not so much to present the gospel in sermon as it was to meet the immediate needs of the people. Oftentimes, this meant counseling on abortion, drug rehabilitation referral, and basic health instructions. More often than not the seven students were concerned with helping a patient do as little harm as possible to himself until he could better handle his own problems.

This idea of reaching people where they are was also an integral part of the Detroit meetings. A mobile dentalmedical clinic was sponsored by the Southwest Region Conference and the Southwestern Union. Because the unit was stationed in Black Panther territory, approval of the party was necessary for smooth operation.

Five-Day Stop-Smoking clinics were conducted, and food and clothing were distributed. Detroiters saw the gospel preached from the pulpit and lived on the streets.

In all, 120 seminarians participated in last summer's program. Of the fourteen schools conducted, two were experimental. Pastor Gerald Hardy headed a group in New Testament witnessing in Portland, Oregon; and Pastor Dale Hannah led a coffee-house evangelistic approach in Washington, D.C.

Two schools were held in the British Isles, with Evangelist Don D. Doleman and Pastor J. M. Cuthell in Ply mouth, England; and Evangelist Dale Brusett and Pastor D. McClure in Glasgow, Scotland.

Baptisms reached the three hundred mark in two schools the Detroit meetings under Pastor E. E. Cleve land, and the Montego Bay effort under Pastor C. D. Brooks.

One school was conducted in Spanish by Evangelist Eleiezer Benavides, with meetings in Berrien Springs and Grand Rapids, Michigan.

The other Field Schools stretched from Vancouver, British Columbia, with Evangelists George Knowles and Verne Snow and Pastor A. M. Spenst in charge, to Los Angeles, California, where Pastor Eric C. Ward directed. In the Midwest at Longmont, Colorado, were Evangelist John Fowler and Pastor Ken Taylor; and in Des Moines, Iowa, were Evangelist Halle Crowson and Pastor Robert Wood.

On the East Coast were Evangelist Fordyce Detamore and Pastor Don Orsburn in Albany, New York; Evangelist Ron Halvorsen and Pastor W. R. Bernstein in New York City; and Evangelist George Knowles and Pastor A. J. Mustard in Saint John, New Brunswick.

The effects of the summer schools of field evangelism are far reaching, and the seminarians' return to campus is not a sign of a slowdown in public evangelism. Their work alongside that of experienced workers is in essence the beginning of a rightly trained "army of youth" to make the Second Advent a reality in our day.


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-a senior journalism student at Andrews University at the time this article was written

May 1973

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