By Reuben Archer Torrey
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 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 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.