Evangelism/Problems Peculiar to Metropolitan Evangelism
Large and Best Halls—It has been a difficult problem to know how to reach the people in the great centers of population. We are not allowed entrance to the churches. In the cities the large halls are expensive, and in most cases but few will come out to the best halls. We have been spoken against by those who were not acquainted with us. The reasons of our faith are not understood by the people, and we have (p.39) been regarded as fanatics, who were ignorantly keeping Saturday for Sunday. In our work we have been perplexed to know how to break through the barriers of worldliness and prejudice, and bring before the people the precious truth which means so much to them.—Testimonies For The Church 6:31, 32 (1900).
The Practical Problem of Finding a Hall—The difficulties mentioned are the ones to be met in almost every place, but not in so manifest a form as in -----. We think Satan has made his seat in that place, to work out his deeds, that the laborers shall be discouraged and give it up....
We must seek wisdom of God, for by faith I see a strong church in that city. Our work must be to watch and to pray, to seek counsel of the One wonderful and mighty in counsel. One mightier than the strongest powers of hell can take the prey from Satan, and under His guidance the angels of heaven will carry on the battle against all the powers of darkness and plant the standard of truth and righteousness in that city....
Our brethren have been searching for a place to hold meetings in. The theaters and halls present so many objectionable phases that we think we shall use the skating rink, which has lately been used for religious and temperance meetings.... If we get a place to hold forth the word of life, it will cost money. God will make a place for His own truth to come to the people, for this is the way He has wrought.—Letter 79, 1893.
Securing City Evangelists—Now, when the Lord bids us to proclaim the message once more with power in the East, when He bids us enter the cities of the East and of the South and of the North and of the West, shall we not respond as one man and do His bidding? Shall we not plan to send messengers all through these fields and support them liberally? ... (p.40)
All our cities are to be worked. The Lord is coming. The end is near; yea, it hasteth greatly! In a little while from this we shall be unable to work with the freedom that we now enjoy. Terrible scenes are before us, and what we do we must do quickly. We must now build up the work in every place possible. And for the accomplishment of this work we greatly need in the field the help that can be given by our ministers of experience who are able to hold the attention of large congregations....
The Lord desires us to proclaim the third angel’s message with power in these cities. We cannot exercise this power ourselves. All we can do is to choose men of capability and urge them to go into these avenues of opportunity and there proclaim the message in the power of the Holy Spirit. As they talk the truth and live the truth and pray the truth, God will move upon hearts.—Manuscript 53, 1909.
“Highway” Evangelists—Elder -----’s ability as a speaker is needed in presenting the truth in the highways. When the truth is presented in the highways, the hedges will be opened and an extended work will be done.—Letter 168, 1909.
Extraordinary Efforts Demanded—In the cities of today, where there is so much to attract and please, the people can be interested by no ordinary efforts. Ministers of God’s appointment will find it necessary to put forth extraordinary efforts in order to arrest the attention of the multitudes. And when they succeed in bringing together a large number of people, they must bear messages of a character so out of the usual order that the people will be aroused and warned. They must make use of every means that can possibly be devised for causing the truth to stand out clearly and distinctly. The testing message for this (p.41) time is to be borne so plainly and decidedly as to startle the hearers and lead them to desire to study the Scriptures.—Testimonies For The Church 9:109 (1909).
Opposition, Expense, and Changing Audiences—I dreamed that several of our brethren were in council, considering plans of labor for this season . They thought it best not to enter the large cities, but to begin work in small places, remote from the cities; here they would meet less opposition from the clergy, and would avoid great expense. They reasoned that our ministers, being few in number, could not be spared to instruct and care for those who might accept the truth in the cities, and who, because of the greater opposition they would there meet, would need more help than would the churches in small country places.
Thus the fruit of giving a course of lectures in the city would, in a great measure, be lost. Again, it was urged that, because of our limited means, and because of the many changes from moving that might be expected from a church in a large city, it would be difficult to build up a church that would be a strength to the cause. My husband was urging the brethren to make broader plans without delay, and put forth, in our large cities, extended and thorough effort, that would better correspond to the character of our message. One worker related incidents of his experience in the cities, showing that the work was nearly a failure, but he testified to better success in the small places.
One of dignity and authority—One who is present in all our council meetings—was listening with deepest interest to every word. He spoke with deliberation and perfect assurance. “The whole world,” He said, “is God’s great vineyard. The cities and villages constitute a part of that vineyard. These must be worked.”—Testimonies For The Church 7:34, 35 (1902). (p.42)
An Expensive Work—It almost seems as if scarcely anyone dares ask a worker to go into the cities, because of the means that would be required to carry on a strong, solid work. It is true that much means will be required in order to do our duty toward the unwarned in these places; and God desires us to lift our voices and our influence in favor of using means wisely in this special line of effort.—Manuscript 45, 1910.
Hearty Co-operation Imperative—In our large cities a decided effort should be made to work in unity. In the spirit and fear of God the laborers should unite as one man, working with strength and with earnest zeal. There should be no sensational efforts, no strife. Let there be seen practical repentance, true sympathy, hearty co-operation, and decided emulation of one another in the grand, earnest effort to learn lessons of self-denial and self-sacrifice by saving perishing souls from death.—Manuscript 128, 1901.
Let us thank the Lord that there are a few laborers doing everything possible to raise up some memorials for God in our neglected cities. Let us remember that it is our duty to give these workers encouragement. God is displeased with the lack of appreciation and support shown our faithful workers in our large cities.—Manuscript 154, 1902.
Holding to the Work for a Fully Developed Conclusion—In efforts made in large cities one half of the labor is lost because they [the laborers] close up the work too soon and go to a new field. Paul labored long in his fields, continuing his work for one year in one place and one year and a half in another place. The haste to close up an effort has frequently resulted in a great loss.—Letter 48, 1886. (p.43)