_METHODS OF CHRISTIAN WORK_:

BOOK TWO of HOW TO WORK FOR CHRIST by R. A. Torrey

 

{This etext comprises the second of

three sections prepared from the

one-volume edition of...}

 

HOW TO WORK FOR CHRIST

A Compendium of Effective Methods

By R. A. Torrey

 

Etext, last modified June 16, 2001, edited by

Clyde C. Price, Jr.

{CLYDE.PRICE@CDLF.ORG} for the

Christian Digital Library Foundation

from a printed book (used by CCP as a

textbook at the Atlanta School of

Biblical Studies) published by....

 

Fleming H. Revell Company

{no date, but first published shortly after 1900}

Printed in the United States of America

 

{ Etext editor's note

 

_Methods of Christian Work_ is the second volume

of R. A. Torrey's three-volume work, _How To Work

For Christ_, published in the early 1900s. This

public domain CDLF etext edition was created and

released in the early days of the twenty-first

century, edited into digital media from a copy

which I studied as a textbook in courses at the

Atlanta School of Biblical Studies. Much of my

"note" on volume one, _Personal Work_, would also

apply to this second volume.

 

Because of shifts in language and culture (and

particularly legal environment), much of this work

will seem "quaint" or "outdated" or even

_dangerous_. Rev. Ben Wilkinson, one of my major

professors at ASBS who valued this book greatly,

CHOSE to use this OLDER book as a textbook so that

we students would see clearly the shifts in our

"future shock" culture, and look for PRINCIPLES

more than mechanical details, although many of the

details actually are still valid.

 

I suspect that some zealous Christian workers who

discover this book will immediately get excited,

and TRY to take this work as a MANUAL for

ministry, and seek to implement all or most of it

in all the detail Dr.Torrey supplied. Go ahead and

get excited! But realize that this "manual" is

over a century old, and the world has changed

radically. Many of Torrey's comments about

ministry to children (and some other groups)

document things which in today's legal environment

are frankly DANGEROUS. Please DO read this work

carefully and thoughtfully, and consider _how_

these suggestions and methods might be applied in

your situation. It is likely that some of the

tactics which USA workers could not or would not

employ would be very effective in other places.

 

Even when current circumstances render Torrey's

detailed suggestions antiquated, look for

underlying principles which MAY and SHOULD be

employed and applied.

 

Torrey introduced Chapter Eight with this:

 

``The Christian worker should always watch for new

methods and new means of presenting the gospel.

The message is changeless, but we must not be

blind to the changes in our civilization which

offer the possibility of fresh approach with our

message.''

 

The production of this freely distributable public

domain etext is one application of this principle

of looking for new methods.

 

When Torrey spoke of specific tools and

"mechanical aids", many of the FUNCTIONS involved

are still needed and valuable, even though

technology accomplished most of those functions

somewhat differently.

 

One of the dangers of ministry is that we workers

tend to become infatuated with our tools. We need

to be reminded of Dawson Trotman's challenge in

his classic message, "The Need of the Hour", that

our current lack of ANYTHING does NOT mean that

any of GOD'S purposes are being hindered. God's

Kingdom is not built with hardware, but by

consecrated, Spirit-filled men and women who are

willing to obey God no matter what, and to pour

out their lives for the Gospel. Certainly, as

stewards of our opportunities, we SHOULD employ

new methods and media as they become available to

us in the service of our Lord. But, as Mr.Trotman

reminded us, the apostles and early Christians did

not have ANY of the tools (or _toys_) which we

think are so necessary, and they and their

personal disciples evangelized most of the known

world, using the method of "tell-a-person".

 

Concerning one particular strategy, I propose

reviving an _old_ method. Chapter Nine discusses

"Colportage Work", a method that many Americans

have never even heard of. Even though some of the

details about colportage work would be different,

I want to propose strongly an aggressive revival

of literature work in its various phases in the

USA. In many other countries it is still being

employed to great effect. Printing "hardcopy"

literature and distributing it necessarily

involves "commerce." I have worked as a paid

worker in a for-profit "Christian bookstore", and

also done a lot of public mass tract distribution,

as well as quietly handing leaflets to folks I had

been talking with. My work producing Christian

etexts is a non-self-supporting cyberspace

variation on literature ministry. Maybe the "door

to door" sale of books is unwise in much of the

USA, but there are plenty of "flea markets",

county fairs, kiosks, and possible places in a

wide variety of retail locations for consignment

spin-racks. In downtown Atlanta most of the sales

stands on the sidewalks in high-traffic places are

operated by turbaned men, some of them selling

books about other religions. Why not elbow in

among them and sell CHRISTIAN books? One very

strategic factor with Christian "colportage" work

in its many possible variations is that --when

done WELL-- it can be SELF-SUPPORTING.

 

MOST of this work is on-target to-the-point and

immediately applicable. It _could_ be used as a

primary text in a Bible college, and _should_ be

used at least as an ancillary resource.

Availability as a free and freely distributable

etext makes this an EASY decision. I pray that God

will give me MUCH FRUIT from my labor in preparing

this edition, and that He will give you MUCH FRUIT

as you get out into the world aggressively --but

not obnoxiously-- bringing the Gospel to men and

women and boys and girls in every corner of our

rapidly changing world.

 

--Clyde Price

16 June 2001

Alpharetta, Georgia, USA

}

 

HOW TO WORK FOR CHRIST

by R. A. Torrey

 

BOOK II

 

METHODS OF CHRISTIAN WORK

 

���� CONTENTS:

BOOK TWO -- METHODS OF CHRISTIAN WORK

 

CHAPTER����������������������� PAGE

01. House to House Visitation183

 

02. Cottage Meetings192

 

03. Parlor Meetings202

 

04. The Church Prayer Meeting205

 

{6}

 

05. The Use of Tracts213

 

06. Open-Air Meetings222

 

07. Tent Work234

 

08. The Use of Autos, Trailers,

���� etc.����� 241

 

09. Colportage Work244

 

10. Services in Theaters, Circuses,

���� etc.������ 248

 

11. Organizing and Conducting a Gospel

���� Mission254

 

12. Meetings in Jails, Hospitals,

���� Poorhouses, etc.268

 

13. Revival Meetings273

 

14. The After Meeting284

 

15. Children's Meetings 295

 

16. Advertising the Meetings305

 

17. Conduct of Funerals314

 

{181}

 

BOOK II

 

METHODS OF CHRISTIAN WORK

 

{182}

 

{183}

 

@01�� CHAPTER ONE

 

HOUSE TO HOUSE VISITATION

 

I. ITS IMPORTANCE AND ADVANTAGES.

 

1. IT IS APOSTOLIC.The Apostle Paul was a house

to house visitor. In Acts 20:20 he calls to the

minds of the Ephesian elders the fact that he had

taught them not only publicly, but also "from

house to house." Many of us feel above this work,

but the Apostle Paul, the prince of preachers,

found a great deal of time to do it. We have also

the example of Christ Himself. Not a little of His

work was done in the home. One of the most

touching scenes of His life was in the home at

Bethlehem, with Mary sitting at His feet listening

to the words of eternal life (Luke 10:39).

 

2. IT BRINGS YOU NEAR TO THE PEOPLE. When Mr.

Moody was in Glasgow, some one asked him how to

reach the masses, and his reply was, "Go for

them." There is no better way of going for them,

and getting near to them, than by going into their

homes. One of the simplest solutions of the

problem of how to reach the unchurched in city and

country is to go right into their homes.

 

3. YOU CAN GET HOLD OF PEOPLE THAT YOU CANNOT

REACH IN ANY OTHER WAY. There are people who never

enter a church, who will not attend a theatre

service nor a mission meeting, who will not even

attend an open-air meeting, but there is nobody

who does not live somewhere, therefore you can get

hold of everybody by house to house visitation.

There are special classes who can be reached in

this way and in this way alone, for instance the

very poor, who are afraid to enter a church

because of their shabby dress, or who may be

utterly unable to leave home on account of the

multiplicity of home duties. The sick also can be

reached only in this way. Then there are in every

city many who would not attend{184}church if

they could; among these are infidels, and other

classes of non-churchgoing people who are never

seen within the walls of an evangelical church.

Some workers pay no attention to Roman Catholics

because they think that they cannot be reached.

Yet they can be reached by going right into their

homes. Many a minister can tell of the large

number of them that have been converted and come

into the church. When once shown their duty to the

Lord Jesus Christ they make splendid Christians.

There is no better way to reach them than by house

to house visitation. You may not get them the

first time, nor the second, nor the third, but

they are bound to yield at last, to simple genuine

kindness.

 

4. IT WINS PEOPLE'S CONFIDENCE AND ATTENTION. Many

people seem to feel that a great honor has been

bestowed upon them when the missionary, minister

or Christian worker calls at their home and takes

an interest in them. I once called upon a

saloon-keeper, but I did not realize what an honor

he considered had been conferred upon him until a

neighboring saloon-keeper afterwards upbraided me

for not calling upon him, and asked me if he was

not just as good as the other man. Few Christian

workers realize how much good it does people to go

into their homes, and what a short road it is to

their confidence and attention. You first go to

them, and they will afterwards come to you.

 

5. IT GIVES YOU AN OPPORTUNITY TO SEE HOW THE

PEOPLE LIVE, AND THUS TEACHES YOU HOW TO DEAL WITH

THEM. It has been well said that "one-half of the

world does not know how the other half lives," and

we never will know until we go right into their

homes. It is a perfect revelation to see some

people on Sunday in their Sunday clothes, and then

go on Monday and see them at work in the home. You

are forced to say, "Does this woman come from a

house like this?" or, "Does this child come from a

home like this?"

 

6. THEY WILL OPEN THEIR HEARTS TO YOU MORE FREELY

AT THEIR HOMES THAN ELSEWHERE. People feel at home

at home. They are always more or less restrained

at church, or in an inquiry meeting, or in a

mission hall -- less probably in a mission hall

than in a church, and still less in a cottage

meeting than either -- but when you get them at

home they throw off restraint and talk freely. You

{185}never know what is going on in people's

hearts until you go to their homes and they open

their hearts to you there.

 

7. IT OFFERS OPPORTUNITY FOR CLOSE DEALING WITH

SOULS. You can get at a man for close personal

dealing far better in a quiet house than anywhere

else. People do not like to open their hearts in

public, and even an inquiry meeting is more or

less public.

 

8. IT AFFORDS OPPORTUNITIES FOR SUGGESTIONS

REGARDING HOME LIFE. The great majority of people

need to be taught how to live in this world. They

need to be taught plain truths on plain subjects.

The ignorance of many poor people on the little

affairs of everyday life is perfectly astonishing.

One great trouble with many poor people is that

they do not know how to live, they do not know

what to eat, or how to cook what they buy; they do

not know how to dress, or how to spend their money

to the best advantage. They do not know how to

train their children. They do not know how to eat

properly at the table, nor how to make a bed or

air their houses. A family living in Minneapolis

were in great poverty and destitution; they were

in absolute need of the bare necessities of life.

The attention of a friend of mine was called to

them, and he sent me $7 with the request that I

should go and look them up, investigate the case,

and if I found them in real distress, give them

this money. I called and found them in very great

need. The mother was sick in bed, the father out

of work, the glass out of the window and an old

garment stuffed in the place. They were without

the commonest necessities of life, and I saw at

once that it was a case of real distress. Being

quite without experience at the time, I gave the

family the $7 as requested. Thinking it well to

follow up the work, I called again. To my

astonishment, I found that they had used the $7 in

purchasing a mirror that reached from the floor to

the ceiling. It was simple ignorance on their

part.

 

I once gave a man some money to buy groceries for

a family in extreme destitution. When he came back

I asked him what he had bought. He told me among

other things, that he had bought three pounds of

cheese and a lot of loaf sugar. I asked him why he

bought the loaf sugar, and he said the father said

the children liked to have it to eat. A few

instructions as to the most economical food to buy

and how to prepare it, would save many a family

from want, without it being necessary to give them

a cent.{186}

 

9. IT SANCTIFIES THE HOME. Let a minister of Jesus

Christ, a true man of God, go into a home and talk

and read the Bible and pray, and that home is a

different place ever afterward. If the minister is

a man who in his prayer actually brings God down

to the place where he is praying, it will make a

change in that household. The same is true of the

visit of a godly woman. Oftentimes after that they

will be on the point of doing something wrong,

when they will think what the messenger of Jesus

Christ said in that prayer. They will think

hallowed things when they go into that room. Many

a home has been changed by the presence of the

minister of God. You can set up a family altar for

them. When you get people converted who have had

religious training, they know what family worship

means, but if they have never had family worship,

it never occurs to them that they ought to have

family worship at home. Tell them to "set up a

family altar," and you might as well talk Greek to

them, but go into their homes, read the Bible to

them and pray, then ask them, "Do you enjoy this?"

and when they say "Yes," tell them to keep right

on doing it every day, and show them how to keep

on.

 

10. IT RESULTS IN MANY CONVERSIONS. It is a

question whether any other form of Christian work

results in as many satisfactory conversions as

house to house visitation. of course it is a great

deal more gratifying to our pride to stand up

before a large audience and speak to them; there

is an exhilaration in doing that, but when it

comes down to definite results, I do not know of

any kind of work that brings larger results in

souls won for Christ than patient house to house

visitation. I have often thought that a person who

would devote his whole life to going from house to

house week after week, would have a far more

splendid record at the close of life than the

minister who preaches to from one hundred to one

thousand every Sunday. Take the London Home

Missionary Society, they are doing a magnificent

work in many directions, but a very large

proportion of it is this kind of work. Many women

are employed for simple house to house visitation,

and they are accomplishing great results. In

country work I am sure we have been laying

comparatively too much stress on the church as a

church, and the gathering at the central meeting

house, and too little on the work in the scattered

homes.{187}

 

A great deal of foreign missionary work, and

oftentimes the best part of it, is house to house

work. Foreign missionaries have been far wiser in

their work in this direction than we have at home.

Perhaps it is so partly from the necessities of

the case.

 

II. HOW TO DO HOUSE TO HOUSE VISITATION.

 

1. BE SYSTEMATIC. It pays to be systematic in

everything. The man who has a plan for doing

things and carries out his plan is the man who

reaps the largest results. Many, however, spend

their whole time in making plans which they never

carry out. Better have a poor plan which you

execute, than a perfect plan that you spend your

whole time in elaborating.

 

2. A THOROUGH HOUSE TO HOUSE VISITATION SHOULD BE

MADE BY DISTRICTS. What I mean by thorough house

to house visitation is that every habitation in

the district should be visited. This is the true

way to begin a country pastorate. In a town where

there are churches other than your own, you can

invite the Methodists to the Methodist church, the

Congregational people to the Congregational

church, etc., but you should not be too sensitive

about calling on people that do not belong to your

own flock. Better to call upon someone that

belongs to someone else's flock than to leave

someone neglected. Surely if your own church is

the only one in the vicinity, you should visit

every habitation in that part of the country. It

will take time; you will have less time for

general reading and for study than if you did not

do this work, but you are in the ministry to win

souls, and not primarily for the glorification of

your intellect. You must spend and be spent, you

must make full proof of your ministry. Just so in

the city, you should yourself visit every family,

or else get every family visited. It is not the

man who can preach good sermons who succeeds, it

is the man who gets hold of the people. In

district visitation, it should be borne in mind

that people are constantly moving, and need to be

visited very frequently.

 

In an evangelistic campaign, one of the first

things that should be done is to have a house to

house canvass of every house and habitation

anywhere within reach of the church, or churches,

where the meetings are to be held. Every family in

the town or district where you are working should

be visited. That means not merely that some one

should go to the door with a dodger in his{188}

hand which he hastily gives to the first one who

comes to the door, it means that someone should go

into every house in the town. Visitors should be

sent out two and two to go to every house and deal

with people personally about their salvation. If

it is a union meeting it is well that the two

should be of different denominations. There should

be a thorough house to house canvass of every city

at least once a year, covering the entire city.

This is easily accomplished when the churches

unite in the work.

 

3. SELECT HOMES FOR REGULAR VISITATION. In some

communities you must visit every home regularly,

and where you cannot do it yourself, you can see

that it is done. In other communities it is wise

to visit only part of the homes regularly.

 

How shall we select the homes?

 

(1) BY A THOROUGH CANVASS.

 

As you go around visiting from house to house you

will find some homes that should be visited

regularly, and others that it will not do to visit

regularly. Do not be too hasty in concluding that

it is of no use to visit a certain family. For

instance, do not conclude because a family is

Roman Catholic it is of no use to visit them

regularly. Every one of much experience knows that

some of the "hopeless" families are those which

turn out best in the long run.

 

(2) SELECT PERSONS WHO DO NOT ATTEND CHURCH.

 

Every person who does not attend church should be

visited. Not merely the members of your church

should be visited regularly and systematically,

but those who do not attend at all should be

visited.

 

(3) THE PARENTS OF THE CHILDREN WHO ATTEND THE

SUNDAY SCHOOL.

 

You have a good excuse and a wide opening in

visiting the parents of children who attend your

Sunday School. Of course there may be exceptions.

There are sometimes children attending Sunday

School whose parents do not know that they are

attending, and who would be angry and opposed if

they did know. In such cases the parents should

not be visited, or if they are visited, nothing

should be said to them about the children

attending the Sunday School.{189}

 

(4) PARENTS OF CHILDREN YOU GET HOLD OF ON THE

STREET.

 

Talk with the children as you go about the street,

and if you find children that do not attend Sunday

School anywhere, go and visit their homes, go and

deal with their parents, and gather the whole

family into the church of God.

 

When Mr. Moody was engaged in Sunday School work

in Chicago, he was constantly picking up children

on the street and getting them into the Sunday

School, and afterwards getting into their homes.

One day on the street he met a little girl with a

pail. He asked her if she went to Sunday School.

She said she did not. He then gave her a hearty

invitation to his school, and she promised to go,

but she did not keep her promise. He at once began

to watch for that girl. Weeks after he saw her on

the street. He started for her, and she broke into

a dead run and he ran in pursuit. Down one street

and up another she went, the eager missionary

running behind her. Finally she shot into a saloon

and he followed. On she went up a back flight of

stairs and Mr. Moody still in close pursuit. She

dashed into a room and under a bed. He followed

and pulled her out by the foot and had a talk with

her. Her mother was a widow with several children;

her father had been a drunkard. Mr. Moody had a

talk with the mother and called again and again,

until at last the whole family was won for Christ,

and became prominent in the work of the Chicago

Avenue Church. There are many families that you

can get hold of in no other way than by such

persistent pursuit.

 

(5) FUNERALS AFFORD A GOOD OPPORTUNITY TO GET HOLD

OF A FAMILY.

 

Almost everybody wants a minister to conduct a

funeral. When you once get an entrance into a home

this way, do not let go of it. I do not know how

many families I have gotten hold of by being

invited to conduct a funeral in the home. Do not

consider your work done when the funeral has been

conducted, just consider that an opening for

further work.

 

(6) WEDDINGS ALSO AFFORD GOOD OPPORTUNITIES FOR

GETTING INTO HOMES.

 

When you conduct a wedding do not be satisfied

when the $5.00 is safely deposited in your pocket.

You have gained an opening{190}into another

family, another opportunity of winning a family

for Christ. Follow it up.

 

4. KEEP BOOKS. Be just as systematic and thorough

as a man in business. Have your families

classified alphabetically and by streets. Keep an

accurate record of when you called last and the

result of your call. If one has a large parish,

the card system of indexing is better than the use

of books.

 

5. ALWAYS REMEMBER TO PRAY BEFORE STARTING OUT. If

there is any work that requires wisdom, it is

house to house visitation, and God alone can give

the wisdom that is necessary.

 

6. INTRODUCE YOURSELF THE BEST WAY YOU CAN. It is

impossible to lay down rules about this. It often

takes almost infinite tact to get into a home, and

quite as much tact to visit there after you get

in. Frequently it is necessary not to let it be

known in first coming to the home that you are

there on a religious errand. Proceed to win the

confidence of the people. Be very courteous. Do

not notice any rudeness on the part of the people

that you are visiting; leave your pride at home,

and no matter what insults are offered you, let

them pass unheeded. Remember that you are there

not to serve your own interests, nor to spare your

own feelings, but as an ambassador of Jesus

Christ, and to win souls to Him. If you keep your

eyes open, an opportunity will afford itself for

doing some kindly thing that will open the hearts

of the people to you, and win their confidence. A

young lady got into one home by offering to do the

washing of an overworked woman. It was hard work,

but it won that woman and her husband and child to

Christ. The woman, who was thoroughly worldly,

became a very active Christian, and the husband,

who was a drunkard, is now in heaven. The child

has grown up into a fine young man.

 

Take an interest in the things the people you are

visiting are interested in. One minister got an

entrance into the home of a surly farmer by

proving that he could plow. Be sure to notice the

children. Children are worth noticing anyhow, and

there is no surer road to the confidence and

affection of the parents than by showing attention

to the children.

 

7. AS SOON AS POSSIBLE BEGIN TO OPEN THE

SCRIPTURES. Very frequently it is not wise to

begin this at once. It must be led up to.{191}

When the time comes, the Scriptures should be

thoroughly applied. Use them to convince of sin,

to reveal Christ, to bring to a decision, to lead

to entire consecration, and to instruct in the

fundamental duties and truths of Christianity. It

is astonishing how little the average man or woman

really catches of a plain sermon. If there is to

be thorough indoctrination in fundamental truths

it must be done largely in the homes.

 

{192}

 

@02�� CHAPTER TWO

 

COTTAGE MEETINGS

 

I. THEIR IMPORTANCE AND ADVANTAGES.

 

1. YOU CAN REACH PEOPLE WHO CANNOT BE REACHED IN

ANY OTHER WAY.

 

(1) People who cannot go to church on account of

family duties. There are a great many people in

every city, and still more in the country, for

whom it is absolutely impossible to go to church.

A mother may have a large family of children and

no servant. Many others are detained at home on

account of sickness. Few of us realize how many

people there are in every place who cannot go to

church either on account of their own physical

infirmities, or the infirmities of those with whom

they have to stay.

 

A great many cannot go to church on account of

age. Who that has ever seen it will forget the joy

that lights up the face of these elderly people

when you bring a meeting to them? How often such

people have asked me if we could not have a

meeting in their home. One of the greatest joys in

Christian life and service is to hold a cottage

meeting for people who cannot go to church.

 

(2) People who will not go to church. I recall a

family who would not go to church at all through

simple indifference. They were an intelligent

family, a father and mother, two boys and two

girls. As they would not go to church, we took the

church just as near them as we could get it. We

held a cottage meeting next door to their home.

They came to it out of friendship to the family

where the meeting was held. They were interested

at once, came to church, and the parents and

grown-up children were converted.

 

Some people will not go to church on account of

their clothes. It is all very well for us to say,

"Never mind about your clothes," but at the same

time it is not very pleasant to go to a place

where almost everybody else is better dressed than

you are yourself. But{193}one can go to a

cottage meeting in the poorest of clothes and not

be noticed.

 

Some people will not go to church because of their

positive hatred to the Gospel, and yet the same

people can often be induced to attend a cottage

meeting.

 

2. YOU CAN HOLD COTTAGE MEETINGS WHERE YOU CANNOT

GET A LARGE ROOM OR RENT A HALL.You can always

get a cottage room. How many sections of the

United States today have no church accessible to

the population? In the center of the town there

will be found two or three churches struggling for

supremacy, but three or four miles out in the

country there is no church at all. Many churches

are trying to maintain possession of "strategic

points" where they can glorify the denomination

instead of God, while other points are entirely

neglected. The only way to reach the people in

these far-away and neglected communities is by

cottage meetings. I look back upon my early

pastorate in the country with great regret. I

fancied I was killing myself with preaching three

times on Sunday. I kept it up for three years, and

people made me believe I would kill myself. I held

these three meetings on Sunday, and during the

week conducted a class in German, a class in

geology, and other things of that sort, instead of

attending to my proper business, and now I think

with bitter regret of the district I could have

worked if I had only known how. There was not

another church for miles in any direction. Scores

and scores of people could never get to church.

There was enough work in that pastorate alone to

have kept a man busy if it had been done right. A

church which at one time was the largest in that

region had almost died because about the only work

done was the ordinary preaching. Do not be content

with preaching your regular sermons on Sunday, but

have services all over your parish for miles in

every direction, and work the parish for all it is

worth. Search out the destitute places and hold

cottage meetings for several nights in the week.

Set the other pastors in the district an example

of how to work a parish. There is not one parish

in fifty today that is worked as it should be. The

spiritual destitution of the city is nothing

compared with the spiritual destitution of the

country. Wherever you get a parish, be sure to

work it for all there is in it. If there is any

part of that neighborhood where nobody is doing

anything, go to{194}work there. Do not be

afraid of stepping on someone else's toes, but be

sure to go to work.

 

3. THE INFORMALITY OF COTTAGE MEETINGS.There

should be nothing stiff about a cottage meeting.

Of course some people turn a cottage meeting into

a stiff church service, but that is not necessary.

In these meetings you can get people to talk that

you could not get to open their mouths in a church

prayer meeting, and you can so train them in a

cottage meeting that they will soon be able to

take part in the church prayer meeting.

 

4. IN A COTTAGE MEETING, IF YOU HAVE WORKED IT UP

AS IT SHOULD BE, YOU HAVE TO PACK PEOPLE TOGETHER

LIKE SARDINES IN A BOX, while in the church there

is a gulf between the minister and the pews, and

the people usually get in pews as remote from the

minister as possible.

 

5. ITS SIMPLICITY--ANYBODY CAN HAVE A COTTAGE

MEETING. It is the simplest thing in the world to

hold a cottage meeting, though it is not always

the easiest thing in the world to have a good

cottage meeting.

 

6. THE COTTAGE MEETING SANCTIFIES THE HOME.It

brings religion right into the home. It turns the

home into the house of God. The home should be a

consecrated place, and the cottage meeting does

much to make it so. There is no other place like

the place where you have come together for prayer,

and where, it may be, you have been brought to the

Lord Jesus Christ. The home that has been used

f6or a cottage meeting becomes a hallowed place.

 

7. COTTAGE MEETINGS ARE APOSTOLIC. The first

churches were in the homes (1_Corinthians 16:19).

We are going back to apostolic times when we

return to the homes to hold religious services. A

very large share of Paul's work was holding

cottage meetings.

 

8. COTTAGE MEETINGS TAKE THE GOSPEL TO THE PEOPLE.

There are two ways of reaching the people. One way

is to invite them to come to you, the other way is

to go to them. The latter is God's way, the former

is the twentieth century way.

 

II. HOW TO PREPARE FOR A COTTAGE MEETING.

 

1. GET ON YOUR KNEES BEFORE GOD. That does not

need any amplification, but it needs a good deal

of exemplification.{195}

 

2. SELECT A PLACE TO HOLD THE MEETING.

 

(1) Because of the commodiousness and

accessibility of a room. If you can get a large

room, get it, unless you are pretty sure you are

going to have a small meeting. If you get a large

room itwill be an incentive to you to work hard

to have a large meeting. If possible get a room

that is accessible. Of course if you cannot do

better, you can get a room where you have to climb

two or three flights of stairs, but if a room can

be had on the first floor, so much the better.

There may be reasons why a room that is quite

inaccessible will be better in some special case

for your meeting.

 

(2) Because of some one you wish to reach. This is

an important point in the selection of a room. It

may be there is a father you want to get at -- the

wife and children have been reached, but the

father will not come to the meeting. The only way

you can get him to a meeting is to have a meeting

in his own home. Have the meeting in that case in

his house. I prayed for one man for fifteen years.

I tried to talk with him, but every time I would

talk with him he would be worse than ever. I think

he used to swear in my presence more than anywhere

else just because he knew I was a Christian. But I

got him one time where I had him cornered. He was

sick for two weeks in a Christian home. He heard

the Bible read and heard prayer every day during

these two weeks and heard religious conversation

constantly. At the end of these two weeks, the day

he got up and got out, he took Christ as his

Savior, and afterwards became a preacher of the

gospel. You must be as wise as a serpent in

looking for souls.

 

(3) Select a room because of the popularity of the

family. Avoid as far as possible selecting a home

that is unpopular. Many an inexperienced worker

tries to hold a meeting and gets for that purpose

what appears to be a desirable home, but

afterwards wonders why the people will not come to

it. Probably the reason is that there is something

about the family that makes them unpopular. There

may sometimes be reasons for holding the meeting

in such a home, but as a rule, if you know a

family that everybody likes, that is the place to

hold your meeting, other things being equal.

 

3. WORK UP THE MEETING.�� Have a great deal of

invitation work done, not by yourself only, but by

others as well. Be sure not{196}to do it all

yourself. Mr. Moody used to say, "It is a great

deal better to get ten men to work than to do the

work of ten men." Be careful as to whom you

invite. If there is enmity existing between the

person at whose house the meeting is to be held

and some other person in the vicinity, you would

better bring about a reconciliation between the

two before inviting the latter person to the

meeting. A minister should not cater to the

prejudices of the people, but he should know their

prejudices, and be governed in his actions by his

knowledge of them. You have to deal with people on

the practical basis of what they are, and not on

the ideal basis of what they ought to be.

Oftentimes it is well to leave the whole matter of

invitation to the lady of the house. In some homes

they are willing that you should invite everybody,

while in others they are particular as to whom you

invite. Reaching the poor in the alleys is far

easier than reaching the wealthy people up on the

avenues. You can go into the homes of the poor and

invite them to come and hear the Gospel, but for

some reason you do not want to go into the homes

of the people living in the elegant houses. But it

is quite easy for people who are rich themselves,

and who are Christians as well, to invite other

rich people to gather at their homes, and then

have someone there to open up to them the Word of

God.

 

4. PROVIDE FOR THE SINGING AND PLAYING TOO, IF IT

IS POSSIBLE. Instrumental music, however, is not

absolutely necessary. We have fallen into the way

of depending too much upon instrumental music. The

best singing is oftentimes without any musical

instrument. It is well to bear in mind that very

poor singing goes a good way in a poor home. As

far as possible, you should have the hymns you are

going to use selected beforehand, and selected

with care.

 

5. GO TO THE PLACE OF HOLDING THE MEETING, EARLY.

If when you arrive you find the chairs arranged in

a most formal way, looking like a funeral, get

things a little disarranged. Do not put the chairs

in straight lines, but arrange them as for a

social gathering.

 

Another reason for going to the place early is to

be ready to welcome people when they come. When

they come do not leave them to take care of

themselves; get them talking, and open the meeting

in an informal way before they know it has begun.

{197}Make everybody feel as much at home as you

can. While people are still talking you can

suggest a song, and when that is over, have some

one lead in prayer. Oftentimes it is well not to

let people know that it is going to be a prayer

meeting; call it a social and make it a social,

but give it a religious turn.

 

III. HOW TO CONDUCT THE MEETING.

 

1. ALWAYS BEGIN PROMPTLY. That is if it has been

announced as a meeting beginning at a certain

time, be sure to begin at that time. In regard to

the form of beginning the meeting, it is not

necessary to have any particular form.

 

2. BE AS INFORMAL AS POSSIBLE.

 

3. GET EVERYONE TO SING. People like to sing.

Oftentimes the people who have the poorest voices

and the least knowledge of music are the ones most

fond of singing. Encourage them to sing. This will

shock the really musical people present, but not

one person in a thousand is really musical, and

you can afford to shock them. If necessary sing

the same verse over and over again until the

people learn it; do it with enthusiasm. Comment on

the hymns. Use for the most part familiar hymns,

though a new hymn with a catchy tune will often

take well.

 

Everything about the meeting should be made cheery

and bright. There are hosts of people in the world

who have very little brightness in their lives,

and if you have a bright cottage meeting, they

will find it out and come.

 

4. MAKE EVERYTHING BRIEF. Have no long prayers, no

long sermons and no long testimonies. One man went

to a cottage meeting and read a chapter with

seventy verses and read the whole chapter. I have

heard of a man praying fifteen minutes in a

cottage meeting. Those were doubtless extreme

cases, but not a few cottage meetings have been

killed by long-winded leaders.

 

5. TAKE A SIMPLE SUBJECT TO SPEAK UPON. Some

foolish workers take the cottage meeting as an

opportunity for displaying their profound

knowledge of theology. Such people kill the

meeting. Do not preach, but talk in an informal,

homely way. Do not talk too loud.{198}

 

6. DRAW THE PEOPLE OUT. One of the advantages of a

cottage meeting is that you can draw the people

out. Be sure to use this opportunity of getting

people to speak in meeting. To you it may be a

very simple matter to speak in meeting, yet most

of us can remember when it was a very difficult

thing to do, but it is far more difficult for

those plain people among whom we hold most of our

cottage meetings. It is, however, very easy to

draw them out by simply saying, "Now, Mrs. Jones,

what do you think about this matter?""Mr. Brown,

what have you to say of this?" Before they know it

you have got them to talking on the subject of

religion just as they would talk about their

sewing or washing or everyday work. A young lady

used to attend a service that I conducted. She

warned me beforehand that I must not call upon her

to speak, that she had heart trouble, and if she

got excited, it was dangerous; at the same time

she was unhappy because she did not take part in

meeting. One day when a meeting was going on,

quite naturally I turned to her and in an informal

way asked her a question upon the subject that was

under discussion. Without thinking at all, she got

up and expressed her opinion upon it. Afterward I

said to her, "You have spoken in meeting, you did

not seem to have much trouble about it." She now

enjoys speaking in meeting and her heart trouble

has disappeared. Perhaps you could not do this in

a church or chapel meeting, but it is the easiest

thing in the world in a cottage meeting to get

everybody talking on the subject of religion just

the same as on any other subject. It is a

remarkable fact that when you go into a house and

approach the subject of religion after having

talked about other things, the people immediately

begin to talk in another tone of voice, and in a

different way. You must break up that sort of

thing. Cultivate the habit of gliding into the

subject of religion as naturally as into any other

subject.

 

7. DO NOT HAVE A STEREOTYPED WAY OF CONDUCTING A

COTTAGE MEETING. It is not well to have a

stereotyped way of doing anything. Go to some

churches and they put into your hands an order of

service. Every part of the service has its fixed

place. It gets to be an abomination in the church

service, but it is far more of an abomination in a

cottage meeting. One of the greatest advantages of

a cottage meeting is its informality. Some men get

into the way{199}of uttering stereotyped

prayers. When he gets to the point where he prays

for the Jews, you know that his next prayer will

be for the sick of the congregation, etc., etc.

That sort of thing is unspeakably tiresome even in

church, but it is utterly unendurable in a cottage

meeting.

 

8. DO NOT LET THE MEETING GET AWAY FROM YOU. We

have said to draw the people out and get them to

talking, but if you are not very careful they will

get to talking, and the meeting will run away from

you. Let your ideal be perfect freedom and at the

same time perfect control.

 

9. OFTENTIMES HAVE A SEASON OF SENTENCE PRAYERS.

Sentence prayers are one of the best things that

our Young People's Society of Christian Endeavor

have introduced into our church life. Of course,

sentence prayers can become formal and stereotyped

and meaningless. When I first began to go to

prayer meeting there were three or four good old

men who monopolized the whole time. To begin with,

the minister would give out a hymn, and then make

a long prayer, and then sing another hymn, and

then read a long chapter, and talk fifteen or

twenty minutes, and then throw the meeting open.

This meant that brother Brown would grind out a

long prayer, and then brother Jones would grind

out another long prayer, they would sing a hymn,

and then brother Smith would pray anywhere from

ten to twenty minutes. Another hymn would be sung

and the minister would pronounce the benediction,

and the affair was over, and all would go home

glad the thing was through. Many people cannot

pray five minutes in public, and it is a good

thing they cannot, and they fancy that it is

impossible for them to pray at all unless they can

get off an elaborate address to God. But anybody

can ask for what he wants. Make it clear to people

that this is real praying, asking God for what we

really want. How near God seems to draw during a

season of sentence prayers! You can say, "If there

is one thing you want today more than anything

else, just put that in your sentence prayer. Never

forget that prayer is simply asking God for what

you want, and expecting to get it."

 

10. OFTENTIMES HAVE REQUESTS FOR PRAYER. Do not be

mechanical about that. I would not always have the

same kind of a meeting.{200}I knew a man who

was very successful in cottage meeting work who

used to have the people get up and move around and

talk with one another, and then sit down and go on

with the meeting.

 

11. HAVE PERIODS OF SILENT PRAYER. Oftentimes the

most hallowed moments in a meeting are when all

the people are silent before God. Before having

these periods of silent prayer, you must be

careful to warn people to keep their thoughts

fixed upon God, and to keep pouring out their

souls before God in prayer. You and I may not need

that warning, but many Christians do. If not

warned, Mrs. Jones is likely to spend the time

thinking about Mrs. Brown's hat, and Mrs. Brown

about Mrs. Jones' dress. They would not be

thinking about God at all.

 

12. DO PERSONAL WORK. A cottage meeting that does

not close with personal work has been mismanaged.

The cottage meeting offers a very unusual

opportunity for this kind of work. The meetings

are small, it is rare indeed that there are more

than forty people present. You should find out how

many of these people are saved. It does not follow

that because a person is saved, we do not need to

do personal work with him. Saved people can get

help in these meetings that they cannot get in a

large meeting. It is the easiest and simplest

thing in the world to get a mother to talking, say

about her children. Draw her away from the crowd,

and then lead her on the subject of her soul's

salvation, or her spiritual condition. People feel

more at home in their own house, and you can get

into their hearts as you cannot in a more public

gathering.

 

13. CLOSE PROMPTLY. Be sure to do that. If nine

o'clock is understood to be the hour of closing,

close promptly at that time, if possible. It is a

good thing to establish a reputation for beginning

and closing promptly. In this way you will get

many people to go to your meeting who would not

otherwise go. They can stay to a certain hour, and

if they know you will close promptly at the hour

appointed, they will go to the meeting. If the

interest is so great that you wish to continue the

meeting, close the meeting at the appointed time,

giving all those who desire to leave an

opportunity to do so, and then have a second

meeting. You must never forget that a great many

people have to get up early in the morning,{201}

and in order to do so, they must go to bed early.

It is very embarrassing for timid people to get up

and leave a meeting while it is going on. Then

again, the woman of the house where you are

holding the meeting may be obliged to get up at

five o'clock in the morning to prepare breakfast,

and so must go to bed early. Furthermore, it is

far better to close the meeting while there is

good interest, than to wait until the interest

dies out. If you close at high tide, people will

want to come again. If people desire to stay

around and chat at the close of a meeting, be sure

to have them chat on the subject of religion. If

people are disposed to hang around after the

meeting is over and make themselves a nuisance,

you can say pleasantly, "It is getting late; and

Mrs. B. wants to shut up her house. I guess we

must be going."

 

As to the time of holding the meeting, the evening

is the usual time, but sometimes the afternoon is

a good time, especially in country districts.

 

{202}

 

@03�� CHAPTER THREE

 

PARLOR MEETINGS

 

Parlor meetings are much the same in thought and

in method as cottage meetings, with this

difference, that cottage meetings are intended to

reach people of the middle classes and the poor,

while parlor meetings are intended to reach the

rich. There are many who think there is no use

trying to reach the rich with the Gospel. This is

a great mistake. Some of the most devoted and

delightful Christians that I have ever known have

been people of much wealth and high position.

Indeed, perhaps the dearest Christian friend I

ever had, and the one from whom I learned the most

by personal contact, was a man who stood very high

socially and politically in his country. I think

this man more fully realized the meaning of

Christ's words, "Except ye be converted and become

as little children," than any other man I ever

knew. I have known people of much wealth in our

own country, and members of the nobility in

England, Germany and Russia who were among the

most humble Christians that I have ever met.

 

I. ADVANTAGES AND IMPORTANCE.

 

The principal advantage in parlor meetings is that

they reach many who can be reached in no other

way. It may be admitted that the rich are the

hardest class to reach of any. It is much easier

to bring the Gospel to people who live in the

slums than to the people who live in palaces, but

many of these latter have been reached by parlor

meetings.

 

II. HOW TO CONDUCT.

 

1. GET SOME CHRISTIANS OF WEALTH AND POSITION TO

OPEN THEIR PARLORS FOR THE MEETINGS. Rich

Christians should make far larger use of their

homes than they do, to reach people of their own

class.{203}Many of them do not open their

homes simply because their attention has never

been called to the fact that this is a way in

which they can do good. Many of them show a great

readiness to do this when it is suggested to them.

 

2. HAVE THE LADY OF THE HOUSE INVITE HER INTIMATE

FRIENDS. Many of them will come out of curiosity,

others will come out of friendship. Oftentimes it

gets to be a fad to attend these meetings and

people go scarcely knowing why. It does not matter

so much why they go, so long as they go; for if

the Gospel is presented in the power of the Holy

Spirit after they get there some of them will be

converted.

 

3. GET AN ATTRACTIVE AND SPIRIT- FILLED SPEAKER.

Sometimes it is well to have the speaker himself a

person of wealth or position, but there are many

who have never known what it means to be rich

themselves who still have a peculiar faculty for

wining the confidence and esteem of wealthy

people.

 

4. SOMETIMES TAKE UP SOME LINE OF BIBLE STUDY.

Bible study under a wise teacher can be made

exceedingly interesting for people of wealth and

fashion. Indeed, many of these people hardly know

how to use their time, and Bible study presents to

them a pleasing novelty. Of course the teacher

must be a wise man or a wise woman, and filled

with the Holy Spirit. Sometimes it is possible to

have a regular class for systematic Bible

instruction, extending through many weeks or

months.

 

5. _Sometimes have an address on some living

religious topic by a Spirit-filled man or woman._

 

6. IT IS WELL OFTENTIMES TO INTEREST THOSE WHO ARE

GATHERED TOGETHER FOR PARLOR MEETINGS IN SOME

MISSIONARY WORK OR CHARITY. Many of them like to

give, and it is a blessing to them to give. They

should be educated to know just what the crying

needs of the wide world are.

 

7. AIM DIRECTLY AT THE CONVERSION OF THOSE WHO

ATTEND. Very little is accomplished after all in

parlor meetings, unless the unsaved ones are

brought to Christ. The probability is that they

will be brought to Christ at the parlor meeting or

else will never be brought to Him. If any man

should have a profound sense that it{204}is

"now or never," it is the one who is addressing a

company of wealthy men or women gathered together

for a parlor meeting in a Christian home.

 

A woman of wealth once asked a Christian man who

called at her home, "Are you a missionary?"

"Yes," he replied. "Do you ever speak to people

about their souls?""I do.""Well," she replied,

"I wish you would speak to me about my soul." He

did, and led her to Christ. When the conversation

was over, the lady said, "I have often wished I

was poor; missionaries come and talk to my

servants about Christ, but they never speak to me.

My pastor calls upon me, but he never speaks about

my own religious needs, and I have often wished

that I were poor so that some one might speak to

me about my soul."

 

Preparation for a parlor meeting need not be

elaborate. The principal thing is to teach those

who gather together the great fundamental truths

of the Gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit. If

there is music, it should be of the very best, but

should be spiritual, rather than classical. The

class of people that you are aiming to reach are

quite sated with high class music, but simple

Gospel singing in the power of the Holy Ghost is a

novelty to them, and will touch their hearts and

lead to the conversion of many of them. An

attractive young woman with a sweet voice, a true

knowledge of Christ, a burden for souls, and the

power of the Holy Spirit, will be greatly used of

God.

 

{205}

 

@04�� CHAPTER FOUR

 

THE CHURCH PRAYER MEETING

 

I. IMPORTANCE AND ADVANTAGES.

 

The prayer meeting ought to be the most important

meeting in the church. It is the most important

meeting if it is rightly conducted. Of course the

church prayer meeting in many churches is more a

matter of form than a center of power. The thing

to do in such a case is not to give up the prayer

meeting, but to make it what it ought to be. There

are five reasons why the church prayer meeting is

of vital importance.

 

1. IT BRINGS POWER INTO ALL THE LIFE AND WORK OF

THE CHURCH. If there is any real power in the

church it is from God, and God has given it in

answer to prayer. The prayer meeting is the real

expression of the prayer life of the church. Of

course all the living members of the church are

praying in private, but it is in the prayer

meeting that they come together and pray as a

church. God delights to honor the prayers of the

church as a whole (Acts 12:5, Acts 1:14). If the

prayer meeting of a church runs down, it is

practically certain that all the life of the

church will run down, and its work prove a failure

so far as accomplishing anything real and lasting

for God is concerned.

 

2. IT DEVELOPS THE MEMBERSHIP OF THE CHURCH. In

the regular services of the church, but few

members of the church are developed; the minister

plays the leading role; but in the prayer meeting

there is an opportunity for the exercise of gifts

on the part of the whole body. Altogether too

little stress is laid in modern church life on the

development of the gifts of the church. The whole

organization is conducted on the idea of the work

being done by one{206}man or by a few men. It

was not so in early church gatherings. Here the

people came together for mutual benefit, and every

member of the church was allowed to exercise his

gifts (1_Corinthians 14:26). About the only place

where this is possible in modern church life is in

the prayer meeting. A real prayer meeting is one

of the most apostolic meetings that we have in our

modern churches.

 

3. IT RESULTS IN MANY CONVERSIONS. If a prayer

meeting is conducted as it ought to be, many

people will be converted in the prayer meeting. In

not a few churches the presence of the Holy Spirit

is much more manifest in the prayer meeting than

in any other gathering of the church, and

unconverted men and women and children coming in

there feel His presence, and are convicted of sin

and oftentimes converted to Christ. Of course

there is nothing in many prayer meetings to

convert any one, but if a prayer meeting is

conducted as it ought to be, conversions may be

looked for at every meeting.

 

4. IT PROMOTES THE LIFE AND FELLOWSHIP OF THE

CHURCH. In a large church it is quite impossible

for people to get very close to one another in the

Sunday services. Everything conspires to prevent

it, but in the prayer meeting not only do people

get in closer physical contact, but heart touches

heart in a way that is unknown in the more formal

service. People warm up toward one another, and

come to understand one another in the prayer

meeting as in perhaps no other service. Love is

increased and multiplied. There has perhaps never

been a time in the history of the church when this

was more important than today. People belong to

the same church, and sit under the same minister,

and look into one another's faces once a week for

years, and scarcely know one another's names, but

in the prayer meeting people learn to know and to

love one another.

 

5. IT PROMOTES THE HOME AND FOREIGN MISSION WORK

OF THE CHURCH. It is very difficult, and in many

cases altogether impossible, to keep up a strong

missionary interest without a church prayer

meeting. Not only does the prayer meeting afford

opportunity for missionary intelligence, but it

also affords an opportunity for the many in the

church to pour out their heart in prayer for the

{207}missionary work. When Jesus wished to

promote a missionary interest among His disciples,

He set them to praying for missions (Matthew 9:38;

10:1). If we wish to promote the foreign

missionary interest in any church, we must get the

church to praying for missions.

 

II. HOW TO CONDUCT.

 

I. REMEMBER THAT THE PRAYER MEETING IS PRIMARILY A

_P_R_A_Y_E_R_ MEETING. Do not transform it into a

lecture course or into a Bible class. It would be

going too far to say that the prayer meeting

should be only a prayer meeting. There are, of

course, times when this should be the case, when

the whole hour should be given up to prayer, but

this is not wise as a universal rule; but at least

it ought to be pre-eminently a prayer meeting.

Many of our modern prayer meetings are so only in

name. There may be a prayer by the minister at the

opening of the meeting, and a prayer by some one

else in closing, but the meeting is largely given

up to talking, and oftentimes very desultory and

unprofitable talking at that. Let prayer be the

prominent thing in the prayer meeting. It may be

that the major part of the time is not taken up by

prayer, but see to it that the Bible comment and

the testimony has something to do with prayer, and

leads naturally to prayer.

 

2. DRAW OUT ALL THE MEMBERSHIP OF THE CHURCH IN

THE PRAYER MEETING. The prayer meeting is the

place for the cultivation of the gifts of the

membership of the church. In many churches it is

only the chosen few who exercise their gifts and

get the fullest measure of blessing. It will not

do to say that every member should take part in

every prayer meeting. In a large church this is

impossible, and furthermore it leads to a certain

mechanical way of taking part that is unprofitable

and vain; but the pastor should see to it that all

the membership take part some time. If there is

any attendant at the prayer meeting who never

takes part, make a study of that person and find

out what his gifts are, and give him an

opportunity for their exercise. Assign backward

ones something definite to do; it may be nothing

more than to read a verse of Scripture. It is not

wise, however, to allow people to be content with

simply getting up week after week and quoting

{208}some passage of Scripture. It is better to

give them some suggestive verse to study during

the week, and then let them bring some thought

that has come to them in meditating upon that

verse.

 

3. ASSIGN PORTIONS OF SCRIPTURE TO STUDY. For

example, one of the most helpful series of prayer

meetings I ever conducted took up the book of

Psalms; about seven Psalms were given out each

week, and the people were requested to read these

Psalms over and over again, and then to come to

the meeting prepared to give some thought that had

come to them in the study of these Psalms. When

this request was made, one of the most experienced

members of the church went to a public library and

got down all the leading commentaries on the

Psalms and began to study them. He confessed

afterwards that he had gotten far greater blessing

from the comments made by some of the plainest and

most uneducated people in the church than he had

gotten from all the commentaries that he had

studied. A prominent minister who dropped in

during these meetings was so impressed by the

interest and power of the meeting, that he

afterwards adopted the same plan in his own

church. He said that it gave him an entirely new

idea of the possibilities of the prayer meeting.

 

4. HAVE A WELL CHOSEN LIST OF SUBJECTS. It is not

well always to have a list of subjects that is

followed week after week in the prayer meeting. It

is quite possible to get into a stereotyped and

formal way in doing this, but lists of subjects

are oftentimes helpful. Usually the best list of

subjects is the one you make up for yourself. Get

as many lists of subjects as you can for

suggestion, and then make your own. Usually it is

not wise to have a list of subjects that extends

over too long a period. A list of subjects

extending over an entire year oftentimes gets to

be a great nuisance.

 

5. HAVE DEFINITE REQUESTS FOR PRAYER. There is a

discouraging vagueness in the prayers at many

prayer meetings. When something definite is

presented for the meeting, it goes far to give

life to the meeting; the prayers no longer wander

all over creation, but aim at a definite object.

It is well when the requests for prayer are read

to have the people bow their heads in silent

prayer. Do not{209}read the requests so

rapidly as to make it impossible for each one to

be remembered definitely. After a few requests

have been read, it is well to have some one lead

in prayer, then read others and have some one else

lead in prayer, and so on through the list. It is

well oftentimes to have the requests made verbally

from the audience, but there is a great advantage

in having them written out. If people are not

interested enough to write the request out, it is

doubtful that there is much good in asking for the

things desired; furthermore, if the request is

written out, it can be read so that everybody in

the room hears it.

 

6. HAVE A DEFINITE OPPORTUNITY FOR THANKSGIVING

AND PRAISE. Thanksgiving should always go hand in

hand with prayer. The Apostle Paul said, "In

nothing be anxious; but in everything by prayer

and supplication WITH THANKSGIVING let your

requests be made known unto God" (Philippians

4:6). This is a good rule for the conduct of a

prayer meeting. Giving definite thanksgiving and

praise for blessings already received will

increase our faith in asking for new and larger

blessings. There is nothing that seems to promote

the presence of the Spirit more than true

thanksgiving; indeed a large share of the

testimony and the talk in prayer meeting should be

along the line of thanksgiving and praise.

 

7. MAKE MUCH OF MUSIC IN THE PRAYER MEETING. Of

course the prayer meeting ought not to be a song

service, but it should be a service in which there

is much song. Every one should be encouraged to

sing. See to it that all do sing. The singing

should be in the Spirit, but should also be with

the understanding. Dwell on the meaning of the

words. Have verses sung over and over until they

are sung from the heart. A prayer meeting should

be one of the brightest, cheeriest gatherings ever

held on earth. If it is made so, there will be no

need of urging people to come out to the meeting,

and scolding them for not coming; they will want

to come. It will be the brightest spot in the

whole life of the week.

 

8. TRAIN THE PEOPLE TO FEEL THE IMPORTANCE OF THE

PRAYER MEETING. To do this it is not necessary to

scold people for not attending, but often drop a

word that emphasizes the importance of the {210}

prayer meeting. Let people know of the good time

that you are having. Speak to people personally

about coming out. Have people go after them and

bring them out, and keep after them until they

come. Make the meetings so interesting that when

they do come once they will want to come again.

 

9. MAKE PEOPLE FEEL AT HOME. About the stiffest

thing on earth is a stiff prayer meeting, but if

the prayer meeting is made a homey place, people

will want to come again and again. It is well to

stand at the door to welcome people as they come

in, having a smile and pleasant word for all who

come. It is not at all necessary that the pastor

be behind the desk during the opening moments of

the meeting; he can oftentimes do more good down

by the door than he can in his seat of honor.

 

10. SOMETIMES MAKE THE PRAYER MEETING LIKE A

SOCIAL. Do not have the people sit in stiff rows,

but have them stand up and move around. Then the

meeting can be begun in an informal way, and you

are in the midst of the meeting almost before you

know it.

 

11. ALWAYS AIM AT, AND LOOK FOR, CONVERSIONS IN

THE PRAYER MEETING. If the prayer meeting is

conducted as it ought to be, many unconverted

people will come, and the whole atmosphere of the

place is such as to prepare people for a personal

acceptance of Jesus Christ. There is no place

where it is so easy to speak to people about their

souls as after a good warm prayer meeting.

Oftentimes when the opportunity is given for

requests for prayer, the question should be put,

"Is there not some one here tonight who wishes us

to pray that they may be saved tonight," or some

question of that character.

 

12. STAND AT THE DOOR AND SHAKE HANDS WITH PEOPLE

AND SPEAK TO PEOPLE AS THEY GO OUT. There is

oftentimes untold good in a hearty handshake. I

stood one night at the door of our prayer meeting

shaking hands with people as they went out, and a

lady said to me, "I have been in Chicago for a

long time; I have gone to church again and again

but you are the first Christian that has{211}

shaken hands with me." I believe another said that

the only reason she went to the prayer meeting was

to get a good handshake.

 

13. MAKE THE PRAYER MEETING A MATTER OF PRAYER.

Ask God to teach you how to conduct the prayer

meeting and make it what it ought to be. Ask God

definitely to bless every prayer meeting that you

conduct or attend; do it expectantly. Always go to

the prayer meeting expecting that you are going to

have a good time. I always do and am never

disappointed.

 

14. MAKE THE PRAYER MEETING A MATTER OF STUDY. Do

not make it so much a study as to what you will

say, but as to how it can be improved. Avoid

getting into ruts. It is not well to keep in a rut

even if it is a good rut.

 

III. SOME SUGGESTIONS.

 

1. DON'T TAKE UP ALL THE TIME YOURSELF. The prayer

meeting is not so much your meeting as the meeting

of the whole church. You have your opportunity to

air your views on the Lord's Day; be fair and give

the other people an opportunity on the prayer

meeting evening.

 

2. DON'T LET ANYONE ELSE TAKE UP ALL THE TIME.

There is liable to be in every community a prayer

meeting killer, a man given to making long prayers

or long speeches, and as stale as they are long.

Everybody looks blue as soon as he gets up to

speak. This must not be permitted, but just how

can it be stopped? First of all, look to God to

give you wisdom, in the second place don't lose

your temper, in the third place watch for your

opportunity. Sometimes he will say something that

will enable you to break in with a remark; then

ask somebody else his opinion, and some one else

his, and then propose a song. Sometimes it will be

necessary to say to the member, publicly and

plainly, but kindly, that you are glad his heart

is so full, but the time is getting very short and

there are many who want to speak. Sometimes it

will be wisest to go to the man privately and tell

him that it is not wise for him to take up so much

time in the meeting. If you have tact, you can

generally do this without hurting his feelings,

but at any cost he must be stopped.{212}

 

3. DON'T BEGIN LATE. If a prayer meeting is

announced to begin at a certain hour, begin at the

very tick of the clock. This encourages more

people to attend than most people suspect.

 

4. DON'T RUN OVER TIME. If the prayer meeting is

announced to close at a certain time, close at

that time. It may be wise to have a second prayer

meeting, but close the meeting at the time

announced.

 

5. DON'T LET THE MEETING DRAG. If it begins to

drag, ask some one a question that will draw him

out, or say something yourself that will set other

people to thinking and talking. Oftentimes the

best thing to do is to propose a season of silent

prayer, but do not urge people to "fill up the

time." That leads to unprofitable talking. People

ought not to speak merely to fill up time; they

ought not to speak unless they have something to

say that is worth listening to. Far better a

season of silent prayer than a season of vain

talking.

 

Sometimes it is well to bring the meeting to a

close before the announced hour comes. Some

leaders make the mistake of thinking that it is

necessary to carry the meeting through to the

announced hour, no matter how it drags.

 

6. DON'T HAVE BAD AIR. The air in the room has

more to do with the excellence or dullness of the

meeting than most people suspect.

 

7. DON'T BE STEREOTYPED. The fact that a prayer

meeting conducted in a certain way was a good

prayer meeting does not prove that every prayer

meeting should be conducted in just that way. It

is well to do unexpected things; it wakes people

up; but be sure that you do not do foolish things

in your desire to do unexpected things.

 

{213}

 

@05�� CHAPTER FIVE

 

THE USE OF TRACTS

 

Comparatively few Christians realize the

importance of tract work. I had been a Christian a

good many years, and a minister of the Gospel

several years, before it ever entered my head that

tracts were of much value in Christian work. I had

somehow grown up with the notion that tracts were

all rubbish, and therefore I did not take the

trouble to read them, and far less did I take the

trouble to circulate them, but I found out that I

was entirely wrong. Tract work has some great

advantages over other forms of Christian work.

 

I. IMPORTANCE AND ADVANTAGES.

 

1. ANY PERSON CAN DO IT. We cannot all preach; we

cannot all conduct meetings; but we can all select

useful tracts and then hand them out to others. Of

course some of us can do it better than others.

Even a blind man or a mute man can do tract work.

It is a line of work in which every man, woman and

child can engage.

 

2. A TRACT ALWAYS STICKS TO THE POINT. I wish

every worker did that, but how often we get to

talking to some one and he is smart enough to get

us off on to a side track.

 

3. A TRACT NEVER LOSES ITS TEMPER. Perhaps you

sometimes do. I have known Christian workers, even

workers of experience, who would sometimes get all

stirred up, but you cannot stir up a tract. It

always remains as calm as a June morning.

 

4. OFTENTIMES PEOPLE WHO ARE TOO PROUD TO BE

TALKED WITH, WILL READ A TRACT WHEN NO ONE IS

LOOKING. There is many a man who{214}would

rebuke you if you tried to speak to him about his

soul, who will read a tract if you leave it on his

table, or in some other place where he comes upon

it accidentally, and that tract may be used for

his salvation.

 

5. A TRACT STAYS BY ONE. You talk to a man and

then he goes away, but the tract stays with him.

Some years ago a man came into a mission in New

York. One of the workers tried to talk with him,

but he would not listen. As he was leaving, a card

tract was placed in his hands which read, "If I

should die tonight I would go to _____. Please

fill out and sign." He put it in his pocket, went

to his steamer, for he was a sailor, and slipped

it into the edge of his bunk. The steamer started

for Liverpool. On his voyage he met with an

accident, and was laid aside in his bunk. That

card stared him in the face day and night. Finally

he said, "If I should die tonight I would go to

hell, but I will not go there, I will go to

heaven, I will take Christ right here and now." He

went to Liverpool, returned to New York, went to

the mission, told his story, and had the card,

which was still in his pocket, filled out and

signed with his name. The conversation he had had

in the mission left him, but the card stayed by

him.

 

6. TRACTS LEAD MANY TO ACCEPT CHRIST. The author

of one tract ("What is it to believe in the Lord

Jesus Christ?" received before his death upwards

of sixteen hundred letters from people who had

been led to Christ by reading it.

 

II. PURPOSES FOR WHICH TO USE A TRACT.

 

1. FOR THE CONVERSION OF THE UNSAVED. A tract will

often succeed in winning a man to Christ where a

sermon or a personal conversation has failed.

There are a great many people who, if you try to

talk with them, will put you off; but if you put a

tract in their hands and ask God to bless it,

after they go away and are alone they will read

the tract and God will carry it home to their

hearts by the power of the Holy Ghost. One of our

students wrote me in great joy of how he had at

last succeeded in winning a whole family for

Christ. He had been working for that family for a

long time but could not touch them. One day he

left a tract with them,{215}and God used that

tract for the conversion of four or five members

of the family. Another student held a cottage

meeting at a home, and by mistake left his Bible

there. There was a tract in the Bible. When he had

gone, the woman of the house saw the Bible, picked

it up, opened it, saw the tract and read it. The

Spirit of God carried it home to her heart, and

when he went back after the Bible she told him she

wanted to find the Lord Jesus Christ. The tract

had note what he could not do in personal work. I

once received a letter from a man saying, "There

is a man in this place whom I tried for a long

time to reach but could not. One day I handed him

a tract, and I think it was to the salvation of

his whole family."

 

2. TO LEAD CHRISTIANS INTO A DEEPER AND MORE

EARNEST CHRISTIAN LIFE. It is a great mistake to

limit the use of tracts to winning the unsaved to

Christ. A little tract on the Second Coming of

Christ, once sent me in a letter, made a change in

my whole life. I do not think the tract was

altogether correct doctrinally, but it had in it

an important truth, and it did for me just the

work that needed to be done.

 

There is a special class of people with whom this

form of ministry is particularly helpful, those

who live where they do not enjoy spiritual

advantages. You may know some one who is leading a

very unsatisfactory life, and you long to have

that person know what the Christian life really

means. His pastor may not be a spiritual man, he

may not know the deep things of God. It is the

simplest thing in the world to slip into a letter

a tract that will lead him into an entirely new

Christian life.

 

3. TO CORRECT ERROR. This is a very necessary form

of work in the day in which we live. The air is

full of error. In our personal work we have not

always time to lead a man out of his error, but

oftentimes we can give him a tract that can do the

work better than we can. If you tried to lead him

out of his error by personal work, you might get

into a discussion, but the tract cannot. The one

in error cannot talk back to the tract. For

example, take people that are in error on the

question of seventh day observance. It might take

some time to lead such a one out of the darkness

into{216}the light, but a tract on that

subject can be secured that has been used of God

to lead many out of the bondage of legalism into

the glorious liberty of the Gospel of Christ.

 

4. TO SET CHRISTIANS TO WORK. Our churches are

full of members who are doing nothing. A

well-chosen tract may set such to work. I know of

a young man who was working in a factory in

Massachusetts. He was a plain, uneducated sort of

fellow, but a little tract on personal work was

placed in his hands. He read it and re-read it,

and said, "I am not doing what I should for

Christ." He went to work among his companions in

the factory, inviting them to the church, and to

hear his pastor preach. Not satisfied with this,

he went to doing personal work. This was not

sufficient, so he went to work holding meetings

himself. Finally he brought a convention to his

city. Just that one plain factory man was the

means of getting a great convention and blessing

to that place, and all from reading that little

tract. He was also instrumental in organizing a

society which was greatly blessed of God. It would

be possible to fill this country with literature

on Christian work that would stir up the dead and

sleeping professors of religion throughout the

land, and send them out to work for the Lord Jesus

Christ.

 

III. WHO SHOULD USE TRACTS.

 

1. MINISTERS OF THE GOSPEL SHOULD USE THEM. Many

ministers do make constant use of them in their

pastoral work, leaving well chose tracts where

they make their pastoral calls, handing out tracts

along the line of the sermons that they preach. It

is said of Rev. Edward Judson of New York, that he

seldom makes a call without having in his pocket a

selection of tracts adapted to almost every member

of the family, and especially to the children. "At

the close of the Sunday evening preaching service,

he has often put some good brother in the chair,

and while the meeting proceeds he goes down into

the audience and gives to each person a choice

leaflet, at the same time taking the opportunity

to say a timely word. In this way he comes into

personal touch with the whole audience, gives each

stranger a cordial welcome, and leaves in his

{217}hand some message from God. At least once a

year he selects some one tract that has in it the

very core of the Gospel. On this he prints the

notices of the services, and selecting his church

as a center, he has this tract put in the hands of

every person living within half a mile in each

direction, regardless of creed or condition. He

sometimes uses 10,000 tracts at one distribution,

and finds it very fruitful in results."

 

2. SUNDAY SCHOOL TEACHERS. Every Sunday School

teacher should be on the lookout for tracts to

give to his scholars. In this way he can do much

to supplement his hour's work on the Lord's Day.

 

3. TRAVELING MEN. Traveling men have a rare

opportunity for doing tract work. They are

constantly coming in contact with different men,

and finding out their needs. A Christian "drummer"

with a well-assorted selection of tracts can

accomplish immeasurable good.

 

4. BUSINESS MEN. Business men can use tracts to

good advantage with the very men with whom they

have business engagements. They can also do

excellent work with their own employees. Many a

business man slips well chosen tracts into many of

the letters which he writes, and thus accomplishes

an effective ministry for his Master.

 

5. SCHOOL TEACHERS. It is very difficult for

school teachers in some cities and towns to talk

very much with their pupils in school. Oftentimes

the rules of the school board prevent it entirely,

but a wise teacher can learn all about her

scholars and their home surroundings, and can give

them tracts just adapted to their needs.

 

6. HOUSEKEEPERS. Every Christian housekeeper

should have a collection of well assorted tracts.

She can hand these out to the servant girls, the

grocery men, the market men, the butcher, to the

tramps that come to the door. They can be left

upon the table in the parlor and in bedrooms. Only

eternity will disclose the good that is

accomplished in these ways.�� {218}

 

IV. HOW TO USE TRACTS.

 

1. TO BEGIN A CONVERSATION. One of the

difficulties in Christian work is to begin. You

see a person with whom you wish to talk about the

Lord Jesus Christ. The great difficulty is in

starting. It is easy enough to talk after you have

started, but how are you going to start a

conversation naturally and easily? One of the

simplest and easiest ways is by slipping a tract

into the person's hand. After the tract has been

read, a conversation naturally follows. I was once

riding in a crowded car. I asked God for an

opportunity to lead some one to Christ. I was

watching for the opportunity for which I had

asked, when two young ladies entered. I thought I

knew one of them as the daughter of a minister.

She went through the car looking for a seat, and

then came back. As she came back and sat down in

the seat in front of me, she bowed, and of course

I knew I was right as to who she was. I took out a

little bundle of tracts, and selecting one that

seemed best adapted to her case, I handed it to

her, having first asked God to bless it. She at

once began to read and I began to pray. When she

had read the tract, I asked her what she thought

about it. She almost burst into tears right there

in the car, and in a very few moments that

minister's daughter was rejoicing in the Lord

Jesus Christ as her personal Savior. As she

afterwards passed out of the car, she said, "I

want to thank you for what you have done for me in

leading me to Christ."

 

2. USE A TRACT TO CLOSE A CONVERSATION. As a rule

when you have finished talking with some one, you

should not leave him without something definite to

take home to read. If the person has accepted

Christ, put some tract in his hands that will show

him how to succeed in the Christian life. If the

person has not accepted Christ, some other tract

that is especially adapted to his need should be

left with him.

 

3. USE TRACTS WHERE A CONVERSATION IS IMPOSSIBLE.

For example, one night at the close of a tent

meeting in Chicago, as I went down one of the

aisles a man beckoned to me, and intimated that

his wife was interested. She was in tears, and I

tried to talk with her,{219}but she stammered

out in a broken way, "We don't talk English." She

had not understood a word of the sermon, I

suppose, but God had carried something home to her

heart. They were Norwegians, and I could not find

a Norwegian in the whole tent to act as

interpreter, but I could put a Norwegian tract in

her hand, and that could do the work. Time and

time again I have met with men deeply interested

about their soul's salvation, but with whom I

could not deal because I did not talk the language

that they understood.

 

One day as I came from dinner, I found a Swede

waiting for me, and he said he had a man outside

with whom he wished me to talk. I went outside and

found an uncouth looking specimen, a Norwegian.

The Swede had found him drunk in an alley and

dragged him down to the Institute to talk with me.

He was still full of whisky, and spit tobacco

juice over me as I tried to talk with him. I found

he could not talk English, and I talked English to

the Swede, and the Swede talked Swedish to the

Norwegian, and the Norwegian got a little bit of

it. I made it as clear as I could to our Swede

interpreter, and he in his turn made it as clear

as he could to the Norwegian. Then I put a

Norwegian tract in his hands, and that could talk

to him so that he understood perfectly.

 

Oftentimes a conversation is impossible because of

the place where you meet people. For example, you

may be on the street cars and wish to speak to a

man, but in many instances it would not be wise if

it were possible, but you can take the man's

measure and then give him a tract that will fit

him. You may be able to say just a few words to

him and then put the tract in his hands and ask

God to bless it.

 

4. USE TRACTS TO SEND TO PEOPLE AT A DISTANCE. It

does not cost a tract much to travel. You can send

them to the ends of the earth for a few cents.

Especially use them to send to people who live in

out of the way places where there is no preaching.

There are thousands of people living in different

sections of this country where they do not hear

preaching from one year's end to another. It would

be impossible to send an evangelical preacher to

them, but you can send a tract and it will do the

preaching for you.{220}

 

V. SUGGESTIONS AS TO THE USE OF TRACTS.

 

1. ALWAYS READ THE TRACTS YOURSELF BEFORE GIVING

THEM TO OTHERS. This is very necessary. Bad tracts

abound today, tracts that contain absolutely

pernicious doctrine. They are being circulated

free by the million, and one needs to be on his

guard, lest he be doing harm rather than good in

distributing tracts. Of course we cannot read all

the tracts in other languages, but we can have

them interpreted to us, and it is wise to do so.

Besides positively bad tracts, there are many

tracts that are worthless.

 

2. SUIT YOUR TRACT TO THE PERSON TO WHOM YOU GIVE

IT. What is good for one person may not be good

for another.

 

3. CARRY A SELECTION OF TRACTS WITH YOU. I do not

say a COLLECTION, but a SELECTION. Tracts are

countless in number, and a large share of them are

worthless. Select the best, and arrange them for

the different classes of people with whom you come

in contact.

 

4. SEEK THE GUIDANCE OF GOD. This is of the very

highest importance. If there is any place where we

need wisdom from above, it is in the selection of

tracts, and in their distribution after their

selection.

 

5. SEEK GOD'S BLESSING UPON THE TRACT AFTER YOU

HAVE GIVEN IT OUT. Do not merely give out the

tract and there let the matter rest, but whenever

you give out a tract ask God to bless it.

 

6. OFTENTIMES GIVE A MAN A TRACT WITH WORDS AND

SENTENCES UNDERSCORED. Men are curious, and they

will take particular notice of the underscoring.

It is oftentimes a good thing to have a tract put

up in your office. Men who come in will read it. I

know a man who had a few words put upon his paper

weight. A great many who came into his office saw

it, and it made a deep impression upon them.

 

7. NEVER BE ASHAMED OF DISTRIBUTING TRACTS. Many

people hand out tracts to others as if they were

ashamed of what they were doing. People are not

likely to read tracts if you hand them to them

{221}as if you were ashamed to do it; but if you

act as though you were conferring a favor upon

them, and giving them something worth reading,

they will read your tract. It is often well to say

to a person, "Here is a little leaflet out of

which I have gotten a good deal of good. I would

like to have you read it."

 

{222}

 

@06�� CHAPTER SIX

 

OPEN-AIR MEETINGS

 

I. THEIR IMPORTANCE AND ADVANTAGES.

 

1. THEY ARE SCRIPTURAL. Jesus said, "Go out

quickly INTO THE STREETS and lanes of the city,

and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and

the halt, and the blind." Every great preacher of

the Bible was an open-air preacher. Peter was an

open-air preacher, Paul was an open-air preacher,

and so were Elijah, Moses and Ezra. More important

than all, Jesus Christ Himself was an open-air

preacher, and preached for the most part out of

doors. Every great sermon recorded in the Bible

was preached in the open air; the sermon on the

Day of Pentecost, the Sermon on the Mount, the

sermon on Mars Hill, etc. In this country we have

an idea that open-air preaching is for those who

cannot get any other place to speak, but across

the water they look at it quite differently. Some

of the most eminent preachers of Great Britain

preach in the open air.

 

2. OPEN-AIR MEETINGS ARE PORTABLE, YOU CAN CARRY

THEM AROUND. It would be very difficult to carry a

church or mission building with you, but there is

no difficulty about carrying an open-air meeting

with you. You can get an open-air meeting where

you could by no possibility get a church, mission

hall or even a room. You can have open-air

meetings in all parts of the city and all parts of

the country.

 

3. OPEN-AIR MEETINGS ARE MORE ATTRACTIVE IN THE

SUMMER THAN HOT, SWELTERING HALLS OR CHURCHES.

When on my vacations, I used to attend a country

church. It was one of the hottest, most stifling

and sleepy places I ever entered. It was all but

impossible to keep awake while the minister

attempted to preach. The church was located{223}

in a beautiful grove where it was always cool and

shady, but it seemed never to enter the minds of

the people to go out of the church into the grove.

Of course only a few people attended the church

services. One day a visiting minister suggested

that they have an open-air meeting on the front

lawn of a Christian man having a summer residence

near at hand. The farmers came to that meeting

from miles around, in wagons, on foot and every

other way. There was a splendid crowd in

attendance. The country churches would do well in

the summer to get out of their church building

into some attractive grove near at hand.

 

4. OPEN-AIR MEETINGS WILL ACCOMMODATE VAST CROWDS.

There are few church buildings, especially in the

country, that will accommodate more than one

thousand people; but people by the thousands can

be accommodated by an open-air meeting. It has

been my privilege to speak for several summers in

a small country town with less than a thousand

inhabitants. Of course the largest church building

in the town would not accommodate more than five

hundred people. The meetings, however, were held

in the open air, and people drove to them from

forty miles around, and at a single meeting we had

an attendance of 15,000 people. Whitefield was

driven to the fields by the action of church

authorities. It was well that he was. Some of his

audiences at Moorfields were said to number 60,000

people.

 

5. OPEN-AIR MEETINGS ARE ECONOMICAL. You neither

have to pay rent nor h ire a janitor. They do not

cost anything at all. God Himself furnishes the

building and takes care of it. I remember that at

a Christian Workers' Convention a man was

continually complaining that no one would hire for

him a mission hall in which to hold meetings. At

last I suggested to him that he had all outdoors,

and could go there and preach until some one hired

him a hall. He took the suggestion and was greatly

used of God. You do not need to have a cent in

your pocket to hold an open-air meeting. The whole

outdoors is free.

 

6. YOU CAN REACH MEN IN AN OPEN-AIR MEETING THAT

YOU CAN REACH IN NO OTHER WAY.I can tell of

instance after instance where men who have not

been at church or a mission hall for years have

{224}been reached by open-air meetings. The

persons I have known to be reached and converted

through open-air meetings have included thieves,

drunkards, gamblers, saloon-keepers, abandoned

women, murderers, lawyers, doctors, theatrical

people, society people, in fact pretty much every

class.

 

7. YOU CAN REACH BACKSLIDERS AND PEOPLE WHO HAVE

DRIFTED AWAY FROM THE CHURCH. One day when we were

holding a meeting on a street corner in a city, a

man in the crowd became interested, and one of our

workers dealt with him. He said, "I am a

backslider, and so is my wife, but I have made up

my mind to come back to Christ." He was saved and

so was his brother-in-law.

 

8. OPEN-AIR MEETINGS IMPRESS PEOPLE BY THEIR

EARNESTNESS. How often I have heard people say,

"There is something in it. See those people

talking out there on the street. They do not have

any collection, and they come here just because

they believe what they are preaching." Remarks

like this are made over and over again. Men who

are utterly careless about the Gospel and

Christianity have been impressed by the

earnestness of men and women who go out on to the

street and win souls for Christ.

 

9. OPEN-AIR MEETINGS BRING RECRUITS TO CHURCHES

AND MISSIONS. One of the best ways to fill up an

empty church is to send your workers out on the

street to hold meetings before the church service

is held, or better still, go yourself. When the

meeting is over, you can invite people to the

church (or mission). This is the divinely

appointed means for reaching men that cannot be

reached in any other way (Luke 14:21). All

Christians should hear the words of Christ

constantly ringing in their ears, "Go out quickly

into the streets and l lanes of the city, and

bring in hither the poor," etc.

 

10. OPEN-AIR MEETINGS ENABLE YOU TO REACH _M_E_N_.

One of the great problems of most ministers of the

Gospel today is how to get hold of the MEN. The

average church audience is composed very largely

of women and children. One of the easiest ways to

get hold of the men is to go out on the streets,

where the men are. Open-air meetings are as a rule

composed of an overwhelming majority of men.

{225}

 

11. OPEN-AIR MEETINGS ARE GOOD FOR THE HEALTH.An

English preacher was told that he must die, that

he had consumption. He thought he should make the

most of the few months he had allotted to live, so

he went out on the streets and began preaching.

The open-air preaching cured his consumption, and

he lived for many years, and was the founder of a

great open-air society.

 

II. WHERE TO HOLD OPEN-AIR MEETINGS.

 

To put it in a single word, hold them where the

people are that you wish to reach. But a few

suggestions may prove helpful.

 

1. WHERE THE CROWDS PASS. Find the principal

thoroughfare where the crowds throng. You cannot

hold your meeting just at that point, as the

police will not permit it, but you can hold it

just a little to one side of that point, and the

crowds as they pass will go to one side and listen

to you.

 

2. HOLD THEM NEAR CROWDED TENEMENTS. In that way

you can preach to the people in the tenements as

well as on the street. They will throw open their

windows and listen. Sometimes the audience that

you do not see will be as large as the one you do

see. You may be preaching to hundreds of people

inside the building that you do not see at all. I

knew of a poor sick woman being brought to Christ

through the preaching she heard on the street. It

was a hot summer night, and her window was open,

and the preaching came in through the window and

touched her heart and won her to Christ. It is

good to have a good strong voice in open-air

preaching, for then you can preach to all the

tenements within three or four blocks. Mr. Sankey

once sang a hymn that was carried over a mile away

and converted a man that far off. I have a friend

who occasionally uses in his open-air meetings a

megaphone that carries his voice to an immense

distance.

 

3. HOLD MEETINGS NEAR CIRCUSES, BASEBALL GAMES,

AND OTHER PLACES WHERE THE PEOPLE CROWD. One of

the most interesting meetings I ever held was just

outside of a baseball ground on Sunday. The police

were trying to break up the game inside by

arresting the leaders. We held the meeting outside

just back of the grand stand. As there was no game

to see inside, the people listened to{226}the

singing and preaching of the Gospel outside. On

another Sunday we drove down to Sell's circus and

had the most motley audience I ever addressed.

There were people present from almost every nation

under heaven. The circus had advertised a

"Congress of Nations," so I had provided a

congress of nations for my open-air meeting. On

that day I had a Dutchman, a Frenchman, a

Scotchman, an Englishman, an Irishman and an

American preach. We took care at the open-air

meeting to invite the people to evening meeting at

the mission. That night a man came who told us

that he was one of the employees of the circus,

and was touched that afternoon by the preaching of

the Gospel, and had come to learn how to be a

follower of the Lord Jesus Christ. He accepted the

Savior that night.

 

4. HOLD MEETINGS IN OR NEAR PARKS OR OTHER PUBLIC

RESORTS. Almost every city has its resorts where

people go on Sunday. As the people will not go to

church, the church ought to go out to the people.

Sometimes permission can be secured from the

authorities to hold the meetings right in the

parks. Wherever this is impossible they can be

held near at hand. One who is now a deacon of our

church spent his Sundays at Lincoln Park before he

was converted; an open-air meeting was held close

at hand, and there he heard the Gospel and was

converted.

 

5. HOLD MEETINGS IN GROVES. It would be well if

every country church could be persuaded to try

this. Get out of the church into a grove

somewhere, and you will be surprised at the number

of people who will come who would not go near the

church at all.

 

6. HOLD OPEN-AIR MEETINGS NEAR YOUR MISSIONS. If

you have a mission, be sure to hold an open-air

meeting near it. It is the easiest thing in the

world to keep a mission full, even during the

summer months, if you hold an open-air meeting in

connection with it, but it is almost impossible to

do so if you do not.

 

7. HOLD OPEN-AIR MEETINGS IN FRONT OF CHURCHES. A

good many of our empty churches could be filled if

we would only hold open-air meetings in front of

them. Years ago, when in London, I went to hear

Newman Hall preach. It looked to me like a very

orderly and aristocratic church, but when I left

the church after the{227}second service, I was

surprised to find an open-air meeting in full

blast right in front of the church, and people

gathered there in crowds from the thoroughfare.

 

8. BE CAREFUL ABOUT THE LITTLE DETAILS IN

CONNECTION WITH THE LOCATION. On a hot day, hold

the meeting on the shady side of the street. On a

cool day, on the sunny side. Make it as

comfortable for the audience as possible. Never

compel the audience to stand with the sun shining

in their eyes. Preach with the wind, and not

against it. Take your own position a little above

the part of the audience nearest you, upon a

curbstone, chair, platform, rise in the ground, or

anything that will raise your head above others so

that your voice will carry.

 

III. THINGS TO GET.

 

1. GET IT THOROUGHLY UNDERSTOOD BETWEEN YOURSELF

AND GOD THAT HE WANTS YOU TO DO THIS WORK, AND

THAT BY HIS GRACE YOU ARE GOING TO DO IT WHATEVER

IT COSTS. This is one of the most important things

in starting out to do open-air work. You are bound

to make a failure unless you settle this at the

start. Open-air work has its discouragements, its

difficulties and its almost insurmountable

obstacles, and unless you start out knowing that

God has called you to the work, and come what

will, you will go through with it. you are sure to

give it up.

 

2. GET PERMISSION FROM THE POWERS THAT BE TO HOLD

OPEN-AIR MEETINGS. Do not get into conflict with

the police if you can possibly avoid it. As a rule

it is quite easy to get this permission if you go

about it in a courteous and intelligent way. Find

out what the laws of the city are in this regard,

and then observe them. Go to the captain of the

precinct and tell him that you wish to hold an

open-air meeting, and let him see that you are not

a disturber of the peace or a crank. Many would-be

open-air preachers get into trouble from a simple

lack of good sense and common decency.

 

3. GET A GOOD PLACE TO HOLD THE MEETING. Do not

start out at random. Study your ground. You should

operate like a general. We are told that the

Germans studied France as a battle ground for

years before the Franco- Prussian war broke out,

and when the war{228}out there were officers

in the German army that knew more about France

than the officers in the French army did. Lay your

plan of campaign, study your battle field, pick

out the best places to hold the meetings, look

over the territory carefully and study it in all

its bearings. There are a good many things to be

considered. Do not select what would be a good

place for some one to throw a big panful of

dishwater upon you. These little details may

appear trivial, but they need to be taken into

consideration. It is unpleasant, and somewhat

disconcerting, when a man is right in the midst of

an interesting exhortation, to have a panful of

dishwater thrown down the back of his neck.

 

4. GET AS LARGE A NUMBER OF RELIABLE CHRISTIAN MEN

AND WOMEN TO GO WITH YOU AS YOU POSSIBLY CAN.

Crowds draw crowds. There is great power in

numbers. One man can go out on the street alone

and hold a meeting; I have done it myself; but if

I can get fifteen or twenty reliable men to go

with me, I will get them every time. Please note

that I have said RELIABLE Christian men and women.

Do not take anybody along with you to an open-air

meeting that you do not know. A man that is in the

habit of making a fool of himself be sure to leave

at home. He may upset your whole meeting. Do not

take a man or woman with you who has an unsavory

reputation. Probably some one in the crowd will

know it and shout out the fact. Take only people

who are of established reputation, and well

balanced. Never pick up a stranger out of the

crowd and ask him to speak. Some one will come

along who appears to be just your sort, but if you

ask him to speak you will wish you had not done

so.

 

5. GET THE BEST MUSIC YOU CAN. Get a baby organ

and a cornet if you can. Be sure to have good

singing if it is possible. If you cannot have good

singing, have poor singing, for even poor singing

goes a good way in the open air. One of the best

open-air meetings I ever attended was where two of

us were forced to go out alone. Neither of us was

a singer. We started with only one hearer, but a

drunken man came along and began to dance to our

singing, and a crowd gathered to watch him dance.

When the crowd had gathered, I simply put my hand

on the drunken man, and said, "Stand still for a

few moments." My companion took the{229}

drunken man as a text for a temperance sermon, and

when he got through I took him for a text. People

began to whisper in the crowd, "I would not be in

that man's shoes for anything." The man did us a

good service that night. He first drew the crowd,

and then furnished us with a text. The Lord turned

the devil's instrument right against him that

night. If you can, get a good solo singer, or even

a poor solo singer will do splendid work in the

open air, if he sings in the power of the Spirit.

I remember a man who attempted to sing in the open

air, who was really no singer at all, but God in

His wonderful mercy gave him that night to sing in

the power of the Spirit. People began to break

down on the street, tears rolled down their

cheeks, one woman was converted right there during

the singing of that hymn. Although the hymn was

sung in such a miserable way from a musical

standpoint, the Spirit of God used it for that

woman's conversion.

 

6. GET THE ATTENTION OF YOUR HEARERS AS SOON AS

POSSIBLE. When you are preaching in a church,

people will oftentimes stay even if they are not

interested, but unless you get the attention of

your audience at once in the open air, one of two

things will happen, either your crowd will leave

you or else they will begin to guy you. In the

first half dozen sentences you must get the

attention of your hearers. I was once holding a

meeting in one of the hardest places of a city.

There were saloons on three of the four corners,

three breweries, and four or five Roman Catholic

churches were close at hand. There was scarcely a

Protestant in that part of the city. The first

words I spoke were these, "You will notice the

cross on the spire of yonder church." By this

means I secured their attention at once, and then

I talked to them about the meaning of that cross.

On holding a meeting one labor day, I started out

on the subject of labor. I spoke only a few

moments on that subject, to lead them around to

the subject of the Lord Jesus Christ. Holding a

meeting one night in the midst of a hot election,

near where an election parade was forming, I

started out with the question, "Whom shall we

elect?" The people expected a political address,

but before long I got them interested in the

question whether or not we should elect the Lord

Jesus Christ to be the ruler over our lives.

{230}

 

7. GET SOME GOOD TRACTS. Always have tracts when

you hold an open-air meeting. They assist in

making permanent the impressions and fixing the

truth. Have the workers pass around through the

crowd handing out the tracts at the proper time.

 

8. GET WORKERS AROUND IN THE CROWD TO DO PERSONAL

WORK. Returning from an open-air meeting years ago

in the city of Detroit, I said to a minister who

was stopping at the same hotel that we had had

several conversions in the meeting. He replied by

asking me if a certain man from Cleveland was not

in the crowd. I replied that he was. He told me

that he thought if I looked into it I would find

that the conversions were largely due to that man,

that while the services were going on, he had been

around in the crowd doing personal work. I found

that it was so.

 

9. GET A GOSPEL WAGON IF YOU CAN. Of this we shall

have more to say when we speak of Gospel Wagon

Work.

 

IV. DON'T.

 

1. Don't unnecessarily antagonize your audience. I

heard of a man addressing a Roman Catholic

audience in the open air and pitching into the

Roman Catholic Church and the Pope. That man did

not have good sense. Another man attempted a

prohibition discourse immediately in front of a

saloon. He got a brick instead of votes.

 

2. DON'T GET SCARED.Let Psalm 27:1 be your

motto: "The Lord is my light and my salvation;

whom shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of my

life; of whom shall I be afraid?" There is not a

particle need of being scared. You may be

surrounded by a crowd of howling hoodlums, but you

may be absolutely certain that you will not be

hurt unless the Lord wants you to be hurt; and if

the Lord wants you to be hurt, that is the best

thing for you. You may be killed if the Lord sees

fit to allow you to be killed, but it is a

wonderful privilege to be killed for the Lord

Jesus Christ. One night I was holding a meeting in

one of the worst parts of Chicago. Something

happened to enrage a part of the crowd that

gathered around me. Friends near at hand were in

fear lest I be killed, but I kept on speaking and

was not even struck.{231}

 

3. DON'T LOSE YOUR TEMPER. Whatever happens, never

lose your temper. You ought never to get angry

under any circumstances, but it is especially

foolish to do so when you are holding an open-air

meeting. You will doubtless have many temptations

to lose your temper, but never do it. It is very

hard to hit a man when he is serene, and if you

preserve your serenity, the chances are that you

will escape unscathed. Even if a tough strikes

you, he cannot do so a second time if you remain

calm. Serenity is one of the best safeguards.

 

4. DON'T LET YOUR MEETING BE BROKEN UP. No matter

what happens, hold your ground if you can, and you

generally can. One night I was holding a meeting

in a square in one of the most desperate parts of

a large city. The steps of an adjacent saloon were

crowded with men, many of whom were half drunk. A

man came along on a load of hay, went into the

saloon and fired himself up with strong drink.

Then he attempted to drive right down upon the

crowd in the middle of the square, in which there

were many women and children. Some man stopped his

horses, and the infuriated man came down from the

load of hay and the howling mob swept down from

the steps of the saloon. Somehow or other the

drunken driver got a rough handling in the mob,

but not one of our number was struck. Two

policemen in citizens' clothes happened to be

passing by and stopped the riot. I said a few

words more, and then formed our little party into

a procession, behind which the crowd fell in, and

we marched down to the mission singing.

 

5. DON'T FIGHT. Never fight under any

circumstances. Even if they almost pound the life

out of you, refuse to fight back.

 

6. DON'T BE DULL. Dullness will kill an open-air

meeting at once. Prosiness will drive the whole

audience away. In order to avoid being dull, do

not preach long sermons. Use a great many striking

illustrations. Keep wide awake yourself, and you

will keep the audience awake. Be energetic in your

manner. Talk so people can hear you. Don't preach,

but simply talk to people.

 

7. DON'T BE SOFT. One of these nice, namby-pamby,

sentimental sort of fellows in an open-air meeting

the crowd cannot and will{232}not stand. The

temptation to throw a brick or a rotten apple at

him is perfectly irresistible, and one can hardly

blame the crowd.

 

8. DON'T READ A SERMON. Whatever may be said in

defence of reading essays in the pulpit, it will

never do in the open air. It is possible to have

no notes whatever. If you cannot talk long without

notes, so much the better; you can talk as long as

you ought to. If you read, you will talk longer

than you ought to.

 

9. DON'T USE CANT.Use language that people are

acquainted with, but do not use vulgar language.

Some people think it is necessary to use slang,

but slang is never admissible. There is language

that is popular and easily understood by the

people that is purest Anglo-Saxon.

 

10. DON'T TALK TOO LONG. You may have a number of

talks in an open-air meeting, but do not have any

of them over ten or fifteen minutes long. As a

rule do not have them as long as that. Of course

there are exceptions to this, when a great crowd

is gathered to hear some person in the open air.

Under such circumstances I have heard a sermon an

hour long that held the interest of the people,

but this is not true in the ordinary open-air

meeting.

 

V. THINGS ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY TO SUCCESS.

 

1. CONSECRATED MEN AND WOMEN. None but consecrated

men and women will ever succeed in open-air

meetings. If you cannot get such, you might as

well give up holding open-air meetings.

 

2. DEPEND UPON GOD. There is nothing that will

teach one his dependence upon God more quickly and

more thoroughly than holding open-air meetings.

You never know what is going to happen. You cannot

lay plans that you can always follow in an

open-air meeting. You never know what moment some

one will come along and ask some troublesome

question. You do not know what unforeseen event is

going to occur. All you can do is to depend upon

God, but that is perfectly sufficient.

 

3. LOYALTY TO THE WORD OF GOD. It is the man who

is absolutely loyal to God's Word, and who is

familiar with it and constantly uses it, who

succeeds in the open air. God often takes a text

{233}that is quoted, and uses it for the

salvation of some hearer. Arguments and

illustrations are forgotten, but the text sticks

and converts.

 

4. BE FREQUENTLY FILLED ANEW WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT.

If any man needs to take advantage of the

privilege of fresh infillings of the Holy Spirit,

it is the open-air worker. Spiritual power is the

great secret of success in this, as in all other

Christian work.

 

{234}

 

@07�� CHAPTER SEVEN

 

TENT WORK

 

I. ITS IMPORTANCE AND ADVANTAGES.

 

1. YOU CAN REACH PEOPLE BY THE TENT YOU CAN REACH

BY NO OTHER METHOD. People that you cannot get

inside of a church or mission hall, people that

will not even listen to the preaching from a

Gospel wagon, people that you could not step up to

and talk with personally, will come into a tent.

The tent itself awakens curiosity. It looks like a

circus. Time and again I have preached in a tent

where six-sevenths of the audience were curiosity

seekers; and not only did we get them into the

tent, but many of them were won to Christ. It is

stated in the official report of a large and

successful tent work that 95 per cent of the

audience was composed of thieves, murderers,

drunkards and abandoned women. The other 5 per

cent were respectable people. A great many of the

abandoned classes were converted. People who tried

to pull the tent down, threw stones at the

workers, cut ropes, and stood outside and tried to

prevent people going in, before the meetings had

been going on very long were on their knees

calling on God for pardon. One of these had

recently been released from prison where he had

served fourteen years as a safe breaker. He became

a very bright convert.

 

2. THEY ARE PORTABLE. Wherever you put a church

up, there it must stay; you cannot easily move it.

But if you put a tent up in one neighborhood, if

it proves to be a poor neighborhood you can move

it to another, or when that neighborhood is worked

out you can move it to a new one, at a small cost.

 

3. IT IS INEXPENSIVE. A new tent can be purchased

for anywhere from $150 to $350, or you can get

them second hand, but{235}this does not pay.

The life of a tent is about three years. You have

to pay extra for the seats, but these can be made

out of lumber that can afterwards be used for

other purposes. For many reasons canvas benches

are better.

 

4. TENT WORK TURNS THE SEASON OF THE YEAR WHICH IS

REGARDED THE POOREST FOR EVANGELISTIC EFFORT INTO

THE VERY BEST.Ask almost any pastor what he

regards the best season for evangelistic work, and

he will tell you the second week in January, or

Lent. If you ask him what is the worst season, he

will tell you July and August, but with a tent

July and August prove to be the best season in the

year for evangelistic work. This has been

demonstrated in Chicago, Philadelphia, New York,

Boston and in many smaller cities, and in country

towns. There can be little doubt that the number

of conversions in tents in the summer far exceeds

the number of conversions in evangelistic services

in churches in the winter.

 

II. HOW TO CONDUCT TENT MEETINGS.

 

1. HAVE THE RIGHT SORT OF A MAN IN CHARGE OF THE

TENT. The most important thing in any tent work is

the man who has the superintendency of the tent.

If you have the right man the rest will take care

of itself, and if you have the wrong man, nothing

that you can do will make a success of the work.

What sort of a man is needed? A man who is

perfectly fearless, who can stand up when ruffians

are stoning the tent, and not be the least bit

ruffled if a stone comes through the tent and

strikes him on the back of the head; a man who can

stand the boys shooting at him with tacks, and

sharp double-pointed tacks striking him in the

face; a man who can stand perfectly unmoved with a

lot of roughs moving about and seeking to disturb

the meeting in every possible way; a man who

trusts God, and believes that God is going to take

care of him.

 

In the next place he should be a man who has

handled men; a man who can go into a miked crowd

of various denominations, and hold the conflicting

elements in the hollow of his hand so that they

will behave; a man who has control of his own

temper as well as control of the crowd; a man who

is never ruffled, just stands there perfectly

serene with sunshine in his face but with a grip

like{236}iron upon the audience; a man who can

preach a plain direct Gospel sermon; a man who can

hold the attention of people who are not in the

habit of paying attention to ministers when they

preach. To put it in a word, you want a man filled

with the Holy Ghost, who preaches the Gospel in

the power of the Spirit, who if he has time to

prepare will prepare, and if he does not have time

will stand up without a word to say, but just look

to God to give him the message, and as soon as he

gets it will give it to the people in the power of

the Holy Ghost.

 

2. HAVE THE RIGHT SORT OF A TENT. The larger the

tent is, the better, other things being equal. It

is a great mistake to get too small a tent; they

are unserviceable. If enough people do not come at

first to fill your tent, you can so arrange the

seats in the middle of the tent that it is not

noticed that there are large vacant spaces on the

sides. If the tent is small people will think it

is a small thing, and your attendance will be

small. A big tent makes a large impression upon

the neighborhood.

 

3. GET THE RIGHT PLACE TO LOCATE YOUR TENT. A good

place is one where the crowds gather, upon some

great thoroughfare where they are sweeping by the

hundreds and by thousands. Tents should often be

taken into rough neighborhoods. Some one may ask,

"Is it safe there?" The safest place on earth is

where the Lord takes you. The safest place for

Moses was out in the river among the crocodiles,

when God was taking care of him in the little ark.

You can put a tent anywhere with safety if God

leads you to put it there. We located a tent once

where there were two murders during the first week

within a block of the tent. One of the men was in

the tent a half an hour before he was stabbed. He

was urged to take the Lord Jesus Christ that

night, but he said, "No, I cannot do it tonight, I

will come Sunday night." Within half an hour he

was found dying in a lot, where he had been

stabbed.

 

Always select a dry spot. Be careful not to get

into a place where you are going to be flooded

out. If you are not on your guard at this point,

you will oftentimes see what seems to be a

beautiful place for a tent, but the first thunder

storm that comes up the tent will be useless.

{237}

 

4. CHOOSE THE RIGHT SORT OF A MAN TO BE JANITOR.

The man who acts as janitor is next in importance

to the man who superintends the tent. He must be

fearless; he must be exceedingly wise and

extremely patient. If your janitor loses his

temper, you are going to get into trouble. If you

have a Christian man who is wise and firm and

gentle and loving and fearless, you are all right.

 

5. BE DETERMINED THAT YOU ARE GOING TO HAVE YOUR

OWN WAY IN YOUR TENT. Set about that in the very

first meeting. If you let the crowd get the upper

hand of you once, they will have it for all time;

but if you show them the very first time that you

are going to have your way, you will have it. Be

very pleasant, but be as immovable as a rock. If

it becomes necessary, take a man by the collar and

help him out of the tent, but be sure you do it

with a genial, winning smile. This often proves a

means of grace to this kind of people. Do not turn

a man out if you can help it, but turn him out

rather than have your meeting broken up or

seriously disturbed. Drunken men may be allowed

some liberties because they know no better, but

have it distinctly understood that they cannot go

beyond a certain point.

 

6. GIVE A GOOD DEAL OF THOUGHT TO THE SINGING.

Have the very best singing you can get. Have as

big a choir as you can possibly gather together,

but allow no one in the choir who is not saved. It

is well to have an orchestra if you can get it.

 

7. HAVE THE VERY BEST PREACHING THAT CAN BE

SECURED. But what is good preaching for a church

is not always good preaching for a tent. A tent

preacher should be a man who can hold the

attention of plain people. Many a man who can

preach to great audiences in a church is an utter

failure in a tent.

 

8. ALWAYS HAVE AN AFTER MEETING AND DO PERSONAL

WORK. The purpose of tent meetings is not to keep

men out of the saloons; they do keep men out of

the saloons, but the purpose of tent meetings is

to bring men to Christ. A man once said to me,

"This is magnificent. Here are almost a thousand

people here who are not{238}Christians. It is

magnificent if not a soul of them was converted,

for it keeps them out of the saloons." But if all

we do for men is to keep them out of the saloon

for an hour or two, not much is accomplished. What

tent work is carried on for is to lead men to a

personal acceptance of the Lord Jesus Christ. The

best way to accomplish this is by definite,

personal, hand-to-hand work in the after meeting.

 

9. HAVE CHILDREN'S MEETINGS IN CONNECTION WITH

YOUR TENT WORK. The neighborhoods where tents are

ordinarily put up are thronging with children. It

would be easy to fill the tent with children, but

it is best not to allow them in the evening

service unless they come with their parents. If

they are allowed in the evening service, they will

crowd out the grown people, but the children must

not be neglected, therefore have special services

for the children in the tent in the afternoon.

Tell them they cannot be admitted to the evening

service unless they bring their parents with them.

In this way a great many parents will be induced

to come to the evening meetings for the sake of

the children. The results that are accomplished

among children in tent meetings are astonishing.

These children come largely from utterly

unchristian homes, but many children even of

Jewish parents and of drunken parents are won to

Christ. A little boy came to one of our tents one

afternoon. He heard the story of the Cross,

accepted Christ, and went straight home. That

night he brought with him his father and brother,

and they were both converted, and then he brought

two other brothers and two sisters, and these four

were converted. His mother who was a backslider

was brought back to the Lord. There were also two

older daughters who led lives of sin. The whole

family had been converted except these two

abandoned girls. One of the workers started out

with the determination to bring those two girls

down to the meeting, and if possible get them to

accept Christ. Some of the other workers stayed at

home and prayed. This worker pled with the girls

to come down to the meeting, and at last persuaded

them to come. They got there very late, and just

as they entered, Major Whittle was talking about

wayward girls, and before the meeting was over

these girls were rejoicing in Christ. Three boys,

four girls, father and mother, brought to Christ

through the conversion of a little boy.{239}

 

10. ENCOURAGE THE MOTHERS TO COME AND BRING THEIR

BABES. If they can't bring their babies they can't

come at all. One very successful tent worker

promised a rattle to every baby brought a certain

night. The scheme took, and mothers and babies and

baby carriages came pouring in that night. They

had a wonderfulmeeting, and that man gained the

love of the whole community. Another night he had

a watermelon meeting, and that was a great

success.

 

III. WHERE TO CONDUCT TENT WORK.

 

We have already spoken about putting up tents in

crowded parts of our great cities, but that is not

the only place.

 

1. IN THE PORTION OF A CITY WERE YOU WISH TO

ORGANIZE A CHURCH.You may not be quite sure

whether it would be wise to start a church in that

locality. Set up a tent and make a test of it. In

one locality in Chicago where a tent was set up, a

Methodist church and Baptist church were

organized, a Congregational mission revived, and

one other mission started.

 

2. IN COUNTRY TOWNS. One of the solutions of the

summer problem in country churches is for the

church to get a tent and hold its services in that

during the summer months. Many will go to it who

will not go to the church. Oftentimes it is well

for all the churches of a country town to combine

in a summer tent work.

 

3. RELIGIOUSLY DESTITUTE SECTIONS OF THE COUNTRY.

There are many places in our country where there

are many people but no church for miles. Tents can

be set up in these remote parts of townships, and

a splendid work done. It would be well for country

pastors to take tents out on to the borders of

their parishes and do Gospel work there.

 

4. SUMMER RESORTS. We think that if people go out

to spend the summer anywhere, we cannot reach

them, but there is no place{240}where you can

reach them better, provided you go at it wisely.

Set up a tent near where the great vacation

throngs congregate. People at these resorts do not

know how to spend Sunday; they do not like to go

to the country churches, but they will go to a

tent.

 

{241}

 

@08�� CHAPTER EIGHT

 

THE USE OF AUTOS, TRAILERS, ETC.

 

The Christian worker should always watch for new

methods and new means of presenting the gospel.

The message is changeless, but we must not be

blind to the changes in our civilization which

offer the possibility of fresh approach with our

message.

 

I. MEANS OF REACHING THE PEOPLE.

 

1. TRAILER EVANGELISM. Not many can afford to

purchase and maintain a trailer, but through such

a vehicle, trailer camps, work camps, migratory

groups, and otherwise inaccessible places and

persons can be reached. Much of the work by means

of a trailer is of the colportage type.

 

2. AUTO EVANGELISM. You have seen political

caravans. Why not a caravan of cars to a given

town for a great open-air meeting?

 

3. TRUCK EVANGELISM. The business man who owns a

clean, open truck can make a contribution to the

cause by loaning the truck for a chain of open-

air meetings. The singers and speakers can use the

truck as a platform. Such services should be

bright and brief, and Gospels and good tracts

should be left in the hands of the interested.

Also, an invitation to attend services at some

permanent meeting place should be extended.

 

II. MECHANICAL AIDS.

 

There are several mechanical aids to open-air

meetings which should be used where it is possible

to purchase them.

 

1. PUBLIC ADDRESS SYSTEM. Nearly everyone has some

measure of acquaintance with this help to speech

and hearing. It carries the{242}speaker's

voice to all within sight, without strain on ear

or throat. This device can be tuned up or down,

and should never be so loud as to be annoying.

Music can be played on a phonograph and carried

through the loud speaker. Such a system can be

purchased at a reasonable price.

 

An auto equipped with such a device can tour a

city and announce special meetings. Some cities

have ordinances against sound trucks, etc. Always

inform yourself as to the law.

 

2. SOUND FILMS. We all recognize the value of the

visual in attracting and holding attention.

Biblical pictures on inexpensive films can be

effectively used for children and grownups, for,

remember, no one is even to old to be interested

in pictures.

 

Machines which have films and sound synchronized

are also most effective. While these are somewhat

expensive to produce, they are not expensive to

use. They always hold attention, if the material

is good and is well presented.

 

III. THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND.

 

In all of the things mentioned in this chapter

there are a few things to be always kept in mind.

The kind of evangelism presented here is what

could be named rapid evangelism. In ordinary

parlance it might be called "hit and run." It is

an attempt to reach people who are on the move,

and who rarely or never enter a church.

 

1. THIS EVANGELISM MUST BE OF A CONCENTRATED

NATURE. The message should be short. Not more than

two verses of a song should be used. The entire

program should be planned. The technique used may

be similar to that of radio broadcasting. Note how

the broadcasters do it. They are trying to hold

attention.

 

2. THIS DEMANDS THE BEST WE HAVE. It is always

unfortunate when a Christian service in the open

air has a cornetist who blows two sour notes a

minute. In the days of the forty-niners the sign

in the boom town saloon said, "Don't shoot the

piano player. He's doing the best he can." but

that isn't good enough; certainly not for the

Lord's work. Because of the radio, nowadays people

have an improved taste. As a Christian worker

yours should always be{243}an improved

service. Let us give our Lord the best we have,

and strive to make that better.

 

3. ALL EQUIPMENT SHOULD BE KEPT IN GOOD CONDITION.

Cars and trucks should be clean and fresh. Public

address systems should be smooth and clear.

Pictures must be replaced when worn or faded.

 

Workers, too, should be neat. Women in particular

should give careful thought to their dress and

general appearance, that they may bear consistent

testimony for their Lord. For the most part men

are more effective in work of this type.

 

4. ALL MEETINGS OF THIS KIND SHOULD BE

THOUGHTFULLY PLANNED AND PRAYERFULLY CARRIED

THROUGH. Many people fail in services of this

variety because they depend on their natural "gift

of gab," rather than on the Holy Spirit and real

preparation. A radio program may sound casual and

spontaneous, but it is in reality carefully

planned and rehearsed in every detail. You are not

putting on a show, so you are not going to

rehearse your message, but do not leave things to

chance. As in all service for the Lord, work and

prayer are essential to success.

 

{244}

 

@09�� CHAPTER NINE

 

COLPORTAGE WORK

 

I. COLPORTAGE WORK DEFINED.

 

What is Colportage work? By Colportage work we

mean the distribution of religious literature from

house to house. As a rule, the literature thus

distributed is sold, sometimes for its full value,

sometimes at less than cost.

 

II. ITS IMPORTANCE AND ADVANTAGES.

 

1. PEOPLE WHO FAIL IN OTHER LINES OF CHRISTIAN

WORK CAN SUCCEED IN COLPORTAGE WORK.There are

many who wish to work for the Lord, and feel they

have a definite call to give their whole time to

that work, who are unable to preach to

edification, who are incompetent to run a mission,

who would not even succeed as house to house

visitors. What can they do? They can do Colportage

work and oftentimes meet with great success in it.

I have in mind one man who felt a call to

Christian work, but it soon became evident that he

had no gifts whatever that would warrant his

preparation for the ministry. He was exceedingly

slow and tiresome in speech, he lacked fire, and

apparently lacked energy. He was induced to take

up the Colportage work, and he became one of the

most successful Colporters I even knew, not only

making a very generous living by the work, but

also reaching many homes and touching people who

could be reached in no other way. Another man who

could not even speak to edification in prayer

meeting, who was exceedingly limited in all

directions, sold during a single month 1,200

volumes and cleared about $54 over and above

expenses; the same person cleared about $400 in

ten months. Going from town to town, he was the

means of doing untold good. Superannuated

ministers who have reached the point where their

services{245}are no longer in demand for

churches, do not need to give up the Lord's work.

They can take up Colportage work, and perhaps be

more useful than they were in their preaching

days.

 

Ministers and other Christian workers who are

broken down physically, and unable to bear the

strain of regular work, can take up Colportage

work with great advantage to their health, and

accomplish very much for the Master.

 

2. COLPORTAGE WORK REACHES NEGLECTED DISTRICTS.

All over the land there are stretches of country

so sparsely settled that it would be impossible to

maintain religious services, yet in these thinly

settled districts taken together, there are

thousands upon thousands of souls that need to

hear the Gospel. Oftentimes they can be reached by

Colportage work better than in any other way. One

solution of the religious problem in the country

is to be found in Colportage work.

 

3. COLPORTAGE WORK IS SELF-SUPPORTING. The

Colporter needs to have no missionary society back

of him. He can go out and sell his books and

support himself, and if he has any gift in this

direction, make a comfortable living. Take for

example the books of the Colportage Division of

the Moody Press. They contain some of the very

best evangelical literature of the day, books

adapted to the unsaved to lead them to Christ,

books on the deeper Christian life, books on

Christian work. They are written by some of the

best known and most gifted authors, men like F. B.

Meyer, Campbell Morgan, Andrew Murray, D. L.

Moody, Major D. W. Whittle, Charles Spurgeon, and

others. These books can be secured in quantities

from the Moody Press.

 

4. COLPORTAGE WORK CONVERTS SINNERS AND BUILDS UP

CHRISTIANS. All over our land today there are many

people who have been led to Christ, and many

Christians who have been led into a deeper

knowledge of Christ, through the work of

Colporters.

 

5. ITS RESULTS ARE PERMANENT AND EVER-WIDENING. A

preacher goes away, but a book stays. One man

reads a book and is blessed by it and hands it to

another, and he to still another. A single book

may be read by scores of persons.{246}

 

6. IT OPENS DOORS TO OTHER WORK. Many a man begins

Christian work as a humble Colporter, but as he

goes from house to house and village to village

with the little books that carry the knowledge of

Jesus Christ, he soon begins to preach the Word,

and is quite likely in time to receive a call to

be a pastor or an assistant pastor.

 

7. COLPORTAGE WORK IS A SPLENDID PREPARATION FOR

OTHER CHRISTIAN WORK. The Colporter gets right

into the home, gets acquainted with all kinds of

men, has to learn through necessity the modes of

convincing men. There is perhaps no better

preparation for many phases of ministerial work

than the work of a Colporter.

 

III. HOW TO DO COLPORTAGE WORK.

 

1. GET A FEW BOOKS TO BEGIN WITH, AND THEN BEGIN.

A man once came to me out of money and out of

employment. I bought for him four Colportage

books, and sent him out. He came back in less than

half an hour. He then took his share of the money

and bought himself other books, and thus the work

widened. The way to begin is to begin.

 

2. VISIT EVERY HOUSE AND STORE AND SALOON. When

one undertakes to do Colportage work in any given

district, as a rule it is well to visit every

house and store and saloon in the district. Of

course, if one continues to work the same

district, he will soon learn what houses can be

visited again and again, and what places to avoid.

Experience shows that many even in saloons will

buy the books, and sometimes the saloon-keepers

themselves, and no one can measure the good thus

done.

 

3. LEAVE THE BOOKS IN ENVELOPES FOR EXAMINATION.

Some have found it very useful to have envelopes

that will contain the books, and leave the books

in every house on a street, giving notice that

they will be called for afterward, and if the

people wish to keep the books, they can leave the

money in the envelope; if not, return the books.

Opportunities for conversation are often thus

opened. One prominent Christian worker, wishing to

experiment on the work for himself, went down one

of the leading streets of a western city, leaving

a book in every house. As he came back, he found

interesting opportunities for speaking with people

whom the{247}ordinary missionary could not

reach. Even where the books are not purchased,

they will often be read and so the truth will get

a hearing.

 

4. _Churches can employ a church visitor without

expense to themselves, by equipping the church

visitor with Colportage books which he can sell,

and thus meet his expenses._ Of course the visitor

must have the public endorsement of the pastor of

the church, and in this way he gets an entrance

for his work. This plan has been adopted with

great success in some quarters.

 

5. GET PASTORS TO RECOMMEND THE BOOKS. When the

Colporter visits a new village, he should look up

the pastors of the place and present to each of

them a copy of one of his best books. In this way

the interest of the pastors will be enlisted, and

if they will speak a word of endorsement in the

prayer meeting or some other place, it will be a

great help. Many churches have the Colportage

books on sale in the vestibule.

 

6. _Get pastors to preach on certain lines, and

then go around and sell the books that bear upon

the subject in which the pastor has awakened an

interest._ For example, if the pastor speaks upon

the baptism with the Holy Spirit, go through the

community with a book like McNeil's _Spirit-Filled

Life_.

 

7. ATTENDING RELIGIOUS CONVENTIONS. A great work

can be done by Colporters attending religious

conventions, and there disposing of books along

the lines of the subjects treated in the

conventions.

 

{248}

 

@10�� CHAPTER TEN

 

SERVICES IN THEATRES, CIRCUSES, ETC.

 

I. IMPORTANCE AND ADVANTAGES.

 

1. MANY PEOPLE ARE LIKELY TO BE REACHED BY

SERVICES IN THEATRES, CIRCUSES, AND OTHER PLACES

OF ENTERTAINMENT, WHO ARE NOT LIKELY TO BE REACHED

ELSEWHERE. Actors, actresses, and the other

employees of theatres seldom attend services at

churches; it is difficult also to find them in

their homes, but they can be reached on their own

ground. At the very first service in Forepaugh's

circus tent in Chicago during the World's Fair, an

actor was brought under deep conviction of sin and

converted to Christ. In services held in the city

of Minneapolis I had frequent opportunity of

speaking personally with the actors and other

employees of the places. But not only can the

employees be reached, but also the frequenters. We

held services one New Year's afternoon in the

Theatre Comique in the city of Minneapolis. A few

days afterward I received an anonymous letter from

an Iowa city. The writer said that he had been

present at the theatre service that day. It was

the first time he had been in a religious service

for years, although in the old country he had been

a local preacher. In the two or three weeks

preceding that service, he had squandered over

$300 in that theatre, but the word spoken that

afternoon had brought him back to Christ. The man

afterwards returned to Minneapolis and made

himself known, and subsequently became a deacon

and one of the most faithful workers in our

church.

 

2. ANOTHER ADVANTAGE OF SERVICES IN A THEATRE IS

THEIR NOVELTY AND ATTRACTIVENESS. The interest

especially of young men is awakened by seeing a

service advertised in a theatre. They go out of

curiosity, and an opportunity is thus offered of

bringing them to Christ. Everything about the

place attracts them; they like the{249}

surroundings; they are off their guard and the

Gospel gets an entrance into their hearts.

 

3. MANY ARE CONVERTED. It has been the writer's

privilege to conduct services every Sunday

afternoon for several winters in the theatres of

one of our American cities, and during the World's

Fair to conduct theatrical services for many

weeks, seven nights in the week. In both places

most encouraging results followed. In the services

in Chicago many were converted every night. At a

recent theatre service for men only in a southern

city, about one hundred and fifty men professed

conversion.

 

II. HOW TO CONDUCT.

 

1. THE FIRST IMPORTANT MATTER IN THE CONDUCT OF

THEATRE SERVICES IS THE CHOICE OF THE THEATRE.

What sort of a theatre to choose depends upon the

purpose for which the meetings are held. If the

aim is to get hold of those who have sunk into the

deepest depth of sin, of course a theatre of the

lower order is preferable. On the other hand,

there are objections to such a theatre. It is not

a good place to take people, but you are not

likely to take anybody there except those who

frequent it already, or those who go for a

definitely Christian purpose. Nevertheless great

care should be exercised in the choice of workers

for such a place. Girls and boys should not be

taken to such a place unless they already frequent

it. A young man approached a prominent business

man in the city of Minneapolis who was handing out

dodgers on the street, inviting people to the

Theatre Comique for a Gospel service. The young

man said, "Do you know what kind of a place the

Theatre Comique is?" The business man replied that

he had not lived in Minneapolis twenty years not

to know. The young man asked again, "Do you think

that such a place is a proper place to hold a

religious service?" The reply was made, "When you

go fishing, where do you go?" The young man smiled

and answered, "Oh, I see, I go where the fish

are." A good many fish were caught in that pool,

though it was a cesspool.

 

If the aim is to reach a better class of people,

of course one must engage a theatre of the higher

order. During the World's Fair the Haymarket

Theatre and Columbia Theatre in Chicago{250}

were packed to overflowing each Sunday morning, to

hear the Gospel preached by leading preachers of

this country and Europe, and there were a great

many conversions.

 

Sometimes the size of the theatre will be a

determining factor. Twenty thousand people could

be crowded into the Forepaugh tent, and were

crowded into it each morning that services were

held there; this in spite of the fact that the

heat was almost insufferable. The circus men were

so astonished at the vast audiences that came out

to religious services, that they approached Mr.

Moody to see if he would not furnish a speaker to

go around with their show and hold services every

Sunday, they offering to pay all the expenses.

 

It is best to select, if possible, a theatre that

is in use rather than one that is abandoned. If

the theatre has been given up, the probability is

that people did not go to it, and they will not be

likely to go to a religious service in that place.

I knew of a case of what appeared to be a very

desirable theatre being purchased to hold

religious services in. It seemed to be in a good

locality and well adapted to the work. The

theatre, however, had been abandoned by the

theatrical people, and it was never possible to

get the people to attend religious services there

in any great numbers.

 

2. THE SECOND POINT OF IMPORTANCE IS SECURING THE

THEATRE FOR THE SERVICES. Oftentimes this is not a

very difficult matter. Theatrical people are

frequently very glad to have their building used

for religious services. I once went to the

proprietor of a very vile den to see if I could

secure his place for Gospel meetings. To my

surprise, he received me very cordially, and said

certainly we could have the place, and he only

charged a nominal rent. Going the next year to

another theater in the same city, only a theatre

of a much higher order -- a very attractive and

respectable place -- I inquired of the manager if

I could secure his theater for Sunday afternoon

services. He replied, "Certainly." When I asked

him what he would charge for it, he asked me if

there was any money in it. I told him none at all,

that we were going to spend money and not take it

in. "In that case," he said, "you can have the

theatre for nothing." He stood to this agreement,

furnished light and heat, ushers and everything,

and would take absolutely nothing for it. Even the

stage manager was in attendance every Sunday to

see{251}that everything was in perfect order.

As a rule it is far better to rent a theatre than

to buy it. If you buy it, it ceases to be a

theatre and becomes your church, and the very

people you wish to get hold of are no longer

attracted.

 

3. EXERCISE GREAT CARE ABOUT THE MUSIC. Provide

just as large a choir as possible. Secure the very

best leader possible; the best leader is a man

with a good large voice, a great deal of

enthusiasm and ability to get people to sing, who

is filled with the Holy Ghost, and knows how to

sing to save. In addition to a good leader and a

large choir, it is well to have male choruses,

duets, quartets and solos. A band is sometimes

helpful, but not at all a necessity. A good

cornetist is of great help, but the singing

attracts as much as instrumental music, and does

far greater execution.

 

4. SECURE THE BEST POSSIBLE SPEAKERS. No man is a

good speaker for a theatrical service who does not

preach the straight Gospel, and preach it in a way

to attract and hold the public. If there is one

person in the community who has a peculiar gift in

this direction, it is best usually to have him do

the major part of the speaking week after week. It

will do to throw in another speaker occasionally,

and good may be accomplished by it, but one

speaker who knows the audience and the work, and

follows one sermon up by another, will accomplish

the most definite and most satisfactory results.

 

5. BE SURE THAT THE SERVICES ARE THOROUGHLY

EVANGELICAL, AND EMPHATICALLY EVANGELISTIC.Very

little good comes from holding meetings in

theatres and similar places unless these meetings

are emphatically Gospel meetings. Preaching along

ethical and social and philanthropic lines

accomplishes very little good. If, however, the

meetings are thoroughly evangelical and

evangelistic, the ethical and social results will

necessarily follow. Drunkards will be converted

and give up their drinking, gamblers will give up

their gambling, impure people will forsake their

impurity, politicians will be brought to Christ

and thus their politics will be reformed. I was

talking to a converted politician last night. The

night he came to the meeting where he was

converted (during the World's Fair) he had been

out with a number of his political{252}

friends. They had been planning for his election

to an important office here in Chicago. At the

service he heard nothing about political reform;

he heard the simple Gospel, a Gospel that would

save the slave of drink. He accepted Christ that

night. The result has been that his whole life,

personal, domestic, commercial and political, has

been renovated. A sermon on political reform would

not have touched him at all.

 

6. ADVERTISE THE MEETINGS LARGELY AND WIDELY.

Large billboards such as the theatrical people use

for their own advertisements are perhaps the best

of any, but the newspapers should also be used to

the utmost. Newspapers are generally willing to do

a great deal of free advertising for services of

this character. Men, with invitations to the

meetings should be placed upon all the street

corners for blocks around. Transparencies, carried

through the streets by men, attract the attention

and bring many to the services.

 

7. HAVE A THOROUGHLY DRILLED CORPS OF USHERS.

Sometimes the theaters provide their own ushers,

and for many reasons it is well to use them. They

know the building, understand just how to seat

people, and furthermore they need to hear the

Gospel themselves and are likely to be converted.

 

8. HAVE WISE AND WELL-TRAINED PERSONAL WORKERS

SCATTERED THROUGH THE AUDIENCE. This is of the

very highest importance, even more important in

the theater than it is in a church. No speaker can

take note of what is happening in every part of a

theater. Many men and women will be touched by the

sermon, but only touched. If gotten hold of right

then and there by a watchful and wise worker, and

the effect of the sermon followed up, those

persons will be converted, whereas if they are

allowed to go out, the impression will soon die

away and they may be lost forever. These workers

should be carefully trained, as to exactly where

to sit, and what to do during the service, and at

the close of the service.

 

9. HAVE AFTER-MEETINGS. This is of the highest

importance. For details regarding aftermeetings,

see chapter on "Aftermeetings."{253}

 

10. INVITE THE AUDIENCE TO THE CHURCHES. There is

a prevalent opinion among the masses of the

unchurched that they are not welcome at the

churches. We should do everything in our power to

disabuse them of this false notion. The theatre

service affords a splendid opportunity for doing

it. It is well to have the ministers themselves

extend the invitation. In this way a permanence is

given to the work. The church is the only thing

that goes on continually. Missions, theatre

services, tent services, come and go, but the

church was established by Christ and perpetually

continues. A work that does not lead the people

ultimately into the churches and get them

connected therewith, seldom results in any

permanent good. It is well to have printed

invitations from the churches to distribute among

the audience. These invitations should be gotten

up in an attractive form so that the people will

be glad to take them home and keep them.

 

{254}

 

@11�� CHAPTER ELEVEN

 

ORGANIZING AND CONDUCTING A GOSPEL MISSION

 

I. IMPORTANCE OF GOSPEL MISSIONS.

 

1. In every large city, and in many of our smaller

cities, there are great masses of the people that

the churches are not reaching. The reasons why

they are not being reached by the church are

various. First of all because of the location of

the churches. The churches as a rule in our larger

cities are inaccessible to the great majority of

our poorer population. The churches follow the

well-to-do people up-town, as a rule, and where

the thickest population is, where the people are

to whom the Lord Jesus especially ministered

during His life, there the churches are not. The

churches are not reaching them because they are

not near enough to where these people are. In the

second place, the services of the regularly

organized church are of such a character that they

do not reach them. Oftentimes when they pretend to

preach the Gospel they do not preach it; and, when

they do preach the Gospel, it is preached in such

a manner that it does not take hold of the common

people. A laboring man, a poor man, an ignorant

man, a beggar or a drunkard, who wishes to be

reformed, goes into many of our churches, and the

minister stands up and preaches the Gospel of the

Lord Jesus Christ, and yet he preaches the Gospel

in such a manner that it does not leave any

impression upon the man's mind. The preacher is

before everything else a scholar and a literary

gentleman, and he does not know how to get down to

the hearts and lives of ordinary folks. In the

third place, the whole atmosphere of the church is

not such that these people feel at home. Sometimes

the style of dress, the social etiquette, the

music, the whole general conduct of the church,

are such as to repel them{255}Down in the

mission, on the other hand, there is an entire

absence of conventionality, but there is a

friendliness, a kindliness, a home-likeness that

their hearts warm to. There is something that

attracts them to the place, and they go again and

again until the Spirit of God opens their hearts

and they are saved.

 

_It is the work of the mission to evangelize these

masses of men and women and children existing in

all our larger cities, and in many of our smaller

cities, who are not reached by the ordinary

ministrations of the church._ It is to EVANGELIZE

the masses not simply to reach them. It is of no

great importance to know merely how to reach the

masses, any one can reach the masses, but the

question is, how to gospelize them. The work of

the mission is not to conduct innocent

entertainment, nor to provide a nice, warm,

pleasant place for the people to go into from the

streets; it is not to clothe the poor and the

naked: but the work of the missions is to bring

the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ to bear upon

the hearts and lives of lost men and lost women.

What they find, or ought to find, in the mission

is the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ seven

nights in the week. If they desire amusement, or

weak imitations of dime museums, they can get them

elsewhere. The true business of the mission, as

well as the true business of the Church of the

Lord Jesus Christ, is to preach the Word of God,

and to bring it to bear upon lost men. The Word of

God is the one lever that will lift them, not only

out of the ditch, but into the kingdom of God.

 

2. THE GOSPEL MISSION IS IMPORTANT AS A SOUL

WINNER. The question of how to evangelize the

masses is often discussed as if it were a problem

that nobody had solved, but it has been solved.

There is no experiment about it. There are many

who know exactly how to reach the masses with the

Gospel, and prove that they know how by doing it.

The Gospel missions are winning souls, and their

chief importance lies in this fact. I have in mind

a mission to which you can go any night in the

fifty-two weeks in the year, and you will see

anywhere from twelve to fifty men kneeling at the

altar and seeking the Lord Jesus Christ. Go to

many other missions and you will see practically

the same thing. The Gospel missions of America are

winning thousands upon thousands of poor lost men

and women to Jesus Christ every year; winning them

and saving{256}them, transforming them, making

them children of God, heirs of God and joint heirs

with Jesus Christ, by the power of the Gospel of

our Lord Jesus Christ. Here is where the prime

importance of the mission lies, not because it is

trying to do the work, but because it is doing it.

 

3. GOSPEL MISSIONS ARE IMPORTANT AS AN INSPIRATION

TO THE CHURCHES.Some of the most satisfactory

local revivals in the history of the country have

come from some member of a church attending a

mission, getting a new conception of the power of

the Lord Jesus Christ, and going home and kindling

his church. The fire has gone through the whole

church, and the church has been awakened to a

mighty work for God. Oftentimes when people who

have not even attended a mission have read reports

of the work, they have wakened to the fact that

Paul meant just what he said when he wrote that

the Gospel was the power of God unto salvation to

every one that believed, and they have gone to

work with new faith and new energy, and the Gospel

has proved a saving power in their own community.

 

4. GOSPEL MISSIONS ARE IMPORTANT AS A FEEDER TO

THE CHURCHES. Many of the best working members,

and sometimes the best paying members, in our

churches today are converts of missions. Many rich

people have gone from the regular churches down to

the missions, and have been there converted, and

have gone back to their churches to be a power and

blessing. Some people get an idea that all men who

are converted in missions are men of no gifts or

promise. It is a great mistake. Many a man who has

been converted in a mission is indeed from the

deepest depths of poverty and ruin, but it is sin

that has brought him to his present condition.

When the mission has gotten hold of him and won

him to Christ, oftentimes the man regains his old

position in society and business. A man who had

been mayor of a large Southern city, but who had

gone down through drink until he was a penniless

tramp, was converted in a New York mission. He

afterwards became the manager of one of the

largest publishing houses in America. The night of

his conversion, discouraged, disheartened,

despairing, he had started from his lodging house

to go and commit suicide in{257}the East

River. He had gone to a saloon to get one more

drink, was thrown out because he was penniless,

was brought into a mission by one who saw him

thrown out of the saloon, and was converted that

night. Many a man who is today in the regular

Gospel ministry was converted in a mission. One of

the brightest and most promising congregational

ministers that I know in our land, the beloved

pastor of a well-to-do church, was converted in a

New York mission.

 

5. MISSIONS ARE IMPORTANT AS FURNISHING A PLACE

WHERE MEMBERS OF OUR CHURCHES CAN WORK.

 

A Christian cannot grow without work. One of the

great troubles in many of our churches today is

that there is nothing to do. The members go Sunday

after Sunday and are fed and fed and fed until

they are dying of spiritual dyspepsia, apoplexy,

or both. A minister once said to me, "My greatest

difficulty is that Ihaven't anything for my

members to do." It was literally true. It was a

college church, and a parish in which there were

more workers than work. A mission gives Christians

something to do, something exceedingly inspiring

to do, something in which there is a tremendous

uplift to their own spiritual energy. What a

blessing would come to many of our wealthy

churches if the members of these churches who go

Sunday after Sunday and hear the Gospel of the

Lord Jesus would go out from these churches down

into the lowest parts of the city, and come right

into living touch with lost men and women, and try

to use the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ to lift

them up where they ought to be. If they should do

this, we would have new life in our prayer

meeting, we would not have two or three long and

labored prayers; we would have prayer after

prayer, short, right to the point, appeals to God

for His blessing upon this man or that woman. We

would have a new conception of the power of the

Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, we would have a

new vision of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. I

never knew Jesus as I know Him today, until I knew

what it was to go down among the poor and outcast,

and kneel right beside a dirty drunkard, and put

my arm about his neck, and whisper to him that

Jesus died for him, and that Jesus came to save

him and could save him, and then hear him with

breaking heart lift his voice to God in prayer,

and then see him rise a new{258}man in Christ

Jesus. I understood the Gospel then; I understood

Jesus then; I saw Jesus then as I never saw Him

before. If you wish to be a better Christian than

you ever were in all your life, if you wish to

understand the Lord Jesus as you never understood

Him before in all your life, if you wish to have

the spirit of prayer as you never had it before in

all your life, go to work in a mission. If you are

a pastor and wish to have a better membership than

you ever had in your life, send your members out

to work in a mission. If you have not a mission

where they can do it, start one, have one anyhow.

I pity from the bottom of my heart the man or

woman who does not know the inspiration, the joy

and uplift, that come from going down into some

mission where perhaps there are five, ten or one

hundred lost men and women, and just pleading with

them in the simplest language you can command to

take the Lord Jesus Christ who saved you.

 

II. HOW TO START A MISSION.

 

The best way to start a mission is to start it. A

great many people talk about starting but they

never start. In one city they had a great

gathering and were going to build a $200,000

building. They had a wonderful meeting, and one

man subscribed $30,000. Some one who was present

was asked what he thought about it, and he

replied, "I can tell you better after they have

started." They never started. The whole thing went

to pieces. Our country is full of people who are

going to start missions and other Christian

enterprises, but they never do it. The way to

begin is by beginning.

 

1. IN THE FIRST PLACE, BE SURE GOD WISHES YOU TO

START A MISSION. It is not enough to be sure that

you wish to start one. It is as a rule far better

to go and help a mission already existing, than to

go and begin a new one of your own. Many people

hear of the wonderful work they are doing in some

mission, and then go and start one without

consulting the Lord. There have been hundreds of

missions opened in this country that the Lord

never wished opened, and if those who started them

had gone to Him about it they would never have

been started.{259}

 

2. IF YOU ARE SURE THAT IT IS THE LORD'S DESIRE

THAT YOU START A MISSION, START WITH THE

DETERMINATION TO GO THROUGH WITH IT.People

attend conventions or read articles about

missions, and see only the bright side, they do

not see that the work is also full of

discouragements. If there is any work that is full

of discouragements, it is mission work; so when

you start, begin with the determination that you

will go through every obstacle, and then you will

get through.

 

3. BE SURE YOU GET THE RIGHT LOCATION. That is

very important. Be sure to consult God about the

place. There is a great deal in the place, and the

place that you think best may not be the best

place. Here are a few hints as to location:

 

(1) Go where there is the hardest work, not the

most attractive work, to do.

 

(2) Go where there is the most need for work.

 

(3) Go where there are a great many passers-by.

 

(4) As a rule the first floor is best for many

reasons, but there are some advantages in a

second-floor mission.

 

(5) A vacant store, saloon or theater will answer

the purpose for a mission excellently.

 

(6) Don't start on too large a scale. Everybody

seems to wish a bigger mission than anybody else,

and if they start on a large scale, as a rule in a

few months they have enough of it. Sometimes the

best place to start a mission is on a street

corner. Go and hold an open air meeting, and if

the Lord approves of your work He will give you a

more permanent place.

 

(7) The location of the mission must be largely

determined by the purpose of the mission. If the

purpose of the mission is to reach drunkards, the

place for the mission is near the saloons; if the

purpose of the mission is to reach fallen women,

oftentimes it is desirable to have the mission

right among the places that these women haunt,

though if possible there should also be a home

remote from the dens of iniquity to which the

converts can be sent. If the purpose of the

mission is to reach into the lives of the poor, of

course the location of the mission has to be

determined by that fact.{260}

 

4. FURNISH PLAINLY. Fancy missions as a rule are

failures. They are nice in theory, but plain ones

do the work.

 

5. _When you have made up your mind where you are

going to start, and have gotten everything ready,

advertise your meetings everywhere; in the houses,

in the stores, in the saloons and on the street._

Send men and women out to bring people in, to

"compel them to come in." Get as many consecrated

Christian workers as you can together. Expect

fresh infillings of the Holy Spirit as you seek to

win souls.

 

III. HOW TO SUPPORT THE MISSION.

 

1. DON'T SUPPORT IT ON CREDIT. Many people get in

debt and call it walking by faith. God says, "Owe

no man anything." Running into debt is not faith,

but disobedience. It is better to shut a mission

up than to run it into debt. Debt dishonors God.

If you run into debt you will be discredited, the

church will be discredited, God will be

discredited, sinners will stumble to perdition

over the dishonor brought to the name of Christ.

 

2. DO NOT SUPPORT YOUR MISSION BY FAIRS, SOCIALS,

IMITATION DIME MUSEUMS, OR ANYTHING OF THAT SORT.

The man who goes into the disgraceful methods of

raising church finances that are so common in our

day lacks faith in God.

 

3. DO NOT SUPPORT YOUR MISSION BY INDISCRIMINATE

SOLICITATION.Never go to an ungodly man for

money. God says that the sacrifice of the wicked

is an abomination unto the Lord. He certainly does

not wish us to use an abomination to support His

work.

 

4. IF YOU ARE ABLE TO DO IT, IT IS OFTENTIMES WELL

TO SUPPORT A MISSION OUT OF YOUR OWN POCKET.In

almost every large city there are many Christian

men who could support a mission. One of the most

efficient missions in the world was for years

supported by a business man out of his own pocket.

He worked six days in the week the entire day,

spent all the evenings at the mission, then went

fourteen miles to his home, and before he could go

to bed{261}would have a long list of people to

pray for. He was past fifty years old when he

began this work; he kept it up for many years, and

the work continues to this day. Another man of

wealth in another city put $10,000 or more a year

into a mission that he organized. He found that

that work paid so much better than his business,

that he finally turned his back upon his business

and put himself into the work. He is still in the

work, a young man at nearly three score years and

ten. It does not require a very rich man to

support a mission. Four young men in one city,

each of them working on a meager salary, supported

a very successful mission with scarcely any help

from others. Of course it required self-denial,

but they felt that the self-denial abundantly

paid.

 

5. ONE OF THE BEST WAYS TO SUPPORT A MISSION IS TO

HAVE AN INDIVIDUAL CHURCH BACK OF IT.The church

will be a blessing to the mission, and the mission

to the church. Every rich church ought to have one

or more missions that it is supporting.

 

6. THE BEST WAY TO SUPPORT A MISSION IN MANY CASES

IS TO SUPPORT IT BY THE FREE WILL OFFERINGS OF

THOSE WHO ATTEND IT.This is best even where the

attendants are all poor people. Very few realize

how much poor people can give and will give if

they are interested in a work, and if the work

really is of God. Far more missions as well as

churches could be self-supporting if the people

only believed it and undertook it. The people

always appreciate the mission better, and think

more of it, when they have money in it.

 

7. MISSIONS CAN BE SUPPORTED BY FAITH. If you are

SURE the Lord wishes you to carry on mission work,

ask Him for means and He will supply them. You

will not need to make personal solicitations from

anybody but the Lord. I say this not from

speculation, but from experience. Many others have

had the same experience.

 

IV. HOW TO CONDUCT A GOSPEL MISSION.

 

1. LET GOD CONDUCT IT. Missions often fail because

there is too much of man's machinery and man's

management. Cast-iron rules and cast-iron methods

of conducting missions, red tape and other {262}

nonsense, shut God out. Give your mission over

unreservedly to the control of God. Be sure you do

it -- seek His guidance and wait for it. The

promise of the thirty-second Psalm applies as well

to mission work as to other work: "I will instruct

thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt

go, I will guide thee with mine eye."The trouble

is, oftentimes we are not near enough to see the

glance of the Father's eye.

 

2. CONDUCT YOUR MISSION ALONG STRICTLY GOSPEL

LINES. Refuse to be switched off on to side

issues. Amusements and entertainments may be a

good enough thing in their place, but the time is

short and the Lord is at hand. We cannot afford to

be reaching out in such indirect and indefinite

ways. Thousands of souls are perishing, and the

only thing that has God's power in it to save is

the Gospel (Romans 1:16).A fine text for the

mission worker is, "I am not ashamed of the Gospel

of Christ, for it is the power of God unto

salvation to every one that believeth." The

missions that have been successful are the

missions that have held strictly to the Gospel,

the missions that have given the Gospel clearly,

simply and constantly. Experiments along other

lines are nothing new. They have been tried for

over a quarter of a century. I remember a church

which in my early life seemed to me a model

church. It had most cunningly devised machinery

for reaching the people -- lectures,

entertainments, clubs, classes, etc., etc. It did

reach the people, but it did not convert them. It

grew marvelously, but it was made up of such

heterogeneous and unconverted material that it

went to pieces and ended in a free-for-all fight;

yet every little while some new work is springing

up along these old and discredited lines, yet

imagining that it is striking out in new and

promising paths. The Gospel alone can do the work

we aim to do. Run your mission along Gospel lines

seven nights in the week.

 

3. TEND STRICTLY TO BUSINESS. Missions will not

run themselves. People attend a few meetings of a

successful mission, or read about them, and

conclude that missions are a fine thing. Then they

open one somewhere and expect it to go of itself,

and it does go -- to pieces. This has occurred

again and again. There is no form of Christian

work that demands more careful and prayerful

watching{263}and attention to business than

mission work. A single ill-conducted service in a

church may not do much harm, but a single ill-

conducted service in a mission is likely to have

far-reaching consequences of evil. One unfortunate

meeting in a mission may mar the work for years.

 

4. PUT ONLY TRIED MEN IN THE LEADERSHIP OF THE

MISSION. Use only men of irreproachable character,

and who have a good understanding of God's Word,

men of good common sense, and uncommon push. It is

too much the custom if a notorious sinner is

converted, to open a mission for him at once and

put him in charge. He has not been tested, and

nothing is known of his qualifications, but he has

a remarkable story. The condition of many missions

is simply horrible because of this sort of thing.

Of course such a man ought to be set to work, and

there is much that he can do, and do well, and

without any risk. He can be used to hand out

dodgers and to get people into the mission; he can

testify humbly and effectively as to what God has

done for him; very likely he can do most efficient

personal work, but for his own sake and for

Christ's sake, do not put him into any place of

leadership until he is tried, and has proven the

stability of his Christian character, his gifts

and his Bible knowledge, to be such as fit him for

the work: "Lay hands hastily on no man" (1_Timothy

5:22 RV); however good a man he may be, it will

hurt him to put him forward at once.

 

5. MAKE MUCH OF THE BIBLE. People in a mission

should be given a great deal of the Word of God.

Stable and well-rounded Christian character is

built upon a study of the Word of God. The

Christian character that is built merely upon the

foundation of experience is unreliable; it breaks

down easily; but the Christian character that is

built upon the Word of God never goes to pieces.

The converts and attendants ought to be encouraged

to study the Word for themselves. There should be

classes also for thorough systematic instruction

in Bible truth. There should be training classes

where they are taught how to use the Bible in

leading others to Christ. They should be

encouraged to make much use of the Bible in giving

their experience. In some successful missions

{264}the men always begin their testimony by a

quotation from Scripture, giving chapter and

verse.

 

6. MAKE MUCH USE OF TESTIMONY. There can be no

doubt of the great power of living testimony,

especially in mission work. Men and women who

regard themselves not only lost, but hopelessly

lost, come into the mission and there hear some

other man or woman who has been as deep down in

sin as themselves, tell the story of the saving

power of Christ. Hope is kindled in their hearts,

and they turn to Christ and are saved. There are

thousands of earnest Christians in our land today

who were saved through the testimonies of redeemed

men and women. Of course care has to be exercised

as to the character of the testimonies thus given.

We should be careful to see that it is genuine and

not hypocritical; we should see to it that the men

live out in their daily lives what they testify to

in the evening meeting. If men give their

testimony about their past sinful life in a

boastful way, they should be instructed in private

not to do this. Sometimes it is necessary to say a

word about it publicly. But the fact that there

are evils connected with the relation of our

experience is not a sufficient reason for

altogether giving up this mighty weapon of

testimony.

 

7. MAKE MUCH USE OF MUSIC. Get the best music you

can. Be sure it is converted music. Tolerate

nothing but a converted chorister, a converted

organist and a converted choir. Have an organist

that you can depend upon. An organist of modest

ability who is always there is much better than a

much better organist who is sometimes late or

absent. Get the best soloist you can, but be sure

they sing hymns that contain the real Gospel, and

sing them in the power of the Holy Spirit. Have

duets, quartets and choruses, but best of all,

have a lively congregational singing. Be careful

in your selection of hymns. Choose hymns that are

full of life and full of the Gospel. Sing them

over and over again until you have sung them into

the hearts of the hearers. Many a man will go out

of the mission unconverted, but the hymn that he

has heard will go on singing itself in his heart

until it has sung him into the kingdom of God. It

is wonderful how the Gospel in song sticks in the

minds of hearers.{265}

 

8. MAKE A GREAT DEAL OF PERSONAL WORK IN THE

MISSION. It is not enough to get those who desire

to be saved up to the altar, though that is a good

thing to do; have workers deal with them

individually. Be sure that the workers themselves

know how to do personal work. One great cause of

the instability of much of our mission work is

that there has been no thorough hand-to-hand

dealing with the converts.

 

9. LOOK AFTER YOUR CONVERTS. Keep a list of them,

and hunt them up in their homes if they have any.

If they have no homes, hunt them up in their

lodging houses or wherever they may be. Follow

them up persistently, instruct them individually

as to how to succeed in the Christian life. Be

watchful to see that they follow the instructions

given. Get them into some live church of Jesus

Christ. We ought to be careful as to the church

which mission converts join. Many churches would

prove to be an icehouse to them, and would freeze

them to death. It is oftentimes best to have the

mission itself organized into a church, where

there is regular church life, and where the

sacraments of Baptism and the Lord's Supper are

administered.

 

10. THROW AS MUCH OF THE WORK AS YOU CAN UPON THE

CONVERTS OF THE MISSION. Send them out into the

streets and saloons to invite people in; be

careful, however, about sending reformed drunkards

into saloons. Put the converts out on the street

corners and in front of the mission with dodgers.

Organize them into a choir and get them to sing.

Train them to use their Bibles in dealing with

inquirers. Work them into the Sunday School as

officers and teachers as fast as it is wise.

Organize them into lookout committees, sick

committees, hospital committees, jail committees,

etc. Set them to conducting cottage meetings. Use

them in open-air work.

 

11. HAVE PLENTY OF GOOD USHERS. Let them meet

people at the door and give them a warm handshake,

and show them a seat. Ladies are oftentimes the

best ushers for a mission. It has been a long time

since some of those who enter the mission have

come in contact with a pure woman, and her mere

presence is a benediction;{266}their hearts

are touched, and memories of olden days come to

mind.

 

12. LET NO ONE GO OUT WITHOUT A PERSONAL

INVITATION TO COME TO CHRIST. The best work in

many a mission is that which isdone with those

who start to go out before the meeting is over.

Some one stays near the door and follows out every

one who leaves and preaches Christ to them. Many

have been won to Christ this way, just outside the

mission.

 

13. HAVE NO CAST-IRON FORM OF SERVICE. It is well

to begin one way one time and an entirely

different way another. Let everything be

unconventional. Avoid getting into ruts.

 

14. NEVER BE AFRAID OF DRUNKARDS, THIEVES, THUGS

OR CRANKS. You have God back of you, and if you

look to Him, He will give you the victory every

time. Many things may happen that would frighten

an ordinary preacher out of his wits, but out of

these very unforeseen incidents blessing

oftentimes comes.

 

I was once conducting a meeting when a drunken man

rose in the back part of the audience and wanted

to speak. As he came forward I said, "Do you want

me to pray for you?" The man faced the audience

and broke out, "I am a damned fool!" then he

apologized for swearing. He said, "I did not mean

to swear." I said, "My friend, you told the truth,

you are a fool and you are damned, but Christ can

save you. Do you wish us to pray for you?" And

down the man went upon his knees. In a little

while a tall, muscular, drunken lumberman rose to

his feet and said he wished to ask a question. I

replied, "All right, what is it?" He said, "I wish

to ask about the blessed Trinity." I said, "Never

mind that now, Christ died for you; do you wish us

to pray for you?" The man replied, "I am not such

a fool but what I am willing to be prayed for,"

and down he dropped upon his knees. The power of

God came upon the meeting, and there was great

blessing that night.

 

15. DEPEND UPON THE HOLY SPIRIT. You may have the

right machinery, you may have the building and the

crowds, you may have even the Word of God itself,

but unless you have the power{267}of the Holy

Spirit to accompany the divine seed as you sow it,

your work will come to nothing. All this

machinery, unless the power of the Holy Spirit is

in it, is worse than useless, but if you have the

fire from above, you will win souls.

 

{268}

 

@12�� CHAPTER TWELVE

 

MEETINGS IN JAILS, HOSPITALS, POORHOUSES, ETC.

 

Jails, hospitals, poorhouses and other public

institutions offer a very important and

much-neglected field of operations for the devoted

soul winner.

 

I. IMPORTANCE AND ADVANTAGES.

 

1. MANY OF THE INMATES OF THESE INSTITUTIONS MUST

BE REACHED WHILE THERE, OR NOT AT ALL.Many of

them in fact spend pretty much all of their lives

there, and many others still will die there.

 

2. THE INMATES ARE OFTENTIMES IN A FAVORABLE MOOD

FOR THE RECEPTION OF THE GOSPEL.Things have gone

against them. Life looks hopeless. The Gospel,

which is full of hope, just appeals to their need.

Take for example the men in jail. They have found

out by bitter experience that "the way of the

transgressor is hard"; they are humbled and

sobered. They are very likely to be in a

thoughtful mood; they have much time for thought,

little opportunity in fact for anything else;

furthermore the whisky is out of them, and with

many of them the only time the whisky is out of

them is when they are in jail or prison. There

could not be a more favorable opportunity for

preaching the Gospel. I have known many men who

thanked God that they were ever sent to jail, for

there they heard the Gospel, some of them for the

first time, and others of them in a different mood

from that in which they had ever heard it before.

 

3. THE CONVERTS CAN BE FOLLOWED UP. A prisoner is

reached with the Gospel one Sunday in jail, he is

likely to be there the{269}next Sunday as

well, and perhaps for many Sundays to come, and

there is an opportunity to get him thoroughly

established before he is out in the world again.

The same is true of an inmate of a hospital; he is

reached one day, and is likely to be there where

he can be dealt with for many days to come.

 

4. THE INMATES HAVE TO ATTEND. In some instances

attendance is compulsory. When one is confined to

a sick bed in the ward of a hospital where a

religious service is being held, they are obliged

to hear the Gospel preached and sung. Further than

this, where the inmates of such institutions are

not compelled to attend, there is so little to do

that they are willing to go to anything for a

novelty.

 

5. THE RESULTS OF SUCH SERVICES ARE VERY LARGE. It

has oftentimes been our privilege in the Cook

County Jail to preach to fifty or more persons

there under charge of murder, besides great

numbers of others. Very many of the most desperate

and hardened characters have been converted in

jail services. There is scarcely any other work

that yields so important and so good results as

jail work. Some of the leading ministers and other

Christian workers of this country were converted

while incarcerated. One of the leading ministers

of one of our evangelical denominations, a man

whose name is known not only in this country but

in Europe, a man who has remarkable power of

preaching the Word of God, was first reached while

in jail. At that time he was a brilliant but

drunken lawyer. He was converted in jail, and has

been for many years an honored preacher of the

Gospel. In one of our cities a reckless young man

was incarcerated under charge of arson. He had

burned the property of his own father. His father

was himself a Godless man. While in jail this

young man was brought to Christ, and has been for

years a most devoted Christian at the head of a

very successful mission work. Jerry McAuley,

perhaps the leader in rescue mission work in this

country, was converted while in Sing Sing prison.

Christian workers should see to it that every

jail, poorhouse, and similar institution in the

land has a regular evangelistic service. The

formal services held under the city or state in

such institutions frequently are purely formal,

and of no real value. As a rule the best work is

that which is done by volunteers.{270}Service

should also be held in every hospital in the land

where it is possible to get an entrance.

 

II. HOW TO CONDUCT.

 

1. FIRST OF ALL, YOU MUST GET PERMISSION.The way

to get permission is to ask for it. The request

should not be made in the way of a demand, it

should be made with great tact and courtesy. If it

is possible to get influence back of your request,

get it.

 

2. KEEP THE GOOD WILL OF THE ATTENDANTS.Here is

a place where many zealous but unwise workers make

a mistake; they unnecessarily antagonize jailers

or keepers or nurses or other attendants. This is

the height of folly. It does not cost much to keep

the good will of people, and in a case like this

it is of inestimable value.

 

3. BE SURE TO VIOLATE NONE OF THE RULES OF THE

INSTITUTION.Be careful at the outset to find

what the rules of the institution are, and then

observe them to the very letter. It makes no

difference whether you think the rules of the

institution are wise or not, keep them anyhow. It

is not your business to make the rules, but to

observe them.

 

4. ATTEND STRICTLY TO YOUR OWN BUSINESS. Don't try

to run the whole jail or hospital. Some men when

they go to preach in an institution seem to be

seized with the idea that they own the whole

institution. I have known workers to go to work

among the inmates of a hospital, and then try to

get them to give up the use of medicine and accept

divine healing, or sometimes try to get them to go

to some other hospital they thought was better. In

such a case, the authorities are of course

warranted in turning the workers into the street.

 

5. GO REGULARLY.Regular services, week after

week, month after month, year after year,

accomplish far more than spasmodic efforts. One

great trouble in all this kind of work is that

there are so many people who get enthusiastic for

some weeks, and then their enthusiasm cools. When

institutions have a number of experiences with

this kind of work, they become unwilling to permit

{271}a new band of workers to take up again a

work that has so often failed in the past.

 

6. HAVE GOOD MUSIC, AND PLENTY OF IT.These

people get very little music, and they enjoy it.

Frequently they enjoy the music more than they do

the preaching, and it is easier to reach many of

them by a solo sung in the power of the Spirit

than it is by a sermon. Adapt your music to the

circumstances; for example, in a hospital the

music should not be loud or exciting; it should be

bright and comforting. A doleful tune in a

hospital may hasten the death of some of the

patients, but a bright, cheerful, Gospel tune is

likely to save the lives of some of the patients.

The music that is adapted to a hospital is

frequently not adapted to a jail, and vice versa.

 

7. PREACH THE WORD. Stick close to the Bible. Be

simple, plain, vivacious, right to the point.

 

8. BE WISE IN YOUR PRAYER.An indiscreet prayer

in a hospital may do much harm, so may an

indiscreet prayer in a jail or workhouse.

 

9. IN A JAIL BE CAREFUL TO AVOID ALL AIR OF

SUPERIORITY. Many an inexperienced man begins to

talk to the inmates in jail, as if he were an

angel and they were demons. Such a man will get no

hearing. Let the prisoners feel that you realize

that you are their brother. Do not assume a

patronizing air, avoid all unnecessary

sentimentality and gush.

 

10. MAKE USE OF TESTIMONY. Jerry McAuley was

converted through the testimony of Orville

Gardner. He had known Orville Gardner in the old

days as a desperate character in New York, going

by the nickname of "Awful Gardner." When he went

to Sing Sing prison and saw Orville Gardner in the

pulpit, he could hardly believe his own eyes; but

when Orville Gardner rose and gave his testimony,

it went home to Jerry McAuley's heart, and

thoroughly roused him to a study of the Bible

itself, with the result that he was converted in

his cell. There are many men in this country today

who in olden days have been inmates of jails and

{272}prisons -- notorious criminals -- but who

are today living consistent Christian lives. The

testimony of such a man has great weight with

other convicts.

 

11. DEAL INDIVIDUALLY WITH THE INMATES.The

public preaching does much good, but the personal

work does more, it brings matters to a personal

decision. The great majority of converts in jail

work come through individual work. It may be

difficult at first to get permission to deal

individually with the inmates, but if you are

wise, and win the confidence of the authorities,

you will get the opportunity in time.

 

12. MAKE A LARGE USE OF TRACTS AND OTHER GOSPEL

LITERATURE.Prisoners have so much time on their

hands that they are ready to read anything. Select

your literature very wisely. Goody-goody religious

literature is not what is needed, but that which

shows real ability and strength, and goes right to

the heart of things. There is no better literature

for use in jails and hospitals than that published

by the Colportage Division of the Moody Press. It

is possible to get free grants from this society.

While their prison fund is usually overdrawn,

somehow or other they manage to honor drafts made

upon them.

 

13. PRAY MUCH IN SECRET. Prayer is one of the

great secrets of success in all forms of religious

enterprise, but this is peculiarly true regarding

work in jails, hospitals and similar institutions.

If a record could be kept and published regarding

God's answers to prayers for work under such

circumstances, it would make a most interesting

and inspiring book.

 

{273}

 

@13�� CHAPTER THIRTEEN

 

REVIVAL MEETINGS

 

By revival meetings we mean consecutive meetings,

day after day and night after night, for the

quickening of the life and activity of the church,

and for the salvation of the lost. We speak of

them as revival meetings because such meetings

result from new life either in individuals or in

the church as a whole, and if properly conducted

always result in the impartation of new life to

the church and the salvation of the lost.

 

I. IMPORTANCE AND ADVANTAGES.

 

The importance of revival services can scarcely be

overestimated. There are those who say that we

ought not to have special revival meetings, but

should have a revival in the church all the time.

It is true that there should be a revival in the

church all the time. There was a continuous

revival in the apostolic church; there are

churches which have a continuous revival in these

days; but it is almost always the case that the

churches which have a continuous revival are those

which believe in and make use of special revival

services, and what are known as revival methods.

 

1. THE FIRST ADVANTAGE OF SPECIAL REVIVAL SERVICES

IS THAT WHICH COMES FROM REPEATED AND CONSECUTIVE

IMPRESSION.An unsaved man hears a sermon on

Sunday evening. An impression is made upon his

mind by the truth he has heard, but the impression

has not been profound enough to lead to his

acceptance of Jesus Christ then and there. Before

the next regular preaching service of the church

comes, the impression has faded away, and an

entirely new impression has to be made. If the

Sunday evening sermon had been followed up by

another on Monday evening, the impression of

Sunday evening would have been deepened; if that

had been followed{274}by still another sermon

on Tuesday evening, the impression would have been

made deeper still, and very likely before the week

was over, the man would have been converted. Only

those who have made a careful and prolonged study

of this matter can realize how important in the

work of bringing men to Christ is the element of

repeated and consecutive impression. Men who have

attended church for years, and who have been only

superficially impressed, are oftentimes readily

brought to Christ in a series of consecutive

services.

 

2. THE SECOND ADVANTAGE OF REVIVAL SERVICES IS

THAT, IF PROPERLY CONDUCTED, THERE WILL BE AN

UNUSUAL AMOUNT OF PRAYER, AND UNACCUSTOMED

EARNESTNESS IN PRAYER.Some one may say that

Christians ought always to pray, and so they

should, but we have to take the people as they

are. As a matter of fact, the average Christian

does far more praying in a time of special revival

services than he does at any other time. The

professed Christians who spend as much time as

they ought in regular prayer day by day, when

there is no special effort being made for the

salvation of the lost, are very rare indeed.

 

3. THE THIRD ADVANTAGE OF REVIVAL SERVICES IS THAT

AT SUCH TIMES cHRISTIANS PUT FORTH SPECIAL EFFORTS

FOR THE SALVATION OF THE LOST.Every Christian

should do everything in his power every day of his

life to lead men to Christ, but in point of fact

very few Christians do this. How often those who

are cold and indifferent and do almost nothing at

all for the salvation of the lost under ordinary

circumstances will display a great activity at the

time of special services, and not seldom those who

have never been known as workers before not only

take hold of the work during special meetings, but

continue it after the meetings are over.

 

4. REVIVAL SERVICES AWAKEN AN UNUSUAL INTEREST IN

THE SUBJECT OF RELIGION IN THE COMMUNITY. The

outside world is aroused to the fact that the

church exists, and that there is such a thing as

religion. They begin to think about God, Christ,

the Bible, eternity, heaven and hell. People who

are never seen in the house of God at any other

time in the year will flock there during revival

meetings. Many of them will be converted, and

others will become attendants{275}at the

church. They find out what the church has to

offer, and suddenly wake up to the fact that what

the church has to offer is just what they need.

 

5. AS A MATTER OF EXPERIENCE AND HISTORY, REVIVALS

HAVE BEEN GREATLY HONORED OF GOD. This is true in

the history of the church as a whole and also in

the history of local churches. The church of

Christ has been saved, humanly speaking from utter

ruin by the revivals which God has graciously sent

from time to time in its history. As regards local

churches, the churches which have grown and

prospered are those that have believed in and made

use of revivals. Study the yearbooks of the

various denominations, and you will find that the

ministers who have believed in revivals and have

fostered them in their churches, are the ones who

have been able to report from year to year

accessions to their church, and gifts to the

various branches of Christian activity. On the

other hand, it will be found as a rule, an almost

universal rule, that the ministers who have

pooh-poohed revivals have had their churches run

down on their hands. If there is anything that the

history of the church of Jesus Christ absolutely

demonstrates, it is the tremendous importance, if

not the imperative necessity, of revivals.

 

II. TIME TO HOLD REVIVAL MEETINGS.

 

When shall revival meetings be held in a church or

community?

 

1. WHEN THERE ARE INDICATIONS OF SPECIAL BLESSING.

An alert pastor who keeps in touch with his people

and the community will often be able to detect

signs of special interest and blessing. He will

notice a new interest in his preaching on the part

of his congregation. He will have a new sense of

liberty and power as he preaches. He will see

tears in the eyes of his congregation as he speaks

about sin and its consequences. People will come

to him for spiritual counsel and to be shown the

way of life. Perhaps members of his church who are

more spiritually alert than himself will say to

him that they think there are signs of blessing in

the church or community. All these things are

indications that God is ready to favor that church

or community with an especial{276}outpouring

of His Spirit, and arrangements should be made at

once to take advantage of these favorable

conditions, and to gather a harvest of souls, by

holding special revival services.

 

2. WHEN THERE IS SPIRITUAL DEARTH IN THE COMMUNITY

AND CHURCH. When the Gospel seems to have lost its

hold upon the people; when the congregations are

constantly declining and conversions are few; when

iniquity and infidelity are rampant in the

community, such a time is also an important one.

Special effort should be put forth to arouse the

church and to save the perishing. God has promised

His special blessing at such a time. He has said,

"When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the

Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard

against him" (Isaiah 59:19).When everything goes

hard in a church, and infidelity and irreligion

and immorality seem to triumph, the minister whose

trust is fixed upon God and in His Word need not

become discouraged. Let him cry to God with a new

earnestness and faith, and then go to work to

bring about the conditions upon which God is

always ready to bless His people.

 

3. REVIVAL MEETINGS SHOULD BE HELD IN EVERY CHURCH

EVERY YEAR.This is entirely feasible. The writer

of this book has been the pastor of four different

churches, all quite different from one another; a

village church with the usual village congregation

and environment, a young suburban church in a

large city, and an established metropolitan church

with a large and varied membership. In each of

these churches he found it quite possible to have

special revival meetings every year. Largely as a

result of these special revival meetings, each of

these churches had what could probably justly be

termed a continual revival, there being accessions

to the church at every communion. Many other

pastors ministering to churches of still different

varieties from these here described testify to the

same experience.

 

As to the time in the year when these services can

most wisely be held, this depends upon local

conditions. It seems to be the experience of most

pastors that the especially favorable time is the

week of prayer, and the weeks immediately

following. People expect something to be done at

that time, and to a certain extent{277}are

ready for it. There is, however, a growing

tendency to begin these meetings during Easter

week or earlier in Lent. This is an especially

favorable time in large cities on account of the

Roman Catholic and Episcopalian elements. In large

cities the social life is at an ebb at that time.

Even the theaters take this fact into

consideration. While we may not personally believe

in observing times and seasons and days, we ought

not to lose sight of the fact that other people do

believe in it, and we should take advantage of

this fact as giving us an especially good

opportunity of getting hold of people, and getting

them out to hear the Word of God.

 

III. HOW TO ORGANIZE AND CONDUCT A REVIVAL

MEETING.

 

1. When it has been decided that the time has come

to hold special services, A LETTER SHOULD BE

ADDRESSED TO ALL MEMBERS OF THE CHURCH, STATING

THE PLANS, AND REQUESTING THEIR INTEREST AND

PRAYER AND CO-OPERATION IN EVERY WAY. It is

sometimes well in connection with this letter to

give all members of the church some book to read

that will stir them up to self-examination, to

prayer and to effort. A book largely used by some

evangelists and many pastors for this purpose, is

the book, _How to Pray_, by the author.*It can

be secured in paper cover for this purpose at a

very low price. In the letter there should be a

request that all members should answer it,

pledging themselves not only to read the book that

is sent, but also to prayer and co-operation in

the work. The members of the church who have been

absenting themselves from the church service or

from the prayer meeting should be visited

personally and dealt with gently but earnestly,

and led to realize their responsibility to Christ

and His church, and also their responsibility

regarding the unsaved in the community.

 

*{In 2001, _How to Pray_ by R.A.Torrey is

currently in print in a copyrighted Whittaker

House edition, and is also available in a free

public domain and freely distributable etext

edition from the Christian Digital Library

Foundation {http://www.cdlf.org}. }

 

2. MEETINGS FOR UNITED PRAYER SHOULD AT ONCE BE

BEGUN.Sometimes it is wisest to hold these at

the central church, but oftentimes, especially

when the membership of the church is very much

scattered, it is better to have cottage meetings

at first, in the various neighborhoods of the

parish. These separate cottage meetings can

afterwards be brought together for a united

meeting at the church. If the revival services are

to be of a union character, it is well for each

church to begin prayer meetings by itself, and for

them afterwards{278}to come together for union

prayer meetings. There short addresses should be

given upon the importance of prayer and how to

pray, but the major part of the meeting should be

devoted directly to prayer. The people should be

instructed as to what they should pray for; they

should be drown out in prayer for the membership

of the church, then in prayer for the unsaved, and

not merely for the unsaved in general, but for

specific persons in whom they are interested;

their duty to uphold the hands of the pastor in

prayer should be emphasized; they should be

instructed as to the lines along which they should

seek God's help for the pastor -- in his personal

life, in his selection of topics to preach upon,

in his preparation of his sermons, and especially

that his preaching may be in demonstration of the

Spirit and of power (1_Corinthians 2:4; Ephesians

6:19); they should be encouraged to pray for a

special outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the

community. Oftentimes it is important to get them

to take a higher outlook than the needs of their

own local community, and to pray for a general

outpouring of the Spirit throughout the world.

 

3. IN THE NEXT PLACE, A CANVASS OF THE ENTIRE

COMMUNITY SHOULD BE UNDERTAKEN.The whole village

or city or section of the city should be carefully

mapped out, different districts assigned to

different workers, and every house and store in

the community visited. Those visited should be

informed of the meetings that are to be held, but

more important than this, as far as possible they

should be dealt with and prayed with personally in

regard to their salvation. If the services are to

be of a union character, the visitors should go

out two and two, each one representing a different

church in the community.

 

4. AFTER THIS PRELIMINARY WORK HAS BEEN DONE,

MEETINGS SHOULD BE ANNOUNCED AT THE CHURCH.The

number of meetings to be held each day will depend

very much upon the location and the interest. In

many places it will be possible to hold only an

evening meeting at first. In other places the

meetings can be begun with as many as three or

four meetings a day, for what may be best in this

line in one place is utterly impossible in

another. The ideal is a meeting for prayer, a

meeting for the study of the Bible on the part of

believers and an evening evangelistic service for

the{279}unsaved, with possibly a fourth

meeting for children; but this ideal is not

attainable in every community. Where it is not,

there should at least be in addition to the

evening meeting, a gathering for prayer. It may be

held for prayer and prayer alone, or it may be

wiser to have a meeting in the afternoon, part of

the time being given to prayer and part to the

study of the Word of God. One great reason why our

modern evangelistic movements have lacked the

old-time power is because the emphasis is not laid

upon the prayer meeting that was in former days.

In the great revival of 1857, more time and

strength was put into prayer meetings than into

anything else. In many places the meetings were

entirely prayer meetings. We have swung to the

other extreme, and in many cases evangelistic

meetings are entirely meetings for preaching and

singing. This is a great mistake. Wherever the

church becomes lax in united prayer, the meetings

will soon lose in power and come to a close as far

as any real results are concerned.

 

The question often rises whether it is wiser to

hold the meetings at a church or in a hall. This

will depend somewhat upon circumstances. Each

method has its advantages. Doubtless many people

can be gotten out to a hall or to an opera house

who will not enter a church; on the other hand, if

people are gotten out to church and converted

there, they will be more likely to remain in the

church after the special meetings are over than if

the meetings are held in a hall or opera house.

The wisest plan in many instances is to begin the

meetings in a church and then go to a hall or

opera house, and then back to the church before

they close, in order that those who have been

interested in the opera house may be accustomed to

and interested in the church before the special

interest is over. As to whether the meetings are

held in a church or hall oftentimes too is

dependent upon whether they are meetings of an

individual church or a union of several churches.

Here again there are advantages in each plan.

There is likely to be more harmony and united

effort and less controversy and suspicion if the

meetings are held by an individual church. On the

other hand there can be no doubt that a community

is moved by a union of all the churches in it, as

it is not moved and cannot be moved by revival

services held by an individual church. If revival

services are held in the summer, oftentimes it is

well to hold them in a tent.{280}

 

5. THE CHILDREN SHOULD NEVER BE FORGOTTEN IN TIMES

OF SPECIAL INTEREST. Special meetings for the

children should be held. As a rule they should be

held in the afternoon just at the time the school

is closing, so that children can go directly from

school to the meeting. They should be held at

least five afternoons in the week. More about

these children's meetings will be said in the

chapter upon children's meetings.

 

6. OF COURSE THE PREACHING IS OF VERY GREAT

IMPORTANCE IN THE CONDUCT OF REVIVAL SERVICES.

 

(1) WHO SHOULD PREACH?

 

The first question that arises is as to who should

do the preaching. Wherever it is possible, it is

well for the pastor of the church to do the

preaching himself. It is said that some pastors do

not have the evangelistic gift, and this is

doubtless in a measure true, but most pastors can,

to some extent, cultivate the evangelistic gift,

if they only will. There is a great advantage in

the pastor himself preaching. There is not such a

likelihood that the interest will suddenly die out

when the special services are over. When it is not

possible for the local pastor to do the preaching,

he can often call in the help of some neighboring

pastor who does possess the evangelistic gift.

Even when the pastor himself is an evangelist,

there is an advantage in calling in a fellow

pastor for a special series of meetings. His is a

new voice, and he is likely to preach the truth

from another standpoint from that to which people

have become accustomed. Many will go to hear him

out of curiosity who might not attend special

services conducted by the pastor, thinking they

could hear him any Sunday. But we cannot depend

altogether upon the local pastor or upon fellow

pastors. It is by the ordination of God that there

are evangelists in the church, and evangelists as

a class have been greatly honored of God in the

past history of the church. However clear it is

that the pastor is possessed of the evangelistic

gift, and however much he may have been used of

God in leading the unsaved to Christ, if he is

wise he will occasionally call to his help a man

whom God has especially appointed to the work of

an evangelist. Of course there are evangelists and

evangelists. Some evangelists are mere

adventurers, others are indiscreet and do much

harm, but there are beyond question{281}many

men whom God has called to this specific work, and

whom He wants in it, and there are indications

that God is going to multiply the number of really

reliable men who are in evangelistic work.

 

(2) WHAT TO PREACH.

 

What shall we preach in times of revival interest?

(1) First of all, we should preach the Gospel, the

Gospel that Christ died for our sins, according to

the Scriptures, was buried and rose again. We

should never get far from the Cross. We should

preach the atonement over and over and over again.

(2) We should also preach the utterly lost and

ruined condition of man. (3) We should preach the

bitter consequences of sin here and hereafter. We

should declare the whole counsel of God regarding

the judgment and regarding hell. (4) We should

present the truth about conversion, regeneration

and justification. (5) We should preach the

Divinity of Christ. There is great correcting and

converting and saving power in that doctrine.

(Acts 2:36-37; 9:20,22; John 20:31.)(6) We

should also preach to Christians about the Holy

Spirit and His work, about prayer, about the power

of the Word of God and the necessity of Bible

study. One will find much instruction in regard to

what to preach at such a time from the sermons of

such men as Moody, Spurgeon and Finney. A study of

the texts given in the first division of this

volume in connection with the different classes of

men with whom we have to deal in personal work

will suggest many texts and topics for sermons.

 

7. IN REVIVAL SERVICES THE MUSIC IS OF GREAT

IMPORTANCE. If possible there should be a large

choir of converted men and women. They should have

the leadership of a godly chorister. He should be

a man who not only knows how to sing himself, but

who can get others to sing. If there are in the

community, or if there can be secured, men or

women who can sing Gospel solos effectively in the

power of the Holy Spirit, their services should be

obtained. Impress upon the singers that they are

to sing not merely to interest the people, but to

convert them, and that they need a definite

anointing of the Holy Spirit for their work.

{282}

 

8. THE TESTIMONY OF SAVED PEOPLE TO THE POWER AND

BLESSING OF THE GOSPEL IS OF GREAT VALUE IN

SPECIAL REVIVAL SERVICES.Especially is the

testimony of those recently converted effective.

When men hear one who has recently come out from

their ranks tell of what Jesus Christ has done for

him, a longing is awakened in their hearts to find

the same Savior.

 

9. WHEN THE MEETINGS ARE HELD IN A CITY OF

CONSIDERABLE SIZE, IT IS WELL TO HAVE A NOON

MEETING TO WHICH MEN IN BUSINESS AND OTHERS ARE

INVITED.Many can be gotten hold of in this way

that can be reached in no other way.

 

It is well usually in a series of special services

to hold meetings for men alone, in which sin is

very plainly dealt with, and Christ as the remedy

for sin presented. Meetings for women are also

desirable. As a rule they should be conducted by

women, though there are some men who seem to have

a special gift in preaching to women. Generally,

however, the men who are most inclined to take

such meetings are least qualified to do it.

 

10. CLASSES TO TRAIN THE WORKERS IN HOW TO DEAL

WITH INQUIRERS ARE OF THE HIGHEST IMPORTANCE.

Oftentimes it is well to hold these training

classes before the general meetings begin, so that

from the very first meeting you can have workers

whom you may depend upon to do the work.

 

11. EVERY MEETING SHOULD BE FOLLOWED BY AN AFTER

MEETING.Definite instructions an to the conduct

of after meetings will be given in a separate

chapter.

 

12. ALL THE CHRISTIAN PEOPLE IN THE COMMUNITY

SHOULD BE SET TO WORK.They should be so aroused

upon the subject of religion that all they will

talk about everywhere is Christ and His claims

upon men. They should be encouraged to go from

house to house and store to store laboring with

people and endeavoring to get them to accept

Christ. Harm may be done in this way by indiscreet

workers, but the harm that is done will be small

indeed in comparison with the good that is

accomplished.{283}

 

13. IT IS VERY IMPORTANT TO MAKE USE OF GOOD

RELIGIOUS LITERATURE IN TIMES OF SPECIAL INTEREST.

Tracts and books should be generously used. The

Bible Institute Colportage Association has a very

large selection of the most useful literature

along these lines that can be secured at a very

low cost.

 

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@14�� CHAPTER FOURTEEN

 

THE AFTER MEETING

 

I. IMPORTANCE AND ADVANTAGES.

 

In successful soul-winning work the after meeting

is of the highest importance. Every tent meeting,

mission meeting and revival service should be

followed by an after meeting. The wise and active

pastor will also follow up every Sunday evening

service with an after meeting. Many a mighty

preacher fails to get the results he might from

his preaching because he does not know how to draw

the net. He is successful at hooking fish, but

does not know how to land them. A friend told me a

short time ago that he heard a man one evening

preach to a large congregation of men one of the

best sermons he ever heard, and continued my

friend, "I believe there would have been fifty

decisions just then but just at the critical

moment the evangelist did not know what to do, and

let the meeting slip through his fingers." He

asked them to stand up and sing some hymn and the

men began to go out in crowds. He tried to get

them together again, and there were some

inquirers, but nothing like the results there

should have been. Much good preaching comes to

nothing because it is not driven home to the

individual, and the individual brought then and

there to an acceptance and confession of Jesus as

Savior and Lord.

 

1. THE FIRST ADVANTAGE OF THE AFTER MEETING IS

THAT IT GETS RID OF THAT PORTION OF THE AUDIENCE

WHICH IS NOT IN SYMPATHY AND IS A HINDRANCE TO

CLOSE WORK.It enables us t