Valuable advice from a Veteran Evangelist - Making a Gospel Mission a Success
John McAlpine, Troon
Looking back upon many fruitful missions in the Gospel there are some things I have observed which have contributed to the blessing that was given, and which I am persuaded will be as effective to-day when faithfully applied. Right in the forefront I would put
The increasing indifference amongst the unsaved makes prayer more imperative than ever. Let Christians meet together in small groups as frequently as possible and as they continue in intercession their hearts will become burdened about the condition of the unconverted. There are promises in the Word that we can present at the bank of faith and they will be honoured, such as Matthew 18. 19—“If two of you shall agree on earth as touching anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.” I suppose you cannot increase the power of a galvanic battery by increasing the dimension of the cells, but you increase the power of the battery by adding to the number of the cells. The larger the number of believers who congregate for intercession, the more blessing may be expected. I recall an occasion when Sunday morning prayer meetings increased in number till there were some hundreds present and there were few nights during the mission without genuine conversions. “This kind goeth not out but by prayer” is a word that has often sent us to our knees, as we have felt as powerless as the disciples to whom the words were first spoken. This is the sphere of conflict where the battle is either lost or won. It is helpful if Christians mention by name before the Lord those who are laid upon their hearts, for the promise is “Whatsoever ye ask the Father in my name, He will give it you”. Our Lord has told us that “Man ought always to pray and not to faint.” We OUGHT to pray, therefore it is a duty: we ought ALWAYS to pray, it is a continual duty: we ought always to pray and NOT TO FAINT, it is a persevering duty.
GETTING UNSAVED TO ATTEND.
The problem of getting the unconverted to attend Gospel meetings is admittedly a difficult one, but it is not insoluble. In this matter the co-operation of all the believers is essential. Every Christian is making contact with non-Christians in one way and another, and it should be our aim to do what in us lies to persuade them to accompany us to the services. Let me cite a case that may serve as an example of how it may be done. When holding a series of special meetings in a Lancashire town some years ago a Godly Christian woman told me about her longing that a sister of hers, who was very worldly, should be converted. This sister had come to spend a holiday in the town and we formulated a plan to get her interested. A Christian woman invited a few of us to tea, including the young woman for whose conversion we were praying, and when the meal was over we asked her if she would come with us to the service; Although it was evident she did not want to come, out of courtesy she consented. The power of God came down upon the meeting and she was deeply convicted of sin, and made a public confession of faith in Christ. I shall not readily forget how those two sisters fell upon each other’s necks and wept for joy. By all means let us gain some. For some time I have noticed that the majority of those who are being saved in our missions are people who were brought to the meeting by Christians, In the parable of the Great Supper in Matt. 22, the servants were sent forth to call them that were bidden to the wedding. They were also instructed to tell them (v. 4), and then we read in v. 10, “They gathered together all, as many as they found.” Let us go and do likewise.
FOLLOWING UP THE WORK.
It often happens that an interest is awakened in some people who do not during the mission make a confession of Christ. True fishers of men will seek to follow up such, and endeavour to persuade them to attend the ordinary services after the mission is finished. I recall an occasion when I felt impressed to remain for a time in a town after the tent mission had to be terminated owing to the severity of the weather. In the course of visiting some who had been awakened, I had the joy of leading a number to the Lord. Indeed most of the fruit was gathered in this way. “Behold the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth and hath long patience for it until he receive the early and latter rain.” Some of us remember to our sorrow how difficult we were to win for the Lord, but the reflection is helpful when dealing with others.