(This story appeared in The Advocate in 1964. Someone sent this article to me that was published. I found it in my files last week when I was upstairs in my old office over the garage. I do remember that I wrote it for publication our our church periodical.)
The second annual Missionary Convention at the Brownvile Pentecostal Holiness Church, in the Alabama Conference, was held February 19, 20, and 21, 1964. This year the convention featured missionary speakers from Africa, China, and South America.
Last year, under the leadership of the Reverend Mr. Hugh Holmes Morgan, the pastor of the Brownville Church, the first missionary convention was inaugurated in the Alabama Conference. At that time two other churches joined the effort; and this year three other churches—Birmingham, Flomaton and Mobile—enabled the conference to have four simultaneous conventions with one convention in each of the four districts.
The Brownville Pentecostal Holiness Church has now become a leader in the entire denomination in giving to foreign missions. This small rural church, with a membership of sixty, reveals the fact that the Missionary Convention is without doubt the most successful method of promoting world missions in the local church; and it can be used with great success throughout our entire denomination.
This is true from the standpoint of inspiration, information, faith-promise giving and recruitment.
When the first convention was planned and promoted, the Brownville Church set a missions goad of $500. However, the church more than doubled that goal as faith-promise commitments came in for an amount of $1,200. The pastor and official board set a goal of $800 this second year; and the church has more than doubled that goal. Already, faith-promise commitments have been made in excess of $1,600; and they are still coming in. It is amazing to see how God speaks to different people and how they respond to what they believe God will have them trust Him to give by faith.
The first year that convention was started there were twenty-seven people who made faith promise commitments that amounted to over twelve hundred dollars. It was a new concept of giving and it took time for faith to build in each heart.
The church is supporting the Lamar Pate's oldest daughter, Cathy Pate; a native worker in South Africa; the Cabrera's young baby; and is hoping to take on several more projects.
This year, thirty-eight people have made faith-promise commitments over $1,600 to world missions. The pastor believes that everyone old enough to eat ice cream, chew gum, and eat candy can be a missionary by giving and praying for world missions. Almost every child in the church made a commitment this year. The greatest sight was a two-year-old girl who walked down to the altar area with her commitment card.
The reader might ask: “How much did you receive of the twelve hundred dollars that was committed the first year?” That's a good question. The answer is: “Over one thousand dollars have come in; and the church has the rest of this month to receive the remainder.”
The missionary convention was planned a year in advance. With the able assistance of the Rev. Mr. Roy Wood, the field Representative for the World Missions Department of the Pentecostal Holiness Church as well as a key speaker for the convention, we were able to secure the Reverend A. D. Beacham, Sr., the General Treasurer of the Pentecostal Holiness Church; the Reverend Mr. and Mrs. Omar Cabrera from Argentina; and Miss Fannie Lowe, our registered missionary nurse to Hong Kong.
Each year a definite goal is set for the missionary giving for the year. Even a missionary convention if it has no goal, is pointless. The fixing of a goal gives strong impetus to the convention. The question is: “How much shall the church do in the light of Christ's command and the world's deep need?” The goal for missionary giving stems from the consecration and faith of the pastor and the church board.
The best way to dramatize the goal is by a large thermometer represented on a wall chart. A movable center column is made of red ribbon and rises accordingly as the faith-promise commitments are given, and keeps coming in until the last day of the convention. The aim is to “break the thermometer.” It becomes a thrilling experience for all to see.
The church has adopted the Covenant Card or Faith-Promise Commitment Card method of giving by faith.
The people are told to ask God for what they should trust Him to give, and the amount He will enable them by faith to give each week for missions during the coming year. This requires faith; not faith to get, but faith to give. No other offering is taken during the entire year for missions; and if anyone cannot fulfill his faith promise commitment, he simply tells it to God Who is our Source of ever good and perfect gift.
The Covenant Card has produced marvelous results for several reasons. (1) The people learn to exercise faith in God, in a new way. (2) The plan challenges every Christian to systematic and increasing participation in world missions. (3) The plan treats giving as a spiritual activity. (4) And the plan is definite enough to make possible the planning of missionary commitments a year ahead.
A missionary theme or motto is chosen each year for the convention. This year's theme was “Till The Whole World Knows.” The theme was placed across the front of the church above the pulpit in bold letters so everyone could see. The objective is to turn the people's thoughts toward world evangelism from the moment they enter the church sanctuary.
The pastor, while praying for the convention and the needs concerning the establishing of a medical clinic in Hong Kong, felt deeply impressed by God to make an appointment with a local medical doctor and surgeon. In turn, God spoke to him. This doctor is going to purchase some new equipment for the clinic and he plans to go to Hong Kong at his own expense to render his medical service to the Chinese and our church.
But what are the results of such a missionary enterprise? The church has paid off all her indebtedness and a new educational building is almost completed, souls are being saved, the church and Sunday school are growing and the pastor's salary has been raised three times, the people are being blessed spiritually and financially, and the church is blessed with an abundance of young people.