Increasing Baptisms the Easy Way

North American baptisms for 1975 total 33,055 as compared with the 1974 total of 31,471

John Fowler is Ministerial Association secretary of the Central Union  Conference

MISSION  '76  emphasizes  literature evangelism.  Every  pastor and evangelist  desires  greater  and  more  effective assistance from the various evangelistic agencies  of  the  church.  Yet  we  often neglect or  overlook the fact that literature  evangelism  is  an  extremely  effective avenue of soul winning. In Colorado, however,  that  blurred  picture  is  being repainted  with  scenes  of  cooperation and togetherness.

Our  first  step  in  bringing this  about was to invite the literature evangelists in  those  areas  where  public  meetings were  going to  be  held to  meet with the evangelism  committee  for  an  organizational  meeting.  We assured  the  literature  evangelists  of  our  cooperation in winning their interested people. Also we  promised  to  help  them  with  sales. The idea  of  a team effort prevailed, and we  were  united  in the  one  great objective  of  winning  souls.  A  simple  plan of action was put into operation.

First,  we  developed  a  special  file  of interested  people  that  literature  evangelists  had  contacted.  This  included paid-out  accounts,  as  well  as  seriously and  casually  interested  people.  Before the public meetings began, a special invitation was sent by the literature evangelist  to those  on  his list,  along with  a handbill.  The  expense  and  work  involved was  cared for by the evangelistic team. A letter was also sent by the public evangelist  to  the  names  on  the  interest list.

Next,  a person-to-person invitation is extended  by  the  literature  evangelist. Not only does he personally invite them but  he  also  offers  to  bring them to the meetings.  During  the  meetings the literature  evangelist works as  a  vital part  of  the  public  evangelistic team  in visiting  those  interested  and  to  help clear  up  any  questions  they may  have and  set  the truth of  God's Word  firmly in  their  minds.  He  works  closely  with them as they begin to make decisions to accept  Christ  and  to  unite  with  God's commandment-keeping  people.  He  also becomes  the  point  of  contact  that  enables the new members to become safely integrated into the church family.

Plan Working Well

This plan is working very well in certain  areas  of  Colorado.  In  one  meeting alone,  conducted  in  Pueblo,  Colorado, thirty of  the  sixty people  baptized were won by the literature evangelists. Wherever this plan is  being followed, success always results.

You  may  wonder  how  the  literature evangelist  can  afford  to  take  valuable time  from  his  busy schedule to work in public evangelistic meetings. Do not his sales  fall  off  and  the  necessary  funds stop  coming in during this period?

While  we  recognize  that  God  does often  perform  miracle  sales  for the  literature  evangelist  during  the  public meetings, we  also  recognize that where there  is  less  selling  time  the  result  is bound to be less sales. We try to compensate  for  this  by  giving prime  names  to the  literature  evangelist  during  the meetings.  These  people,  of  course,  are good  prospects for our literature.

However, the real bonus for the literature evangelist, in terms of sales, comes after the public meetings are over. Here is  probably  a  new  departure in the corporate  work  of  public  and  literature evangelists.  There  are usually  a  large number  of  interested  people  who  at tended  the  meetings  but  did  not  take their  stand.  Often the churches  are not able  to  follow  up  the work  begun with these  individuals.  God  seemed  to impress us  that  literature  evangelism would  be  the  perfect  way  to  follow  up such  interests.  We  decided  to  give  the idea a chance to prove itself.

After  the  public  meetings  were  over we  gave  the  names  of  the  people  who had attended the meetings but who had not  taken their  stand  to  the  literature evangelists. As they call on these people they introduce themselves as associates of  the  speaker  of  the  public  meetings. This  approach  usually  gains  an  en trance into the home.

After  getting  better  acquainted,  the literature  evangelist  refers  to  the genuine  interest  in  Bible  study the  people exhibited  in  attending the  evangelistic meetings.  He  then  offers to  share with them a unique Bible study plan that will enable them to continue the study begun in  the  public meeting on  an individual or  family basis.

He then simply presents the books  as a  means  of  advanced  study  for  the  en tire  family.  Naturally they are  also  en rolled in a Bible  correspondence  course. What plan of  follow-up  could be  better? Where  followed, this  plan  is  working and the increased  sales  after the meetings  make  up  for  the  decreased  sales during the public meeting itself.

Naturally  this  plan  demands  a  high Christian  standard  of  professional  ethics on the part of the literature evangelist.  However,  when  we  treat the literature evangelist like the minister of God he  was  meant to  be,  he usually  comes up  to  our  highest  expectations.  This plan  does  work,  and it can be  a  mighty means  of  building up the churches and reaching  more  quickly  the  multitudes who  are thirsting for the water of life.

 


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John Fowler is Ministerial Association secretary of the Central Union  Conference

April 1976

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