Gospel Work and other Assembly Activities
D. C. Hinton, Hayes, Middx.
ALL for the Man of Sorrows,
All for the Man of Grief;
Say, dost thou shrink from the burden?
Wouldst thou request relief?
Relief from the cross of Jesus,
Who suffered such anguish for you;
To be free from reproach for Jesus—
My soul, can this thing be true?
What, share in His throne and glory,
Yet shrink from His cross and shame?
Enjoy all the blessings of sonship,
Yet blush to acknowledge His Name?
Nay, soul, away with such meanness!
Be thy motto, at home or abroad,
All, all for the Man of Sorrows—
All, all for the crucified Lord;
All, all, for how canst thou divide it?
All, all, for how poor and small
Is the service which thou canst render
Even when thou hast given thine all;
Thou canst not divide thy service,
Thou canst not divide thy love—
That love which His love hath begotten,
Let thy whole life go to prove.
The above lines are a challenge regarding our responsibility to give ourselves entirely to the One who saved us at such tremendous cost. He has every right to expect this from us, for He 'gave Himself for us. He held nothing back in order that we might be redeemed, yet how much do we hold back where He is concerned?
We read of those who gave their own selves to Him and thus made a good foundation for their service. The Roman believers were exhorted to yield themselves to Him. Is it the lack of such giving that restrains the blessing today?
The Evil One is seeking to reverse every divine principle, whether it be law and order in the nation, the position of sisters in the assembly or the yielding of the believer to the will of his or her Lord and Saviour. Is he successful where we are concerned?
The Son of Man was our perfect example in this matter, yielded in every way to the will of the Father. Therefore He was One through whom the Father could both speak and work. To the extent that we, individually and collectively, follow the divine will, we will be usable in His service. Let us remember, however, that if we do not obey the unchanging Word of God it is folly to imagine that we are in the line of God's will.
Northern Ireland. A. McShane and N. Turkington had two months of well attended Gospel meetings in the Harryville Gospel Hall, Ballymena, before Christmas. It again proved a difficult area as regards the Gospel but quite a good number of unsaved young folk connected with the assembly attended regularly and a few of these, as well as others3 professed salvation.
For many years Antrim was a small town where Gospel work was difficult, but recently the town has trebled its population. This increase has been reflected in the numbers at the Gospel Hall. Attendances were good during six weeks of Gospel meetings taken by J. Brown and J. Lennox. The assembly was encouraged and a few professed faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
The assembly at Bloomfield had a special effort conducted by J. Thompson and S. Ferguson. Attendances were fairly good and there was much rejoicing over the conversion of a young woman who had been prayed for over a long period.
S. Thompson and R. Jordan had five weeks of Gospel meetings in the little town of Killyleagh, Co. Down, where they were encouraged by fair numbers and also by the salvation of one Roman Catholic man.
For many years the believers at Mullafernaghan have been active in Gospel testimony and have seen blessing in a remarkable way from time to time. Recently E. Wishart and S. Thompson had ten weeks of well attended meetings with both interest and blessing. Several young men and their wives were saved together with some further on in life. In all about twenty professed to have accepted the Saviour.
In the midst of all the trouble an encouraging feature of the work during the last few years has been the development of week-night children's meetings, especially in parts of the province not affected by the troubles. In Co. Antrim in particular there are now a number of these, some assemblies in small villages having over one hundred present each week. Emphasis is placed on the memorising of the Scriptures verse by verse.
As 1971 was the Golden Jubilee of the opening of Frances Street Gospel Hall, Newtownards, Co. Down, the assembly decided to celebrate this anniversary. The first item was a large scale renovation of the hall with believers working under the direction of a construction foreman who had connections with the assembly. This work was completed in time for the three-day annual conference which was well attended and considered to be one of the most successful in the history of the assembly. A special booklet was also produced charting the assembly's progress.
In October D. Bingham conducted a fortnight of special meetings for young people when attendances reached three hundred in the hall and for the final rally in hired premises nearly live hundred, including many parents. A number of youngsters professed faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as a result.
Then followed a series of ministry meetings taken by D. Gooding. These addresses were expository, challenging and much appreciated. Special Gospel meetings for adults were conducted by R. McLuckie but on the whole attendances were disappointing. During the last week two teen-age girls professed faith in die Saviour and one of these has since been baptized and added to the number in fellowship.
Republic of Ireland. J. Kells and J. Hawthorne hired a house in Canningstown, Co. Cavan, half way between the small assemblies of Stonewall and Drum. The evangelists were encouraged in their visiting and also by the presence at the meetings of five young fanners as well as older ones.
D. Stevens has moved into the small village community of Adare, Co. Limerick, and will be engaged for the moment in door-to-door visitation.
J. Noble has been engaged in various kinds of outreach in Galway in the West of Ireland. The premises, which include a Christian bookshop and snack bar, have to be sold and there is an urgent problem of finding alternative accommodation.
Mid-Scotland. The believers comprising the three assemblies in Dundee have undertaken the task of distributing a series of ten three-minute messages on Life's Greatest Concern to every home in this city with a population of 200,000. Written and produced by one of their number, the leaflets cover the whole ground of the truths concerning salvation.
J. Clunas conducted a week of late evening meetings in Falkirk which were designed to reach teenagers. Young believers met for prayer at 7.30 p.m. followed by ministry and then took to the streets to contact their fellows for a meeting at 9.30 p.m. Considerable interest was shown.
J. Campbell and M. Newman took a portable hall to Dunning, Perthshire. Nearly all the children from the village attended the children's meetings and this provoked an interest among the adults. Up to the New Year a woman and two eighteen year old girls had professed conversion.
Two meetings a week are still being held in Comrie for die systematic teaching of the Scriptures widi a view to die grounding of die young converts in the truth. In a similar way a weekly meeting at Muthill has in view the gathering of those who could form an assembly in the will of the Lord.
Southern Scotland. J. Burns conducted an effort at New Cumnock, Ayrshire, at the close of last year. The six weeks of meetings aroused considerable interest among local folk yet there were no known cases of conversion.
The believers at Dumbarton profited from a visit from G. Bull. The ministry was enjoyed and strangers were present throughout the week. The Saturday evening meetings at Miller Street, Clydebank, have been encouraging with outsiders present.
At Coatdyke, Lanarkshire, a very good mission was taken by R. Walker with large numbers attending, especially at week-ends. There were quite a number of conversions and the assembly has felt uplifted as a result of the effort.
J. Smyth was at Low Waters, Hamilton, in the same shire, for six weeks at the end of last year. The believers worked hard and were encouraged by a real sense of the Lord's presence, so that at the close of the evening meetings there was no move to leave the hall and all stayed while brethren pleaded with their God for the salvation of those who were unsaved. In the second week a man in his sixties was saved and in the following weeks a goodly number of others took the same decision including two teenagers, a university scientist and a married man. During the course of the campaign the wife of the latter was saved at a Gospel meeting elsewhere and both have since been baptized and received into fellowship. It was noteworthy that those who were saved had been brought by believers to the meetings; they had not come of their own accord. Is there a lesson for all of us in this as regards the normal Lord's Day Gospel meeting? Do we lament the lack of unsaved folk on these occasions but make no attempt to bring them ourselves?
South Wales. The assemblies in Swansea hold services in each of the eight Old People's Homes in the area. These are greatly appreciated especially by the believers living in the homes, and in addition many contacts have been made with those who have no knowledge of the Saviour.
Channel Islands. The believers at Green Lanes Hall, St. Peter Port, Guernsey, have been encouraged by the conversion of several young people who have come into fellowship with them. Attendances at Sunday School have also increased.
Conferences. Special gatherings at Christmas and the New Year, whilst common in the north, seem to have died out in the south. Hebron Hall, Port Glasgow rejoiced as some one hundred and fifty gathered on Christmas Day to listen to the ministry of the Word. The believers at Bicester, Oxfordshire, opened their new hall with a conference on Boxing Day when over two hundred shared in their thanksgiving for the Lord's goodness and listened to the ministry of brethren who had been associated in the establishing of the work.
East Anglia. Reviewing the work of last summer, G. Fenn comments on the eagerness of the children for their meetings. Out of the large class of youngsters not one could name the four gospels when they started, but by the time the series finished a number could repeat all the names of the books of the Bible. Cottage meetings were continued at Banham and weekly visits made to a hospital and remand home. The meetings in the latter were most informal but always included getting the youngsters to read the Scriptures. Some weeks the message was followed most intently.