Editor’s note: In recognition of 90 years of continuous publication for Ministry, throughout 2018 we are celebrating our rich legacy with articles from our founding year. Hope you enjoy.
For years there has rested heavily upon me a sense of responsibility for teaching our people to go forth with their Bibles and give God's message to the world; for through the spirit of prophecy we are told that this is the work whieh the lay members are to do. So at various times I have organized Bible classek in connection with other lines of home missionary work, and have trained the members to give Bible readings. I have observed that other ministers in other churches have followed the same plan.
But I have also observed that, after all the training is received, very few of the members of these training cIasses ever really give Bible studies. I was led to conclude that the weak link in the chain was due to the fact that we had not developed a method of contact between the would-be Bible worker and the would-be student of the Bible. And so I set about thinking and praying, and I believe that God has answered my prayers. As the resuIt of different experiments, God has helped me to find a plan whereby I can secure more names of interested people than I can get Bible workers to care for. I could keep fifty full-time Bible workers busy all the time in the city of Denver.
We do not follow the old method of going out with literature, and working a sedtion of the city for weeks, in the hope of finalIy getting a few names of people who desire Bible studies. We train special workers to go to the homes of the people and make appointments for Bible studies. One of these workers all go into territory in which no work has been done, and secure from ten to fifteen names a day far Bible studies.
Our method is very simpIe. For exampIe, we sent out one of our lay members, a sister, to accompany an experienced solicitor. After they had visited three or four homes, the sister said to the more experienced worker, " I think I understand how it is done, and now I will work alone." During the few hours in which they worked that day, the experienced worker made nine appointments for Bible studies, while the sister just beginning the work made eight appointments. We thought that: was very good.
Of course, it is sometimes difficult to interest the lay members in preparing themselves for this Bible work. They have different excuses, and it requires some tact and persistency to get them to realize that they can secure the necessary time for a systematic series of studies. But the Lord has greatly blessed us in this.
As an example of how the lay members are taking hold of this work, I call attention to the report of last week, which shows that seventy Bible readings were given during the week by the members of one church which has a membership of 275, representing about 150 adult members. Another church in the city, with a membership of less than 200 and possibly not more than 100 adult members, reported between thirty and forty Bible studies given during the week. We feel that this is an encouraging start, although the number is not nearly so large as we would like to see.
It is also encouraging to see that, although we are really just getting started, a number of persons have become deeply interested in the truth, and some are already keeping the Sabbath. In fact, I have baptized a number who have been reached wholly through the efforts of the lay members in giving Bible studies. I am therefore very enthusiastic regarding this every-member evangelism. I believe that in the long run it will do more for the spiritual uplift of the churches and the advancement of the message that all the preaching I could ever do.