|Volume 25 Number 9 September 2023
T. Pierce Brown
For more than 40 years, I have been involved in correspondence Bible school work. Most of the work I have seen being done was by the elderly women of the church. The philosophy probably was something like this: Since the elderly women have been relegated to the background and have not been given much of anything to do in the church that is important, why not get them involved in this kind of secondary work, whether it be local, national or worldwide?
If that is your philosophy, it is a tragic mistake and needs correction for three reasons. First, this work is not secondary. It is one of the ways of carrying out the primary task of the church. Second, elderly women can do many other kinds of things of value to the church. Third, this sort of work should receive the interest and participation of every segment of the church. Of course, retired men and women may be able to do more in this area than those who are working at two or three other jobs, but all should be encouraged to participate if possible.
Can you imagine the fantastic results that would be achieved in carrying out the commission of our Lord if the young people of our congregations were challenged with the wonder, joy and value of getting involved in mission work through correspondence Bible school work in China, Africa, India, South America or anywhere in the world with the assistance and the encouragement of older ones? There are many of them who may be tired of hayrides, hot dog roasts, outings of one sort or another that do very little for their spiritual hunger (even if a devotional is tacked on somewhere). They want to do something valuable for the Lord and for the world. They could be challenged with this kind of project and could learn much about the Bible, and be highly motivated to do other kinds of mission work in the process. At the same time, they could be bridging the generation gap that sometimes causes problems in the church, especially if their parents would participate with them or encourage them. When Caleb said, “…Give me this mountain…” in Joshua 14:12 (NKJV), he was not interested in some molehill. We have tried to challenge our young people too long with molehills, but I believe many of them would respond to the challenge of the mountains.
I took my first Correspondence Bible Course about 1945 while I was flying in B-17’s over Europe. It happened to be the same course taken by brother Essein, the first convert of which we know in Africa. I have among my students today some of his children, grandchildren or other relatives. I have been trying to encourage fellow Christians to participate in Bible correspondence work ever since. You do not have to use John Hurt’s, Monroe Hawley’s, World Bible School’s or any particular series of lessons. If you have anything better, use it. However, for heaven’s sake (and I mean that in a literal way), if you are not involved in personal evangelism in a personal way, you could at least get involved in impersonal evangelism – evangelism in a less direct way. I especially urge you to try to harness the tremendous talent, ability and desire of our young people in the effort to evangelize through correspondence courses.