By James L. Denison
I just closed an eight day meeting with the church at No. Broadway in Rochester, Minn. The meeting was well attended. Not one person who normally. worships with this congregation missed even one service!, How many of you ‘who read, this can boast of such dedication by members where you worship? Also there were visitors who were not members at each of the ten services with the exception of two services.
Gary Hargis, formerly of Tampa, Fla., is the preacher at Rochester. Gary and his family moved there in June, 1973. At that time there were only two women who refused to compromise their convictions by remaining with the liberal church in Rochester, that made up the congregation. Since his arrival there has been two baptisms. There are several others who have studied with Gary and his wife, who are good prospects for conversion in the near future.
The Rochester church has, for several months, run a weekly column in the local paper, dealing with the subject, “The New Testament Church Restored Here.” They have just this week started a new column entitled “Ask Your Preacher.” They have received several inquiries as a result of the column, and enrolled 18 people in the Bible correspondence courses.
In this area of the country the Lutheran and Catholic religions are predominate, along with many Methodists, Episcopalians, Presbyterians and some Baptists. Most of these groups are rank with modernism and the social gospel. As a result, a few of their members who are of a. conservative and Biblically oriented background, are growing disgusted with these churches. The problem however is seeking them out of the thousands and making contact with them, to let them know what we stand for, and why. For example: Gary and I visited one lady in a town about 25 miles from Rochester who has been reading the newspaper articles and has been enrolled in the correspondence course. Nigerian Report She had been reared as a “Free Methodist,” but in recent years has been affiliated with the Lutherans. She had become disgusted with them because of their general laxness, and firing their preacher for being “too religious”! She indicated this was typical of the other churches in that town. Also that there were several others whom she knew that felt as she did-and they had no where to worship! She is presently contacting them to set up a time for Gary to begin Home Studies with them. At present it looks very promising for starting a congregation in this town. If this occurs, they plan for awhile to meet in someone’s home, and Gary will go down on Sundays to aid them in their worship services.
Often we who live in areas where the church is relatively strong (South Florida, California, Texas, Alabama, etc.) do not realize how difficult it is to start a new work, and within one year in an almost virgin territory like Rochester, Minn., to show even a small amount of results. Remember: there are only five faithful congregations in the entire state, and they are all small. Considering these factors, Gary, and his family, and the church there have done an excellent job. Without reservation, I commend them for their year’s work
However, one congregation which has been contributing $300.00 per month to support Gary and his family notified him that, due to a drastic drop in their contributions, they can no longer support him after August! To continue the work he has been doing for the past year, this amount of support must be picked up by someone else.
What about the congregation where you worship? Or, what about you individually? Can you help? If so; contact at once: Gary Hargis,, Box 715, Byron, Minn. 55920 or call 775-6819.-James L. Denison, 813-876-2237.
Truth Magazine, XVIII:36, p. 8-9
July 18, 1974