By Mike Willis
This issue of Truth Magazine is rather largely dedicated to field reports. This is no accident. A month or so ago, I wrote to each of the writers who had contributed articles to Truth Magazine in 1979 requesting that he send in a field report for publication. I had several reasons for preparing this special issue of field reports and would like to detail them to you.
To Promote Good Relations Among Brethren
I have spoken with several gospel preachers who report that they are observing somewhat of a suspicious attitude among preachers towards the work which each is doing. Someone will report that a good work is being done in a given area only to have the other man downgrade the man and his work. Those who know both men would speak equally highly of each man’s work. Yet, suspicion hinders a good working relationship between the two.
I am of the opinion that better communications between brethren will enhance relationships among us. When brethren know more about the individual work which each of us is doing, they will respect each other more. Hence, one of my motives in arranging this special of field reports is to promote good relationships among brethren. It is hoped that this will contribute towards a better spirit of cooperation among brethren everywhere.
To Report Good News
Each of us has a tendency to write about and report those incidences with which we find ourselves in disagreement. Hence, we generally report the bad news more frequently than we report the good news. I know that I must plead guilty of this with reference to my “Quips and Quotes” column. I certainly have a greater tendency to write about those things which liberals are doing which are wrong than I have of reporting several baptisms as a result of a gospel meeting somewhere.
There needs to be a balance in this kind of reporting. Consequently, I am requesting that brethren in our reading audience make a general practice of reporting concerning your work periodically. Brethren want to hear what is going on among the churches; they want to hear of the progress which the gospel is making across this great land and overseas. So, I would like to request that each of you take the time to send in a report for publication. Our readers will appreciate this.
I would like to devote at least one page in every issue of Truth Magazine to field reports. Yet, I cannot write these reports myself. If you enjoy reading about the work in some area of the country, remember that they too would enjoy reading about the work in your area of the country. So send us a field report and let them enjoy hearing about your work.
Nobody Knows It Better
Another reason why you should write a field report regarding your’ work is because no one knows your work better than you. There have been several times when a brother has conducted several gospel meetings in a particular section of the country which is somewhat isolated. When he returned from those gospel meetings, he has written a report about the Lord’s church in that section of the country. When this has been done, he nearly always is criticized for writing about something he knows too little about or for inaccurately reporting some fact. Though he had good intentions and sought for accuracy in information, mistakes do occur.
Yet these could have been avoided, to a greater degree, had someone who was working in a given area taken the time to write a report regarding the Lord’s work in that area. I know how much brethren appreciate hearing of the Lord’s work in those areas and how hard it is to get someone to write about those areas. Yet, regular field reports would keep brethren informed regarding given works and fields without depending upon outsiders to do the reporting.
A Natural Hesitancy To Brag
I share with each of you a natural hesitancy to brag about the work which we are doing in our section of the country. Yet, if we do not take the time to report what we are doing, no one else will do it for us. The result will be that there will be no field reports published. Consequently, let each of us realize that no one is trying to be boastful or proud; we are simply interested in keeping each other posted regarding the work in our section of the country.
We can report on our works without bragging. Paul, for example, was able to give brethren a report concerning his work without bragging.
And when they were come, and had gathered the church together, they rehearsed all that God had done with them, and how he had opened the door of faith unto the Gentiles (Acts 14:27).
But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel; so that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other places; and many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear (Phil. 1:12-14).
But I will tarry at Ephesus until Pentecost, for a great door and effectual is opened unto me, and there are many adversaries (1 Cor. 16:8-9).
Surely we can imitate this example of Paul in reporting our affairs to brethren without becoming braggadocios in so doing.
Here are some things which I would suggest that should be reported. Let us know about the men who held the meetings at your home congregation, the number of baptisms, restorations, and identifications which you have had in the recent past, your own schedule of gospel meetings and any news pertaining to the local work worth passing along (appointment of elders and deacons, radio and TV programs, building programs, etc.).
May I request that our reading brethren take the time to report on the work which they are doing. We stand opposed to the unscriptural methods employed by liberal brethren who are seeking to evangelize the world; let us show that ours is not a totally negative thrust by reporting those whom we are reaching with the gospel. We oppose dividing churches through innovations of man; let us demonstrate the power of the gospel by reporting the growth of the congregations and the new works which are being .started from time to time. We frequently hear of preachers who divide churches, forsake the Lord to chase the dollar, become immoral, or commit some other kind of equally wicked act; let us demonstrate that there are hundred of faithful men for every one of those who depart from the way of righteousness.
Though I am perfectly aware that each of these things can be done through means which do not involve Truth Magazine, I would like to open the pages of Truth Magazine for brethren to report their news. We not only invite brethren to send in their field reports, I would like to encourage each of you to take the time to report your work in your section of the country.
Truth Magazine XXIV: 12, pp. 195-196
March 20, 1980