Gospel Work and other Assembly Activities
D. C. Hinton, Hayes, Middx.
Have we lost faith in the old fashioned Gospel and the old fashioned ways of making it known? Is this why there is a lack of real conviction of sin and true repentance?
A woman passing a Gospel Hall was handed a tract; she read it, attended the Gospel meeting and was saved the next evening.
A young sister at university was asked out to tea by a male student. Her response was to invite him to the Gospel meeting where he heard a message that was entirely new to him. After listening for a few weeks he responded to the Divine command, repented of his sin and believed in the Lord Jesus Christ as his Saviour. Has each reader taken this step?
The above are examples of ways of service open to us all. The following report indicates what can happen when all in an assembly are unitedly burdened with the need of the lost all round them.
Southern Scotland. A series of special Gospel meetings began in mid-January at Bethany Hall, Prestwick. The full result of these meetings, which were planned to last for four weeks but went on for seven, will not be assessed properly on earth. It can be said, however^ that the assembly experienced a period of unprecedented blessing, and we trust that others will be helped and encouraged to intensify their activities in Gospel witness as the facts are brought to their attention.
Some months earlier the Lord's guidance had been sought as to who should be responsible for preaching the Word. Eventually S. Stewart and J. Gordon, from Moray in the north, were invited to serve the Lord in this way. They agreed, and it was only after the meetings had started that the believers learned that the evangelists' plan had been to preach in Nairn, using their portable hall. Permission to erect this having been refused they were wondering what their next move was when the invitation from the south arrived.
Before the meetings started there was a period of prayer and intense house to house visitation. A remarkable feature of these visits was the high proportion of folk who were willing to talk of spiritual matters. Thousands of tracts and invitation cards were given away.
Adult meetings were held from Lord's Days to Thursdays, preceded by a time of prayer and open air witness. On Tuesdays and Thursdays children's meetings were held as well. The meetings were marked by simplicity and sincerity, with a deep sense of the presence of God on many nights. There were no extras. Each brother spoke for half the allotted time.
From the first night, good numbers of unsaved people attended, and this continued throughout the series. Looking back the believers recall how often they had heard it said that "things are different now. The people just won't come into Gospel meetings these days". They realise now that on many occasions the reason why unsaved folk had not come in was because no one had cared enough to invite them along.
At least forty people professed that they had acknowledged the Lord Jesus as Saviour. God alone knows exactly the work done in the souls of the lost, and eternity will reveal it. The first fruits was a young woman in her late teens from Ayr. Brought along by friends on the first Tuesday, it was well after the close of the meetings when she came to the home where the evangelists were staying. That night she trusted Christ for salvation, and has since asked to be baptized. Another case from the early days was the conversion of a young Roman Catholic woman who was baptized a fortnight later.
The Holy Spirit clearly worked among teen-age girls from the Irvine district. A young sister in the Kilwinning assembly teaches in the academy. She and her husband obtained the use of a bus owned by the assembly and on numerous occasions brought it full of girls. In all eighteen of these came to know the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour. Nine of these were saved on one evening, a meeting when there was a deep sense of the presence and power of God. No one appeared in a hurry to leave and it was no surprise when these young folk confessed their sinfulness and asked God to save them. The following evening, when each word seemed charged with Divine power, a further six girls from the same academy found salvation in Christ.
Three early morning prayer meetings were held each week with as many as fifty attending. These were different from normal as brethren rose, prayed for something specific and then sat down.
Many contacts were made at the Saturday afternoon open air witness. This was followed by selected brethren visiting the various public houses in the town and distributing the Word of life. The evangelists experienced especial joy in visiting certain schools, and preached to over one thousand pupils in the local academy.
The assembly now faces the task of caring for those who have been brought to Christ, with a view to their seeking fellowship in the assembly of the Lord's people.
As they reviewed their experiences the believers found their convictions strengthened as regards:
1. The work of convicting souls and leading them to repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is the sovereign prerogative of the Holy Spirit.
2. The Gospel, preached with simplicity and sincerity, docs not require to be supported or augmented in any way. To do so is to belittle the power of the Gospel.
3. While the Holy Spirit can bless in spite of our unfaithfulness, an energetic and united assembly can provide a base for working that is conducive to His presence and power.
Lanarkshire. During February a special effort in the Gospel at Stonehouse was conducted by J. Smythe. Very few refusals were
experienced when the village was visited with invitations and unsaved folk were present practically every night. God was pleased to bless as one sister was restored to the Lord and another added to the fellowship. A well known man of nearly fifty years of age came to a knowledge of sins forgiven, and three young ones professed faith in Christ. P. Harding preached in the Gospel Hall, Newmains, for three weeks in February. The Word was faithfully preached both in the hall and in the street. Many unsaved folk attended and one young woman was saved. As a direct result of one message three young people have since been baptized and received into fellowship.
South Wales. During a special Gospel effort at Treboeth Gospel Hall, Swansea, the evangelist R. McLuckie was able to visit several senior schools, in the area. As a result six young men from one school expressed their desire to trust the Saviour, During the campaign itself blessing was also experienced.
A group of believers are making plans for using the new local radio nanon in Swansea for the proclamation of the Gospel.
Northern Ireland. J. Allen held a good spetl of Gospel meetings in the Gospel Hall at Cloughfern, Co. Antrim. The hall is in a comparatively new district and the assembly has worked hard over the years and were rewarded by good numbers of the local people attending the meetings. These continued nightly for six weeks and all concerned were encouraged to know of a number professing faith in Christ as Saviour and some others being restored to their Lord.
E. Wishart and S. Maze had very encouraging meetings at Creavory, near Antrim. A good number of the local folk attended and around twenty professed salvation. These included a father and mother with two of their family and a lady of over seventy years of age. When these meetings ended E, Wishart erected a portable hall in Randalstown, about three miles away across the country. He was joined there for Gospel meetings by S. Thompson.
Recently the assembly at Ballylintagh, Co. Derry, a few miles from Coicraine, completed the building of a new hall. To mark the opening Gospel meetings were arranged conducted by T. McKelvey and J. G. Hutchinson. There was a good interest and the hall was filled nightly, believers from surrounding assemblies supporting the meeting. A number of people stated that they were saved during the meetings and the believers were helped and blessed.
Buckinghamshire. The historic market town of Buckingham was the scene of Gospel activity earlier this year with the help of the assembly at Hebron Hall, Bicester.
The Town Hall was reserved for three nights and the Gospel was forcefully proclaimed by B. Sutton. It must have been the first time for many a year that this town witnessed the parading of Gospel banners, preaching of the Word in the open air, and the distribution of tracts not only in the town itself but in the outlying villages.
The results will not be fully appreciated until disclosed in eternity but many of the local peole were under the sound of the Word and the Town Hall was filled. It was evident that the Word had been effectual by comments made both at the time and subsequently.
Children's Work. Are you concerned for die spiritual good of ail the youngsters growing up in our land who never hear the Gospel and know nothing of the teaching of the Word of God? It is no good Thinking that we have discharged our responsibility to them by holding a Sunday School to which they can come.
A brother was prematurely retired through ill-health and sought the Lord's guidance as to a pathway of service. As a result he handed out colouring texts to children he met, offering them portions of Scripture if they returned them to him. Over the subsequent four years some two thousand coloured texts have been handed in to him. The interest grew and our brother drew up series of Bible questions. At present he is in contact with nearly one hundred and fifty children together with a number of the parents. A few of die latter are completing correspondence courses and many parents have requested visits to their homes.
Such a work can be repeated elsewhere if only we have the vision of lost souls without a Saviour.
Republic of Ireland. Prizegivings were held earlier this year for the Postal Sunday School scholars. Numbers attending were larger than ever before and the workers were encouraged to see so many parents with the young folk. In some of the boarding schools where there are postal pupils the workers have been given the opportunity to hold regular meetings. They have also been in touch with a Roman Catholic family whose home has been opened for regular gatherings.
After trying for a number of years the believers at Merrion Hall. Dublin, have at last been able to obtain permission for a Gospel service to be broadcast on the national network.