By Al Diestelkamp
Christians throughout the ages have moved about from place to place for one reason or another. This is good, because it enables the gospel to be spread to places where it would otherwise not go, and increase in areas where workers are few and far between. Early Christians, faced with severe persecution, after being instructed for a time by the apostles, were “scattered abroad.” Then we learn that “they that were scattered abroad went everywhere preaching the word” (Acts 8:1, 4). Persecution has not in our era caused brethren to move, but large corporations move thousands of families each year from one end of the country to the other. Some of the transferred employees are Christians, who suddenly find themselves in strange surroundings in their efforts to serve the Lord.
It is surprising, the number of Christians who will accept transfers to other parts of the country, go there and buy a house, move in, and then begin to look for a faithful congregation with which to work and worship. This might be an acceptable approach if you are being transferred to some area where the Lord’s church is strong, but if the move is to one of the large metropolitan areas in the north, it can be very discouraging unless you delight in driving great distances. This is not meant to discourage brethren from accepting transfers to the north (quite the contrary-I wish more would), but to suggest that more effort be put into investigating the whereabouts of faithful brethren before you “leap.” Especially is this important if your transfer is to one of the five massive metropolitan areas located in the northeastern seaboard region of our nation. If you choose a suburban home near New York City, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., Boston or Baltimore, you may find it rather inconvenient to attend the one or two congregations in each of these areas.
When contemplating a move, let me suggest that you let your fingers do the walking-no, not through the Yellow Pages, but through the ads in the gospel papers published by faithful brethren. Contact (before you choose a residence) brethren in that area and get their help in locating a truly sound congregation.
I am convinced that at least one faithful congregation in each metropolitan area would do well to advertise in one, or all of the gospel papers that carry such ads. The insinuation by some that this is a “back-door” means of supporting publishing ventures is false and misleading. It is no more that than placing an ad in the Yellow Pages is a “back-door” attempt to support that publication. They are both valuable means of advertisement that usually prove to be worth every penny spent. In our own case in the Philadelphia area, Christians come from all over that great area (including Camden, N.J. and Wilmington, Del.) to the only congregation which is actively opposing present liberal trends. Several of these Christians have expressed the fact that they would not have known of the existence of the Avondale church, except for such an ad.
In addition to the obvious benefit to the congregation here; the ads have served many vacationing brethren who were willing to go out of their way to be able to worship with like-minded brethren. This in itself would be incentive enough to continue such ads, but even this small service reaps plentiful blessings in the form of encouragement we receive from these good brethren.
Truth Magazine, XVIII:31, p. 12
June 6, 1974