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EVERY CHURCH

ITS OWN

EVANGELIST



ry



BY

LOREN M. EDWARDS

r




THE METHODIST BOOK CONCERN
NEW YORK CINCINNATI

-.Hal..



THE NEW YORK
PUBLIC LIBRARY

822876

ASTOR LENOX AND
TILDEN FOUNDATIONS
R 1918 L



Copyright, 1917, by
LOREN M. EDWARDS



I

4



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CONTENTS

CHAPTER PAGE

^-7\;>^ Foreword 7

I. The Church's Evangelistic Pastor ... 11

II. The Church's Evangelistic Creed 26

^ III. The Church's Evangelistic Example. . 42

^' IV. The Church's Evangelistic Oppor-
tunity 62

V. The Church's Evangelistic Climate . . 78

^ VI. The Church's Evangelistic Cross .... 91

, VII. The Church's Evangelistic Crown . . . 104

Afterword 122



rc^



Appendix 124



TO MT FATHER, THE REVEREND CHARLES C. EDWARDS,
D.D., MY FIRST PASTOR, AT WHOSE ALTAR I MADE MT
FIRST CHRISTIAN CONSECRATION AND FROM WHOSE
FRUITFUL MINISTRY I LEARNED MY FIRST LESSONS IN
PASTORAL EVANGELISM, AND TO BELLE MCCLAIN
EDWARDS, WHOSE MOTHER LOVE AND PRAYERS HAVE
STAYED ME IN MY CHRISTIAN EXPERIENCE AND
HAVE HELPED TO HOLD ME IN THE PATH OF EVAN-
GELISTIC MINISTRY, THIS VOLUME IS GRATEFULLY
AND AFFECTIONATELY IflSCRIBED BY THE AUTHOR.



FOREWORD

The man has not yet appeared who is to
say the final word on evangelism, nor is the
time ripe for saying it. The time is always
ripe, however, for the recital of experience in
a field so vast and yet so vital, so comprehensive
and yet so central, as the evangelistic field.

Evangehsm cannot be epitomized in a sen-
tence, it cannot be compassed in an epigram,
it cannot be reduced to a formulary statement.
It is so much a part of the religious life of the
church that it cannot be galvanized into un-
changing forms nor comprehended in unchang-
ing methods.

If it is to reach the life of the day, it must
express itseK in the nomenclature of the people;
if it is to win in the midst of the intense social
and commercial struggles and allurements, it
must adapt itself to modern methods, literally
becoming "all things to all men."

This modest volume is not an attempt to

present an exhaustive treatise in evangelism.

It is not a statement of theory nor a philosophy

of evangelistic procedure.

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EVERY CHURCH ITS OWN EVANGELIST

It is merely the testimony of a pastor who
has stressed the evangelistic note during a
ministry covering seventeen years and has used
as a working basis the hypothesis of personal
and social redemption as his lifework. Since
it has been found to be successful under diverse
conditions and over the stretch of these years,
he feels that certain deductions are reasonably
safe.

While giving full recognition and cordial
sympathy to those forms of social and world
evangelism which are now much in public
discussion, and while trying with all possible
fidelity to do a pastor's full work in the leader-
ship of community and social reconstruction
according to Christian principles, yet the limits
of this discussion are, necessarily, such that
those features of evangelism must be over-
passed. For the present, therefore, the scope
of our treatment will be the field of personal
and local church evangelism, which presents to
the pastor its urgent challenge and from which
he is able to reap rich harvests.

No special literary merit is claimed for this

book, but in the hope that experiences which

have been stimulating and methods which have

been successful and conditions which have in

8



FOREWORD

them the elements of general interest may
perform a larger service, the activities of a
busy pastorate have been punctuated with
preparation for this work.

The evangelistic leaders of various com-
munions have been a constant inspiration to
me, and their plans and methods have been
adapted with utmost freedom to the condi-
tions with which I found myseK confronted.
The nature of this book removes the necessity
of a complete bibliography, and yet there are
listed in the Appendix such discussions as
have been of special service in evangelistic
preaching and plans.

Many have written and spoken on the
various aspects of this theme. Out of the
studies of the years it is not unlikely that
absorption has been so thorough as to bear
even yet strong resemblances to the thoughts
and utterances of others.

The most that can be said now is that such
processes are quite unconscious at the date
of writing, except where quotation marks in-
dicate a direct following of another's trail.

It will be observed that the deductions
herein made are the result of evangelistic
experience in various kinds of pastoral fields —



EVERY CHURCH ITS OWN EVANGELIST

rural, village, suburban, and city. Methods
and plans must always be adapted to the
local situation, but many of those detailed in
these pages have been operated with gratify-
ing success on charges out in the open country
as well as in town and city.

Much of the material used in the following
pages has been employed in public addresses
on evangelism at conferences, colleges, district
meetings, and institutes. In the assurances
given on such occasions that it might be used
of God in a wider range of service it is now
committed to publication with the hopes and
prayers of

The Author

Baltimore, August, 1917.



10



THE CHURCH'S EVANGELISTIC
PASTOR

The pastor of every evangelical church
should be his own evangelist. It seems almost
gratuitous to pause longer than is required
for the mere statement of such a proposition.
From the earliest traditions of the churches,
throughout the teachings of the fathers, on
to the latest, freshest experimental triumph,
the constant ideal, the highest goal, the loftiest
aim, the consuming passion of the real prophet
of God, is evangelism in some form.

And yet when one ponders the fact that in
five of our greatest denominations more than
thirty per cent of the local churches report
not a single accession on confession of faith
in twelve months' labor, the way is lighted
for just one conclusion, namely, that this
evangelistic ideal for pastors has not functioned
to any large extent.

To be sure, an exaggerated statement cuts
through its own scabbard and dulls itself, and
an undue emphasis upon evangelism in the

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EVERY CHURCH ITS OWN EVANGELIST

program of the pastor defeats its own purpose.
There are many lines of ministerial activity.
The minister is a religious teacher, his duties
are didactic, his training and habits are those
of the scholar, his workshop is his study.
Therefore there is some show of truth in the
contention on the part of many preachers
that their scholarly tastes and pursuits unfit
them for evangelists. "I am not an evangelist,"
announced the pastor of a large church, with
a suspicion of superiority in tone and man-
ner.

No one in a moment of sanity would cast
any aspersions at broad scholarship. Neither
would he discredit learning on the part of
the preacher. The minister needs the deep
and strong foundations of intellectual train-
ing for the fine structure of his later serv-
ice; his scholarship can be none too thorough
and none too accurate. But the scholar's
besetting temptation is in the direction of
coldness. He finds it difficult to keep human
interest alive in the midst of his studies of an-
tiquities or of abstractions of thought. More-
over, he is likely to give abnormal emphasis to
points of microscopic value while the currents

of truly great interest sweep past him unnoticed.

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THE EVANGELISTIC PASTOR

One who spends all his time digging into
Greek and Hebrew roots, who exhausts his
sympathies upon Egyptian mummies or ancient
Hittites, or the inhabitants of buried Drehem,
comes to feel that an iota subscript or a vowel
point is a real factor in human destiny, that
a Sumerian record of the sale of a box of pet
parrots is an absorbing human document, and
that if some storied king cannot be located as
to dynasty, century, and circumstances, civil-
ization in this day cannot advance.

Scholarship may adorn the pulpit as a queenly
gown adorns a lovely woman, but scholarly
activities should not overshadow all else. Let
our learned ministers lay their scholarly attain-
ments on the altar of the church, let them divide
their time of digging between Greek and
Hebrew roots and the darkened haunts of
vice and the festering purlieus of the wretched
all around them. Let them not exhaust their
sympathies upon the entombed mummies of
ancient cities, but save some portion of this
alabaster ointment for the weary heads and
the tired hands and the crushed hearts of
neighbors in the next block and of folks who
get their mail at the same post office. Let
them know that humanity in our day needs
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EVERY CHURCH ITS OWN EVANGELIST

even more than erudition and intellectual
brilliancy and the knowledge of encyclopaedic
learning, the red blood of encouragement, and
the warm fragrance of love.

Even a scholarly minister can take fire with
a holy passion for man, while a savant in the
pulpit may incandesce with the white fervor
of evangelism.

The minister is also a pastor, a visitor
throughout his parish, a caller on sick and
needy and afflicted. Yet no amount of parish
work and no number of pastoral calls can
atone for failure in the field of evangelism. In
truth, if the pastor will carry into his parish
visits the strength of Christian courage, the
optimism of Christian hope, the beauty of
Christian love, he will evangelize the peo-
ple.

The choice of Dr. Jesse O. Peck has become
classic. He declared that if his salvation de-
pended upon his winning a thousand souls to
the Christian life within ten years, and that
if he were given the option of exclusive pulpit
ministry or of exclusive personal interviews,
as he valued his eternal salvation, he would
choose the personal method. That great evan-
gelistic pastor of the last generation has spoken

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THE EVANGELISTIC PASTOR

for all pastors who sense the evangelistic oppor-
tunities of parish labors.

Again, the minister is an organizer, a pro-
moter, an executive, a man of administration
and action. He must deal with plans and
organizations, facts and statistics, property and
finance. But no amount of mere hustle, no
display of business genius, no power of admin-
istration can rescue from pathos the pastoral
career of a man who wins nobody to Christ.

Bishop Edwin H. Hughes once sat at my
table and talked of a seminary friend then
holding a charge within his episcopal area.
Upon special inquiry on my part, concerning
this bright, well-equipped young man, the
Bishop made this statement: "The trouble
with that brother is that he has never dis-
covered any form of evangelism into which
he could fit his abilities." He spoke slowly
and kindly, but I could not have felt worse
if he had pronounced his obituary. In fact,
when you can say of any pastor that he has
never discovered any form of evangelism into
which he can fit his abilities, you have pro-
nounced his obituary.

The demands of our day are strict and
increasingly keen. There is no place in the
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EVERY CHURCH ITS OWN EVANGELIST

modern pulpit for a lame, even though fiery,
exhortation to hide the ghastly nakedness of
one's utterance under the protecting garment
of "gospel preaching."

You can never kindle the flame of true
evangelism with such abominations as barren-
ness of thought, laziness of study, or shallow-
ness of preparation. Such materials will do
for a smudge, but when you blaze and glow
with the fervent heat of evangelistic incandes-
cence there must be fuel of more substantial
and permanent character.

I entered the ministry from a parsonage
home, a home whose Christian influence was
suflSciently wholesome and virile to send three
sons into the itinerancy of the Methodist
Episcopal Church. From the faithful, fruit-
ful ministry of my father I first learned that
the pastor's central task is evangelism.

I recall now, after the lapse of more than
seventeen shuttling years, the rude shock that
came to me at the first meeting of the pastors
of the district after my first winter's cam-
paign was over. I had come to that spring
meeting fresh from the victories of five months'
almost constant evangelistic labor. It had
been a winter of severe testing to me, but one

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THE EVANGELISTIC PASTOR

of genuine triumph. It has always been a
matter of sincere gratitude that God put his
seal of approval upon my ministerial commis-
sion in the results of that first year's cam-
paign for souls. In the alembic of that first
year's revival effort I tested niy call and found
it divine.

With an afflatus not unnaturally coming
from such spiritual triumphs I went to the dis-
trict meeting of ministers. What was my
amazement when I heard expressions from
several of the older pastors indicative of doubt
or failure at the point of evangelism. One
man, then holding a prominent charge in the
district, admitted that he really did not know
how to lead men into the Kingdom. Another
man, past his prime, but beloved by all, con-
fessed that he had once had the evangelistic
passion, but had lost it, and that, whereas his
earlier ministerial years had been spiritually
fruitful, his later years had been barren.

Such sentiments were staggering and might
have unsettled me just then but for two things:
one was the continued evangelistic fruitfulness
of my father's ministry, and the other was
the victorious winter through which I had

just passed.

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EVERY CHURCH ITS OWN EVANGELIST

The evangelistic ideal for the pastor I have
never lost, but have tested it in a great variety
of churches and conditions: in the conservative
rut-ridden country church; in the weak subur-
ban church, where there was scarce enough
substance to hold the society together; in a
debt-burdened church with a dilapidated build-
ing; in an average county-seat church, where
the people were satisfied with past attain-
ments; and in the great Memorial Church, the
gift of a millionaire family, where the people
sit in mahogany pews and where furnishings
and appointments are the utmost refinement
of taste and costliness. In every case the
evangelistic program was given a chief place,
and in every case carried the day.

Again, the pastor is the logical leader in the
evangelism of any church. It is not necessary
to repudiate the professional evangelist; it is
not seemly to criticize those who are sweeping
great cities with the public evangelistic appeal;
it is not wise to refuse all fellowship with those
who promote the union tent and tabernacle
campaigns which have seen such a vogue.
Movements like these have their place and
have accomplished spectacular results. Such
evangelists have written their names large in

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THE EVANGELISTIC PASTOR

the religious history of our nation. God had
use for D wight L. Moody; he has use for
"Billy" Sunday and Gipsy Smith and Torrey
and Chapman. Without doubt he has use
also for many men of smaller ability and
influence who are devoting their entire time
to evangelistic work.

There come times in the history of almost
any community when great gain accrues from
a united evangelistic appeal, with larger re-
sources than can be commanded by a local
church, and with a mightier impact upon the
strongholds of iniquity. But certainly such
times are exceptional and occur but once or
twice in the period of a given pastorate. Let
the pastor know that the evangelistic task, even
if temporarily taken by others, is fundamentally
his own. If some Hercules strides his way
and lifts his burden from his shoulders, let
the pastor remember that he is the Atlas that
must speedily resume his world and carry it
through the years.

Expediency may direct various plans of evan-
gelistic leadership, neighboring pastors may be
enlisted, different helpers may be employed,
singers and personal workers may be secured
in special campaigns, but, year in and year

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EVERY CHURCH ITS OWN EVANGELIST

out, month in and month out, at the center
of the mighty evangehstic task of the church
is the pastor.

Only once in my ministry have I employed
an evangelist to conduct a campaign in my
church, and only once has my church united
in a general community-wide movement of this
character, and that was in addition to our reg-
ular campaign in our own church. For the re-
mainder of the time I have conducted my own
work in this field, with special singers now and
again, and particular help for a day at a time,
in some instances from nearby ministers.

However, in a ministry of five years in one
church, during which time revival campaigns
were conducted each year and additional serv-
ices at the Easter seasons, I have been my own
evangelist throughout.

Upon going to that church, with pastoral
evangelism an established policy and practice
in my ministry, I realized that such a pro-
gram would be subjected to a new and unusual
strain. The situation was extraordinary and
in certain features very trying. Within a few
weeks after entering upon the pastorate, we
dedicated what is often described as "the
cathedral of Northern Indiana Methodism."

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THE EVANGELISTIC PASTOR

Stately in architectural grandeur, chaste and
charming in its dignity, rich in its furnishings
and decorative appointments, it might be re-
garded as a difficult church in which to see
evangelism flourish. The fact that the build-
ing is a gift of a wealthy family as a memorial
to a father and mother seemed to accentuate
the delicacy of the situation so far as evan-
gelism was concerned.

That such was the current thought is re-
flected in the remarks of a brother minister
who exclaimed, "Imagine the tears of penitents
on a mahogany altar!" These conditions urged
me to gather the entire officiary of the church
at a dinner and to speak after this very direct
fashion: "You are the officials and I am the
pastor of this church, which has been dedi-
cated to the worship of God. I believe in evan-
gelism and I hold the assumption that you
believe in it likewise. We must not consider
that the dedicatory services for this building
have been completed until that mahogany
altar has been bathed with the tears of pen-
itents. We expect to win people to a life of con-
secration to Christ and his service, we expect
to conduct campaigns of evangelism, we expect

to give our church a constant exposure on the
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EVERY CHURCH ITS OWN EVANGELIST

sunny slope of evangelism. We cannot come
too soon to a complete understanding on a mat-
ter so vital. Absolute cooperation on the part
of pastor and officiary is indispensable to suc-
cess. If we enter a revival campaign, we must
enter it together and must stand together; but
if not, we may as well know the worst at once."
There was not a dissenting voice when the
vote was taken.

In the month's revival campaign which fol-
lowed there were more than one hundred and
fifty conversions, and on the following Easter,
that Easter when nearly all Indiana and Ohio
were deluged with the worst flood of a genera-
tion, I baptized and received into membership
almost one hundred persons. During that year
there were two hundred and twenty -five acces-
sions to the church, the last two being an aged
couple who joined on that Easter morning.
After receiving all the others, we were about
to begin the doxology when the final invitation
was given. These two old people were present;
each was over seventy-five; they had been
converted in youth and for many years had
been stanch Christians; but they had moved
to the city from the little country church and
had decided to take a religious "rest." Such a

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THE EVANGELISTIC PASTOR

course, all too common, registered itself in
spiritual atrophy, becoming more "rust" than
"rest." But they had come to church that
Easter morning and their hearts had been
strangely warmed. The service was a spiritual
voice calling them back to consecration. The
dear old lady was crippled, so the husband
came to the altar, broken with emotion, to
tell me that he and "ma" wanted to begin
anew their Christian lives and be counted once
more among the forces of the church. Just
as he was explaining that she was so crippled
she could not walk to the front, there she came
hobbling along and reaching the side of her
companion, leaned up against him as she gave
me her hand.

Standing in the choir was one of the donors
of the Memorial Church. He completely broke
down. The entire service had profoundly
moved him, and as the service closed he made
this remark to his pastor: "You know some-
thing of the trying experiences through which I
have passed; you are aware that there has
come to me just about every sort of trial, and
yet this is the first time as a mature man that
I have been absolutely overcome. This morning
during the service of baptism and reception
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EVERY CHURCH ITS OWN EVANGELIST

of members, I recalled the money and thought
and attention to detail that have gone into
this building, and if nothing else ever happens
in this church besides what we have seen this
morning, it is worth every dollar of the in-
vestment."

But something else has happened, for
evangelism has become an established program
in this church, and the pastor is expected to
conduct the revival campaigns just as certainly
as he is expected to preach on Sunday.

If there ever was a day when evangelism
was considered an inferior type of ministerial
activity that day has, happily, passed. Men
of the broadest training, brightest intellect,
keenest scholarship, are devoting themselves
with abandon to the evangelistic phases of
their ministry.

In the introduction to his book on The Death
of Christ, the late Professor James Denney, of
Glasgow, refers to a remark once made by
Plato, like this: "If kings were philosophers,
or philosophers kings, we should have the
ideal state." To which Professor Denney per-
tinently adds, "If evangelists were theologians,
or theologians evangelists, we should at least
be nearer the ideal church."

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THE EVANGELISTIC PASTOR

Now that our strongest pastors are truly
evangelistic, and are bringing the rich treasures
of their learning, the fine capacities of their
brains, the warm affections of their hearts, the
keen interests of their studies, the broad
reaches of their achievements and centering
them on the problems of evangelism in their
churches, we are soon to light upon a condition
that will surely set the angel choir singing a
new doxology.

When the pastor is the evangelistic leader,
then the local church has started in the direc-
tion of its largest triumph, and the Kingdom
has begun to come.



n

THE CHURCH'S EVANGELISTIC CREED

The church beheves in evangelism. This
assumption is impHcit in our study and is
fundamental to the great movements for the
building of Christ's kingdom.

It believes, first, in Pentecostal evangelism,
its comprehensive program, its authoritative
purpose, its practical plan, and its easy adapta-
bility to the conditions of our day. We usually
describe Pentecost in its extraordinary and
miraculous features. For example, we speak
of the sound, like the rushing of a mighty wind;
yet the sound was but an alarm bell to call
the people to the place of assemblage. We re-
fer to the strange utterance of the disciples, in
that the peoples of the various races heard the
gospel in their native language, yet that was
but a temporary expedient to bring the Chris-
tian message speedily to the polyglot multi-
tudes gathered in Jerusalem for the feast. Or
we call attention to the tongues, often pictured
as forked flames crowning the disciples' heads,

26



THE EVANGELISTIC CREED

yet these were but symbols of the universal
testimony for Christ.

These features were but the signs and the
circumstances of the real Pentecostal wonder,
which is too often obscured under the emphasis
upon these unusual and emergent measures-
The wonder of Pentecost was simply this:
that God's personal plan for world redemption
was in full operation through the testimony
of Spirit-filled disciples, regardless of rank, or
order, or sex, or social standing.

"They were all filled with the Holy Spirit
and began to speak" — all of them. Not apostles
only, not men only, not the eloquent only, but
everyone had an experience and everyone had
a testimony.

Small wonder that Peter identified this
demonstration with Joel's ancient prophecy
which described the gift of spiritual proclama-
tion as poured out on all classes, even to men
and women slaves.

Just as long as the Pentecostal emphasis is
placed on that strange noise, or on the special


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