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Evangelistic Endeavor -- 11 (Mon, 9/18)

MONDAY, 9/18

Today is the day where we do no work at all on the meeting and we are living out the Sabbath principle. I thought I would share a few personal thoughts about the series.

This is a marathon. I’m exhausted already and we’ve only done 8 out of 24 meetings. In all honesty I don’t want to be in “church” this much and I don’t really expect others to either. It’s just way too much. What’s funny is some of the old school guys tell us about the glory days of 3 months, 6 nights a week series. So, I guess I have it good but I still just think it’s way too much. It’s hard for me to put on my happy face and greet people and stay interested. I’m not really learning anything new and it’s just really hard to stay motivated.

Second, it’s wrong to separate families to do God’s work. It is Seminary policy that all NAD students have to help with a field school. Basically, it’s mandated that husbands leave their wives and children for at least a month, usually six weeks. Spouses and children are allowed to come but virtually all the wives have jobs that they need to keep to pay the bills and the kids are in school. I think this policy is extremely anti-family and sets a bad example for what our church is about. We are telling everyone that the church is more important than our families. I’m glad Shari was able to come this weekend because we couldn’t have survived for a whole month. I’m married for a reason, because I want to sleep in the same bed with my wife. I feel that I am breaking the vows I made to Shari and it’s really sad that the church is forcing me to do so. One guy here had to leave his month-old baby and wife to “work for the Lord.” This policy needs to be seriously re-thought.


Anonymous said…
This type of evangelism was created in different times when women didn't work, especially pastors' wives.

Having done a field school of evangelism myself, I remember the strange intensity: the pressure for numbers, the disconnection from the actual methodology, the amount of time invested by so many people.

Not to mention how this is supposed to work for the converts. Having people come out for meetings for weeks at a time just doesn't fit how most people with families and jobs and lives actually exist. I remember an evangelist actually counting the group of folks from a local psych halfway house who wandered in for a few meetings. I drove a few of them back a couple of nights, they had no idea what was going on - but they were counted and a few were baptised. And the evangelist is a nice, relatively thoughtful guy.

Trevan, it would be great if you did a quick sociological analysis of who shows up one night. How many families, socio-economic situation, age, etc?

I would suggest that this model, which worked well enough in small towns, cannot compete with the diverse media sources of religious information today. We are asking people to invest more time during the week in joining our church than most good, active members spend. Who is attracted by that?
spo said…
As your wife I most definately agree that this does not seem right! Granted, it has made me depend so much more on God because I go to Him with my loneliness and all, but I think God would prefer me happy and in good spirits.

This experience has created a very sour taste in my mouth for the seminary and the "old school". As Alexander has rightly said: these methods worked in small towns in a time where there were no TVs no round the clock jobs, virtually no single parents, and nothing better to do. If we are honest with ourselves and look at the places where "baptisms" are bountiful with this evangelistic method, we will realize that these conditions are still very much prevalent.

So many people have already commented on the need to find new methods, but for me, your wife, who is sitting at my job wondering when I will be able to talk to you again, it become absolutely critical that we find a new method! No spouce or family should have to go through this.
Anonymous said…
The "old guys" who are telling you about three months of six nights a week are obviously not old enough to have actually been there. I have been working on a book that involved looking at contemporary documents of the time from early and mid-20th century public evangelism and the three month campaigns were four or five times a week--Friday night, Saturday night, Sunday evening and Wednesday evening usually--in a time when a lot of Americans went to church Sunday morning, Sunday evening, and Wednesday night. I saw one Ministry article from the 1960s about a campaign that last all summer and included preaching on Friday night, Sunday night and Wednesday night and a "family social hour" on Saturday night with "Bible movies, vegeburgers, ping pong" etc. I saw a letter from an evangelist in the 1890s who had a campaign for six or seven months and preached on Sabbath morning, Sunday evening and Wednesday night. The intense five or six nights a week schedule came in during the 1950s and 1960s when Fordyce Detamore introduced "the short campaign," which was usually three weeks. Most of his baptisms were among returning former members.
Anonymous said…
“When a man has taken a new wife, he shall not go out to war or be charged with any business; he shall be free at home one year, and bring happiness to his wife whom he has taken." Deuteronomy 24:5.

It's a shame this little jewel of a text never made it into the canon of "proof texts" the Adventist church adores.

My heart goes out to you. I am employed in the secular workplace, yet some of the married men I work with miss the wife and kids, especially when the work takes them well past "quittin' time!" I also know they try to make up for the long hours and take a day off now and then to spend with their families.

It's sad when the church preaches "family values," but for ministers, who are put on a pedestal already, have to be separated like this. And it's so ironic that among one of the unwritten rules of our Adventist subculture is that a minister should get married...but then he/she has to be separated from the spouse...

Did not Ellen White make an emphasis in Patriarchs and Prophets that one factor that contributed to the downfall of Adam and Eve was that they separated from each other momentarily?

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