Although the work goes under a variety of titles, e.g. church extension, evangelism, reformed witness, etc., the intent of our congregations in this labor is the same. In the news of this issue of S.B. our attention will center on the efforts of our local congregations to extend the “good news”—as our Lord has privileged us to know it—to those beyond the pale of our churches. While it is true that as a denomination we support our denominational mission activities, it is clear from bulletin announcements and news letters that our congregations take on numerous individual evangelism projects. Some of these activities are labors in the immediate geographic locality of the congregations sponsoring the work, but as you will see, a large amount of this work is much broader in scope-so broad, in fact, that it encompasses the whole world. Read on and you will see what I mean.
An announcement in a bulletin of our First Church in Grand Rapids informs us that the responsibility for their Recording Ministry is now in the hands of Mr. Rich Dykstra. The announcement goes on to say: “An average of about 30 tapes of our Sunday services are mailed out each week—not only to those within our congregation but also to individuals from Maine to California, Ontario to Florida. About 300 requests for sermon and lecture tapes were serviced during 1980. These came from all over the U.S. as well as Scotland, Ireland, Australia, Malaysia, and South Africa.” Interested S.B. readers can contact Rich by sending to: 3531 Senora S.E., Grand Rapids, Michigan 49508.
A November, 1980 newsletter to the congregation of Hope, Michigan from its Reformed Witness Committee describes two activities in which they are currently involved: First, “We have again this fall begun the Reformed Doctrine Class meeting alternate Thursday evenings in the Allendale Christian School. We have begun where we left off last spring in a study of the Belgic Confession. The class is once again led by Prof. Hanko who prepares study guides and questions for each class.” Second, “Our work has also continued in the tape ministry which is done by Mr. Jacob Kuiper on the committee’s behalf. Every 2 weeks 176 tapes are copied and sent. These tapes, by the way, go literally to the ‘ends of the earth.’ ”
A Church Extension Committee report to the members of our Loveland Church explains that they have been busy with a number of projects: updating the mailing list of those to whom they send various materials, investigating other possibilities in connection with their radio broadcast work, and preparing a pamphlet which, “…we can mail to each householder in Loveland, briefly setting forth our beliefs and introducing ourselves as churches, along with a tear-off card that can be returned postage free for additional information.”
A church extension report on consecutive Hudsonville bulletins discusses some projects in which they are currently involved. For one thing, “This committee sends out, approximately every month, a small bulletin with a one-page message written by Rev. B. Woudenberg, to approximately 250 addresses.” (If you are interested in receiving this bulletin, you can obtain it by sending to: Studies in Bible Doctrine, 427 North Fletcher, Kalamazoo, Michigan 49007.) The Hudsonville report also mentions that, “The consistory is recording our Sunday sermons which are being submitted to Family Stations, Inc., a network of 9 religious stations located mainly on the East and West Coasts, whose chairman is Mr. Harold Camping. During the period of October 1980 through March 1981, 16 of our sermons are scheduled for broadcast. These stations are located in San Francisco, Sacramento, El Cajon, Long Beach (all in Calif.); Newark and Camden, New Jersey; Annapolis, Maryland; Shenandoah, Iowa and a shortwave station in Okkechobee, Fl. They have also two affiliate stations at Lima, Ohio and Redding, Ca. The sermons are heard on a program called ‘Conference Echoes’ which is broadcast every week-day night, Monday through Saturday, from 9:05 P.M. till 10 P.M.” It is interesting to note that there is no cost for the broadcasts since these are non-profit religious stations which are supported by listener contributions. By the way, people in the Grand Rapids area who are not already familiar with Mr. Camping and would like to be, can listen to him Monday through Thursday evenings from 10:00 to 11:00 on WJBL FM.