Your Community Needs Your Help

Your Community Needs Your Help!
Ron Wilhoit

Nice day? Let’s take a walk through your neighborhood. Choose any street. Pick any block on the street. Select any house on the block.

Take a good look. Nice house?. . . .Not so nice? Brick? Siding? Neatly trimmed or cluttered yard? One or two cars in the driveway? Kids playing in the back yard? Dog sleeping on the front lawn? Smoke lazily curling from the chimney?

Home! What a beautiful, cozy picture! Now let’s visualize the components. Statistics indicate that inside live a working mom and dad and two children who are seldom with their parents. To meet the living expenses and the home mortgage requires two wage earners.

It’s the all-American dream-a hardworking husband and wife with two children.

We smile as we visualize the picture. It’s pretty and we feel warm and secure just thinking about it.

But the grim facts and statistics depict a less attractive reality. The two educated adults have career demands, goals and pressures. Ever increasing costs of living force harder, longer work hours just to survive. These pressures and time demands rob the parents of precious time with their children.

Statistics reveal that one of the two children will become involved with drugs by adolescence. Dealing with the children will put severe emotional strains on the marriage. Before the couple realize it, their problems are driving them apart! This marriage is doomed, according to statistics.

Home? It’s not a pretty picture anymore. The forces of evil have brought havoc to the home that God designed at the very beginning of creation.

But stop! Wait a moment before you shrug your shoulders at just another American tragedy. There is something You can do about this one! You can change the picture!

From your view on the street, you are 20 yards away from the most challenging, rewarding, thrilling, and most beautiful experience of your lifetime-and theirs! You can salvage their family! You can salvage their children! You can salvage their marriage! For within those walls lies the potential of beautiful Christians waiting to be processed.

Now it is a splendid picture! And it is all so possible! You can make the difference by presenting a Search for Truth Home Bible Study.

You don’t have to be a preacher, evangelist or crusade speaker! You don’t need a cathedral or stained-glass windowed church. Your tools and qualifications are few and simple, but adequate.

That’s what this lesson is all about! You’ll learn how! . . . HOW to get a Bible study . . . HOW to invite them . . . HOW to gain their confidence . . .

HOW to win their friendship. . . HOW to study . . . HOW to teach . . . HOW to lead them to Christ. You will increase your soul-winning skills and be a very happy and fulfilled Christian! What’s more, you will have gained a friend for life-and eternity!

Most Christians desire to be soul-winners. Few of them are motivated to pursue this challenging venture. But, if you ever plan to win a soul, start NOW! There is no better time than now and no better place than HERE!

Perhaps the best method is the one Christ used.

As we discussed in the last lesson, He often ministered to people individually in His tender, yet effective way of soul-winning. Many disciples were converted like that. Christ met Nicodemus alone at night. He talked with the Samaritan woman alone at the well and spoke to her confidentially about true values.

“Preach the Gospel to every creature,” Christ commands us. Yet how do  we begin such a massive task? The answer is within a few steps-from the street to the doorstep! It’s as close as you are right now to the nearest neighbor!

The early apostolic Church used the home study method to win their world. And what results they had!

“And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ” (Acts 5:42).

The greatest missionary of New Testament times used the home study plan. Paul’s results were astounding. We all want that! But his method was simple…so simple that we stumble over it in search of a more dramatic way.

“. . . I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publicly and from house to house” (Acts 20:20).

This was the basic outreach plan for the apostolic Church. It was and is the most effective method ever used. Yet we often seek the dramatic, the fantastic, the phenomenal. We dream of great methods, impressive campaigns and complex projects.

So did the demoniac of Gedara whom Christ delivered. He was so impressed that he wanted to get into the ship with Jesus and sail to far away places. But Christ had a better idea:

“. . . Go home to the friends and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee” (Mark 5:19).

How many souls have you won to the Lord during this past year? You can increase that number by enacting Christ’s prescribed method: “Go home and tell thy friends”. You can easily reproduce at least one within a year. Teaching is not difficult.

Much of the Bible is written in narrative form. It is descriptive, interesting and beautiful. Yet it is always open, clear and direct. Teaching a Home Bible Study is to sit down in a home with God’s Word and Search for Truth charts and relate the story. Simple!

Consider the homes on your block and realize the extent of Satan’s invasion of the family unit! If he can divide and destroy the family, he can destroy each of its members.

It’s time to wage war with him! The home is the heart of the family unit. Here is where you start. By taking a Bible study to their home, you have greatly minimized Satan’s chances at claiming that family. That fact alone should propel every Christian to start at once!

There are other reasons for conducting a Home Bible Study. A family is comfortable and familiar in the environment of their own home. The more comfortable and relaxed they are, the easier it is to plant the Word into their hearts and minds.

Teaching the Word in their home establishes a sacred concept of God in their private domain. When converted, they will already be accustomed to the Presence of God abiding in their home. That sacred Presence born in a Bible study session will linger and give them a new God- consciousness and convictions. It will prompt them to acceptance and salvation.

Teaching in their home will work to your advantage as well. As a guest, you may leave at will after the session. You control the time element. This is not true if they were guests in your home.

Also, your students will be less likely to cancel a lesson if they are expecting you. It is more convenient for them to attend and much more difficult for them to cancel when you go to their home.

Some people are not conditioned to readily accept our unique message, doctrines and mode of worship. A weekly study session gently “breaks them in” in a comfortable and private atmosphere and acts as a conditioner before they ever attend a service. Without this valuable method, church visitors can be frightened away from a lack of understanding. With this added advantage, students are ready to receive when they attend church.

You want to be a soul-winner? The most effective and sure method to successful soul-winning is the Home Bible Study. Deal a fatal blow to Satan’s game plan by waging warfare on home grounds!

But how do you get a Home Bible Study started? Read the fifteen unique ideas related in the following pages. Something here will work for you. You’ll be teaching before you know it!

There are many ways to obtain a Home Bible Study. The possibilities are numerous, but not always obvious. Start with the logical target- someone you already know-your relatives and friends.

But how do you start? First, list every relative who lives in your community. Arrange the names in order of the positive response you expect. Now, pay a personal visit to each family. Take a couple of attractive brochures describing the Bible Study.

Relatives make the best prospects and may be dealt with a little more straight-forwardly than casual friends. Ask them sincerely to “assist” you in your Bible Study project. Observe the following approach:

“Hey, Joe, I think I need a little help from you. I am involved in a community service project for our church. I’ll be teaching a series of short lessons designed to better acquaint people with the Bible. I’ve never done anything like this before and frankly, I’m a little hesitant to start.

“I need someone to help me improve my skills. Would you be willing to listen and help me improve my first series of lessons? Joe, since you and I are so close, I know you will honestly evaluate my
presentation.” (Show Joe the brochures and a few of the charts.)

“Joe, what do you think about this project?” (Give him a chance to respond). “Can we schedule about an hour each week for some ‘practice sessions’? You will be doing me a big favor by allowing me to get some experience in teaching this course!”

Don’t leave until you have made a definite appointment for the first study. Then, give Joe a chance at each session to offer suggestions for improvement. In this way, a team effort is portrayed rather than a teacher-pupil relationship. Heeding his advice will likely help to polish your style and to develop self-confidence.

If Joe does not agree to help you for the whole series, invite him to sit in on just one session. After the first session, he should be so intrigued that he will want to continue. But if he declines, you have sown some seed, and can now move on to other family prospects.

Now make a list of your good friends. If they are really close ones, your invitation may resemble the one for your relatives. Or, you may want to use the phone. Try this:

“Hello, Shirley. This is Joan. Listen, I have just become involved in a community service project for our church. I’d like to see what you think about it’ I’m really excited and I think you might be, too, when you see it. It will only take a few minutes, and I’ll bring the cold drinks. Honest, I’m not selling anything. Okay? Great! I’ll be right over!”

Take your charts and explanatory brochures to Shirley’s house. Assure her that you want her honest opinion of what you are doing. Explain that you are aware of the great needs among families in your area. Divorce, television and drug problems have forced families apart.

It is important to tell them there is a Source of help that will make them happy, healthy and productive citizens. Your church group has assigned volunteers to teach a short series of lessons acquainting citizens with the Bible.

Then, show the brochure and the first few study charts. Ask her opinion of what you are doing. Request that she allow you to “practice” on her family for the first series. Explain that this will
help you gain experience and self-confidence for teaching the course. Don’t say goodbye until you have a definite appointment for a study in her home.

Now, what about your acquaintances? All those folks you know from encounters at work, the shopping center, grocery store, bus stop, school, laundry or barber shop?

These people should be contacted differently. If you come on too strong and too soon, they will suspect your motives. Securing studies here will require more time, patience and effort.

You will need more than one encounter to establish a study with acquaintances. Prepare a list of prospects this week as you meet them. Make a conscious effort to be very friendly and extend your small talk a little longer than usual. Get to know them, their interests, their family, their job-little details. Call them by name and use it frequently in your conversation.

You may meet them several times before your real project is ever mentioned. Be alert for prophetic events recorded in the news media. These can easily initiate conversation. Break the topic open casually. Here are some “breakers” to help steer the conversation favorably:

“Did you hear the news this morning about the fighting in the Middle East? Things are happening over there just like the Bible predicted. Makes you wonder just how much time we have left!”

“Is there a good church in your area? Where is it located? Is it a large church? Do you go regularly?”

“Are you from a large family? In what state did your family live? Were you raised in church? Which one? What are your present feelings about church (religion, God, etc.)?”

Did you see this article in the newspaper about ‘glossalalia’? Have you ever heard anyone speak in tongues? What do you think about that?”

“I’m trying to start some good habits this year. I’m on a schedule to read the Bible through. You can’t believe how much it has helped me! Have you ever had a chance to study the Bible?”

“Did you hear about the terrible earthquake in China? Seems like one happens somewhere almost daily. Is it coincidental that they were predicted in the Bible?”

“Look at this article about the new anti-crime project that is being considered. They’re experimenting with placing a serial number underneath the skin rather than using credit cards. That system is described in the Bible to occur just before the end of the world!”

Once you have “arrived” at a topic of religious nature, turn the conversation to your true motive obtaining a Bible study:

“You know, I’ve found a great study course that covers the Bible from beginning to end. It explains how current events fit into prophecy- like reading tomorrow’s newspaper today!”

“I was introduced to a study course that explains many things about the Bible that I never knew. It is simple, clear and straight-forward. Now I can read the Bible and understand it.”

“You know, I never really enjoyed the Bible before because I couldn’t understand so much of it. But this course I’m taking has opened it up to me. It’s like reading a new book!”

“A good thing about this course is that it’s free and private. It only takes an hour a week-not much time for such great and important information!”

“. . . and another thing-no one is pressuring you to buy anything or to join a church. God’s Word is free to everyone! Would you like to join me for a study? What is a good day and time for you? Is your house a good place? I’ll bring everything we need when I come. What’s your phone number and address?”

You will be surprised at the positive response you receive for your time and effort. However, not everyone will accept your kind offer. For those who don’t, reply: “I understand. But if you change your mind, please let me know.”

Community Canvassing

Bible studies can also be obtained from an organized outreach effort to canvass your area. A Search for Truth mailer or tract fastened to each door with “Tract Stix”, a removable adhesive, is an excellent way to do this.

Cover at least one hundred doors in your neighborhood with tracts, door knob hangers or copies of Prophecy Update, a bi-monthly newspaper featuring articles about the end-time. Continue this for the next two weeks with new tracts. Then send a group to visit each home and explain the advantages of the free home study program. Be sure that each group member wears the button, “I Teach Search For Truth Home Bible Studies”.

Have you ever answered your doorbell and found a salesman anxious to sell you a vacuum cleaner, encyclopedia or insurance policy? His motivation in coming to your door is the commission from a prospective sale.

If you decline to buy the product, he is not discouraged. If he knocks on enough doors, someone will be interested. One successful salesman says every sixth person is a sure sale. They will buy anything!

In a door-to-door outreach, you too are a salesman. But instead of seeking a commission, you are interested in fulfilling one-that given by our Lord Jesus Christ! Wear a pleasant expression, have a friendly manner and dress neatly. Don’t forget to wear a Search for Truth teacher’s button. You might begin your remarks like this:

“Good morning, sir. My name is Joe Christian and I’m talking to a lot of folks in your neighborhood about a community service project. Are you concerned about the crime increase in this community? . . . Are you concerned about the high rate of divorce and broken homes here? . . . Are you concerned about the high rate of drug usage among our young people?”

When he agrees to all of these questions, say:

“Great! We know that something should be done about these problems. There is a workable solution and it involves getting ourselves reacquainted with the Bible. This Source will unify our families and provide answers for the problems we face in constructive ways.

“May I show you something about this course?” (Show him a brochure and a few interesting pages from the mini-chart). “This fascinating course only takes one hour a week for the next few weeks. It reveals a lot about what is happening in our world today!

“Better yet, this course is free and no one will ask you for any money or to join any church! It will help you to further develop your own faith and become a stronger, more fulfilled person. When the course is completed, you will receive a handsome certificate.” (Show a framed example).

“Can I come by this week for a trial lesson ? What day is most convenient for you? What time shall I come? Great! I’ll bring all the materials.”

Check your results when you have completed at least one hundred door- to-door contacts. You’ll have acquired from four to ten new studies!!

Direct Mail

Here’s another medium to accomplish your goal of reaching every home in your community. This method is a sure one! By using the mail, you can reach an entire area with minimal manpower. The only cost involved is for printed materials, envelopes and postage. But for every 200 ounces of mail, you will receive from five to fifteen responses for your free Home Bible Study!

Even the most timid and hesitant Christian can obtain a Home Bible Study by using the mail. Once an inquiry has been received, you have the essential information: their name, address and phone number. Call or go immediately to visit and set up an appointment for the first study session. Take these materials: your chart, brochure, a smile and an enthusiastic manner. Sell them your product!

Unlimited possibilities exist via the mail. Direct mail firms sell lists or labels of every household in this country for as low as a penny each per 1,000 minimum. Most cities have these mailing firms.
Check your Yellow Pages of the phone directory under Direct Mail.

If you are serious about a mailing project and plan to use it regularly, you can obtain a non-profit permit from your local post office. Although the cost is relatively small compared to the savings
earned over regular postage, you must mail a minimum of 200 pieces at a time to qualify for this permit rate.

Bus Ministries

If your church is involved in a bus ministry, utilize this valuable source of prospects to obtain new Bible studies. Weekly, bus captains and assistants visit many homes. They become familiar and friendly with dozens of unsaved parents. Here is an excellent opportunity to acquire new studies.

Try sending home with each bus ministry child a letter, packet or brochure of materials explaining the Home Bible Study. Follow up the brochure with a personal visit the next week-end. Take plenty of brochures. Stop by each home, thank them for allowing their children to attend your Sunday School and offer a free Bible Study.

If they decline, don’t be discouraged. Just keep asking. As long as their child is enrolled in your Sunday School, they remain prime candidates. It will eventually happen if you are persistent.

Hotel Seminars

Some churches have successfully conducted hotel seminars to enlist more Bible Studies. Advertise the meeting as the “Baptism of the Holy Spirit Seminar” or a prophecy event. Advertise widely. At the seminar, teach a lesson from the Home Bible Study and proceed to secure future studies.

Church Visitors

Of course, all visitors to your church are prime Home Bible Study candidates. Therefore, it is very important to conduct an organized system of obtaining addresses and names of all visitors. These guests should be contacted the following week at their homes and given an invitation to enroll in a Home Bible Study.

Public Bulletin Boards

Your neighborhood supermarkets, shopping malls or self-service laundries usually have a free bulletin board available for public announcements. This provides another source of exposure for your Bible Study program.

Search for Truth produces fascinating full-color posters and bumper stickers that will attract such inquiries. Place these in store windows, laundries and shopping centers. No effort is too
insignificant when at least one person responds.

Referrals

Home Bible Study students are an excellent resource for generating new studies. Most people who are learning the Bible excitedly want to share their new-found knowledge. Mail a questionnaire to all present Bible Study students. Ask for names and addresses of their friends and acquaintances whom they feel might be interested in the program. Follow up each of these prospects.

Hospital Visitation

If your church has an active hospital visitation ministry, it, too, can furnish prospects. Make a personal visit or phone call to each patient who was contacted in the hospital. They’ll remember the
kindness and concern shown by your church during their illness. inquire sincerely about their health and invite them to enroll in the Home Bible Study program.

Free Drawing

Have you ever filled out an entry to win a free trip, automobile or sewing machine? You were actually enrolling yourself on someone’s prospect list. You can use the same technique to build a prospect list for Home Bible Studies.

Conduct a free drawing for a large family Bible or set of Bible story books. Determine how many drawing boxes are necessary to adequately cover your area. Make them as attractive and impressive as possible, accompanied with a neat poster. Place your drawing boxes (along with entry blanks and pencils) at grocery stores, drug stores and shopping malls.

Entry blanks should request the home address and phone number of the entrant. Include all the pertinent information, including the date of the drawing, on the poster. Explain that entrants need not be present to win. Purchase your family Bible or set of Bible story books and award them to the winning entrant. Of course, you’ll want to explain the Home Bible Study to familiarize them with their new prize.

Now comes the real objective. Send each person a letter to announce the name of the winner and a descriptive brochure. Follow up each letter with a call or personal visit and invite them to enroll in the Home Bible Study.

Telephone Surveys

Very few homes in your city are without a phone. Here is one more way you can make contacts. One person or an entire team can utilize this method.

After assignments have been made (to avoid duplicate calls), have someone type prompter cards to assist the caller. Be as natural as possible and refrain from reading or “rattling off” a memorized text. Say something like:

“Hello, Mrs. McClain? How are you today? This is Joe Christian, one of your neighbors at Word Ministries. As a community service, a Home Bible Study course is being offered to all members of this community. It is free and there is no obligation to complete the course. Thousands of people just like yourself are taking this course and increasing their knowledge of the Bible.

“I’ll be glad to stop by and leave you a brochure explaining the course. How about tomorrow evening about seven o’clock? So nice to talk to you! Have a nice day!” (If the response is negative, ask if
you can mail them the information).

You may design your own dialogue appropriate to your area. Continue the project until all phone subscribers have been contacted. Develop a notation system whereby those not at home may be phoned at a later time.

After your phone solicitation project is complete, you should have enough Bible Studies to keep you busy for many months!

Newspaper Ads

The newspaper is tradition. Everyone reads it, if only briefly. It goes into almost every home in your community. Remember, that is the goal of a Home Bible Study. Ride in on the coattails of your local newspaper! Compose some short, creative and eye-catching ads such as these:

Marriage problems? The Bible has answers for your life. For free lessons in your home, please call 000-0000.

Anti-Christ is coming with his mark! Free Bible lessons tell how to escape it. Call 000-0000.

Armageddon-what is it? When is it coming? Exciting details on many subjects are discussed in free Bible lessons. Please call 000-0000.

Drug or alcohol problem? Get help through free Bible lessons. Please call 000-0000.

You will find this project is fun! See how many new ads you can write. When someone answers the ad, your goal is to make an appointment to discuss the Bible study. Don’t be drawn into lengthy phone conversations.

Radio Spots

Another great source for obtaining Bible studies is through this broadcast medium. It may be more expensive than the other methods, but radio spots can produce more studies than you can teach!

Your Home Bible Study offer can be advertised through an existing church-sponsored program or by purchasing spot time. Check the rates at your local station for a 60, 30 or 15-second radio spot. You might air something like this:

“Why is there so much violence, wars and crime in the news today? Why do earthquakes and other catastrophes occur with alarming frequency all over the world? The Bible says that such tragedies as these will be commonplace when Jesus Christ returns for His Church. Do you need to know more about the Word of God? Do you have insurmountable problems that need solutions? Call 000-0000 today for a free Home Bible Study. There’s no cost and no obligation of any sort. That’s 000-0000 for the Bible answer to all your needs.”

“Perhaps you’re facing the greatest problem in your life. Maybe it’s a divorce . . . Maybe it’s a painful illness . . . alcohol . . . drugs. No one in the world seems to care or be willing to help you. Well,
friend, that’s where Jesus Christ comes in. He is willing and able to solve your biggest need. Would you like to meet Him? Call 000-0000 for information that will put you on the right road in life. Learn to live the Bible way and find the joy it promises. Remember the number, 000-0000.”

“It’s coming! Faster than you can imagine! World War! Armageddon! 666! The Mark of the Beast! The Anti-Christ! There is an escape-find out how! Call 000-0000 now to schedule a free Home Bible Study in your own home. To be protected, call 000-0000.”

Many radio stations, especially Gospel-oriented ones, offer free time for public announcements. These may be aired several times each week or daily. Type a brief message similar to the preceding examples and  mail to the station. This method can penetrate homes otherwise impossible. It’s worth a try!

(The above material was published by Search for Truth.)

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