Donnie V. Rader
This special issue of Guardian of Truth is about gospel meetings. In some places it seems that meetings have become a mere custom or routine. It's time that we stop and think about why we are having a meeting and what we can do to improve on it. Are we having this meeting because it is that time of the year to have another meeting or do we have a real purpose in mind? What is our goal during the week? Are we trying to reach the lost in the community or work on building up those who are Christians?
I am delighted to see some churches taking more interest in the purpose and direction of the meeting. This year I have had more churches than ever before request a specific direction (some even selecting which sermons for a particular night) for the meeting.
Another purpose for this special issue is to emphasize that the day of gospel meetings is not over. A pessimistic attitude, that says that it is, will defeat the Lord's work. When the gospel is preached, God is glorified and good is accomplished. We may go through cycles of how interested people are in coming to hear God's word. We must, through each cycle, be there preaching the truth to those who are there. In so doing we edify Christians and prepare them to convert their neighbors. We also help prevent apostasy.
Meetings are good in that the local church has an opportunity to hear different preachers. Preachers have different styles, approaches and points of emphasis. Some visiting preachers may be able to accomplish with some "in some places it seems that meetings have become a mere custom or routine. It's dine that we stop and think about why we are having a meeting and what we can do to improve on it" what the local man has been unable to do. It also helps them to hear the same principles from another man which serves to reinforce the local man's work.
There is no doubt that gospel meetings have changed some over the years. While working on this special I have asked a few older preachers how meetings have changed since the day they started holding meetings. Some said that brethren don't attend meetings in other places like they used to. One brother said that brethren used to drive 75 miles to attend meetings, but now many will not drive across town to encourage others in their efforts. Some of the preachers said that the preaching has changed. Now them is little preaching on hell, denominationalism and Bible authority. Yet those were the subjects in days gone by. I have a sermon on hell that I frequently preach in meetings. I generally get a reaction from several like this: "You don't hear that kind of preaching much anymore." I remember that preachers used to always have one sermon on hell in about every meeting. But, it has been years since I've heard a sermon like that. Brethren, it's time to think about what we are preaching!
This special covers many aspects of gospel meetings. The pages to follow touch on the history of meetings, their purpose, the preacher, the local church, the singing, advertisement, the preacher's pay and other things that will help improve our meetings.
If we can cause a few churches and preachers to evaluate how meetings can be improved, our goal will be accomplished.
Guardian of Truth XXXVII: 16, p. 1