Revelation Seminars

THE It Is Written telecast's Revelation Seminar has generated tremendous enthusiasm in the major centers where it has been held. But the question remains, Is the Seminar approach to evangelism the answer to soul winning in every church?

-director of public relations at It Is Written at the time this article was written

THE It Is Written telecast's Revelation Seminar has generated tremendous enthusiasm in the major centers where it has been held. But the question remains, Is the Seminar approach to evangelism the answer to soul winning in every church?

The Revelation Seminar is based on a day-long initial study session complete with printed study materials, question-and-answer periods, and a vegetarian luncheon. The study plan for the Seminars is to take basic tenets of Christian belief and outline the plan of salvation. By utilizing a chain Bible-marking pro gram in addition to basic lecture periods, the Seminars detail God's concern for a true body of believers.

The Bible is held as authority, and the Seminar participants, more than half of whom are nonchurch members, are asked to confine the questions within the framework of the Bible. During the vegetarian luncheon, and during breaks through the day, Seminar participants make Christian friends and discuss aspects of the program. Following the luncheon, a discussion of healthful living proposes vegetarianism, not as a Biblical doctrine, but as an alternative way of life.

Early statistics indicate that a full 50 per cent of the nonchurch members at tending the Seminars actively seek church membership following the series. Still, according to those who have observed closely, one must not consider the Seminar approach as a panacea for every church.

"One must assess each situation care fully," says George Vandeman, speaker of the It Is Written telecast. In the areas where the Revelation Seminars have been held they have been unquestionably successful as far as effectiveness, efficiency, and cost are concerned. Still, if the preparation is not complete or the church is already deficient in areas of leadership the Seminars could prove to be a phenomenal waste of time, money, and effort.

The Revelation Seminars are in many ways a pastor's dream. Instead of leaving the program exhausted and ready for the millennium in which to rest, pastors gain enthusiasm and find the Seminar exactly the push needed to activate groups of laymen in soul winning and witnessing. Many pastors are turning to this method of evangelism for exactly the same reasons that have caused them to shy away from other forms of soul winning in the past.

Seminars need to be planned so as not to interrupt the well-organized church program. The one-day initial Seminar may take key laymen from a single church service, and the follow-up weekly Seminars require one night a week of the pastor's time. But regulations permitting attendance of only those church members who bring a nonmember to the Seminar alleviate the problems of a mass exodus from planned church activities.

How to Finance the Seminar

The heavy cost of financing evangelism has been one of the chief concerns of many who hesitate to hold a full-scale series. In our Seminars we have circumvented this by requiring the participants to pay a major share of the costs. Each person attending the Seminars is required to pay a $12.50 fee, with youth 20 and under paying a reduced fee of $10.00.

While this fee does not cover the entire cost of the notebook, materials, rental of the hall, the vegetarian meal, and the Seminar Bible, it reduces the cost to the church to less than $8.00 in most cases. Thus a Seminar for 300 persons would cost the church less than $2,500 and, with 150 nonmembers in attendance, could be expected to yield approximately 75 new members.

Because of the investment that each participant makes (the $12.50 fee covers the following weekly Seminars) the dropout rate in the follow-up Seminars is exceptionally low. Although some do not attend the weekly two-hour sessions, which are patterned after the original Seminar but are headed by the local pastor, others who have heard of the program via the neighborhood grapevine take their place.

The Seminar approach gives several advantages in message presentation. First the program allows subjects to be studied in detail. With participants at ease behind tables, with glasses of water at their elbow and notebooks in front of them, the atmosphere for serious study is set. In addition, the longer period of time allows for the meeting of questions and objections before they can be reinforced by prejudices.

This is not an isolated approach that can benefit only one specific church, but is a mingling of the best of a pastoral program, the interest generated by an international religious telecast, and the benefits of lay-member witnessing. Churches can combine efforts with churches from as far away as 150 miles, benefiting by forming delegations for the initial thrust and adding their own follow-up series.

Though facilities are important, they do not seem to be a limiting factor to the success of the Seminars. Most of the Seminars thus far have been held in hotels such as the De Soto Hilton in Savannah, but travel lodges, Masonic halls, and even the Queen Mary luxury liner have been used to advantage.

The prime factors in determining the success of each Seminar appear to be the quality and amount of advertising, the groundwork laid by the pastor and his laymen, and the depth and enthusiasm given to the follow-up Seminars.

Although many facts of the Revelation Seminar program are new to evangelism, much of the traditional program has been modified to fit the requirements of the Seminar setting.

Standard Bible topics are handled in the format of the Seminar. With a chain Bible-marking system each participant is led to his own conclusions by an unfolding of the Bible truth on the given subject. Enough texts are given to cover each subject fully, and each text is viewed in its proper context, as well as in the light of every other text in the chain-marking plan on that particular subject.

The Seminars are begun with prayer and include several opportunities to appeal to each Seminar participant to accept the truth that God has so graciously provided. Still, differences are noticeable. There is no music, there is no actual preaching or formal procedure. The question-and-answer periods are free and open, and the discussion following the vegetarian meal is refreshingly new and innovative. In addition, printed study materials outline each subject and provide the Seminar participants ample room for comments and note taking.

If you are searching for a total approach to soul winning, if you are willing to take the time to lay a firm foundation, and if you are prepared to follow through with a complete program of candidate education, then the seminar approach could well be just the program that you have been looking for.

Pastor Dale Chaffee, of Brunswick, Maine, says there has never been a program so successful. "It is the future of evangelism," says the pastor of the Corona, California, church. Without a doubt, the testimony to its effectiveness lies in the story of those who have experienced it.

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.

comments powered by Disqus
-director of public relations at It Is Written at the time this article was written

December 1975

Download PDF
Ministry Cover

More Articles In This Issue

Grace for Obedience

THE FUNDAMENTAL doctrines of Scripture that guard against Satan's delusive last-day deceptions, including the standards that make the true Christian different from the worldling, are set forth in our Church Manual and appear on the certificates given to new converts at the time of their baptism. These are all founded on Scripture. Added emphasis given to them through the counsels of the Spirit of Prophecy is designed to help keep the remnant church on the right path to the kingdom. . .

Consider the Source

IN THE interest of the consumer the Federal Government is requiring manufacturers and producers to label their products. Food processors especially must tell the people what is in the package. Vitamins, minerals, calories, fat, and minimum daily requirements are what nutrition-minded homemakers are conscious of. Some even want to know whether it was organically grown. . .

Presenting the Case for Creation

WHEN THE disciple Thomas heard that Jesus had risen he would not believe it until he could see and touch the wounds in His hands and side (John 20: 24, 25). When Jesus appeared before Thomas and the other disciples eight days later, His words made it plain that those who have strong faith and can believe without seeing all the evidence gain a blessing from their strong faith. However, He also felt compassion for Thomas in his weakness, and showed him the evidence he had asked for (verses 26-29). . .

Why Continuing Education?

A PROFESSOR in the Harvard Medical School informed first-year medical students that half the information they would receive in medicine during their four years would be obsolete by the time they completed their degree. "The trouble is," he said, "we do not know which half.". . .

"She Is My Bookmaker"

ELLEN WHITE had many secretaries and helpers during her lifetime. Probably none of them was more highly appreciated than Marian Davis, who worked for her for twenty-five years, from 1879 to 1904. Miss Davis' special role was the organizing of Mrs. White's writings into books. . .

Malachi-the Message of "the Messenger"

THE BOOK of Nehemiah describes what was most likely the last great reformation among the people of Israel. As Nehemiah, with characteristic zeal, thought to purify the church from its wickedness, we are told that all Judah brought "the tithe of the corn and the new wine and the oil unto the treasuries" (Neh. 13:12). . .

Enlisting in the Armed Forces

NOTE: The following information is particularly pertinent to our readers in the U.S.A. However, others may share similar problems and will find the position being taken by the church in this matter helpful in evaluating the appropriate response that should be made to their specific situations. . .

Nazareth Attested in Caesarea Fragments

DURING the 1962 archeological campaign at Caesarea Maritima, 1 two gray marble fragments of a significant Hebrew inscription were found. . .

Peace on Earth?

WE ARE living at a time when many bow low before the throne of those seemingly magical words love and peace. Somehow these two words are used as if they were something new to be sought after, something the world has never desired before. . .

Behavioral Change in Health Education

ANY TYPE of education that requires behavioral change is extremely slow and difficult. In fact, in certain circumstances it might be labeled impossible. However, Adventists can take courage from the following. . .

View All Issue Contents

Digital delivery

If you're a print subscriber, we'll complement your print copy of Ministry with an electronic version.

Sign up
Advertisement - SermonView - Small Rect (180x150)

Recent issues

See All
Advertisement - SermonView - WideSkyscraper (160x600)