From Hearing to Heaven
By Jim Dearman
The number of souls now living is approaching six billion. The full-time laborers among the churches of Christ currently cannot keep pace with the burgeoning population. Among the churches of Christ, we have approximately 400 truthful missionaries to reach six billion people. Each one of them would have to teach 6,000 people per hour (that's 1.6 person per second), 24 hours per day, for a little over 114 years to reach 6,000,000,000 people.
Meanwhile, 50 million people are dying every year. That translates into 95 every minute. Snap your fingers three times and another soul has gone into eternity. That is a sobering thought to soul-conscious Christians. We must encourage more workers to go into the fields. We must use every means to reach the masses with the message of Christ before they leave this life.
The Olive Branch Church of Christ, using the Truth for the World program, provides a total approach to evangelism — employing radio and television broadcasts, literature, and on-the-field personal contact through campaigns.
Radio and television broadcasts are the initial seed sowing for the program. The English radio and television programs feature Jim Dearman and Paul Kidwell Sr. John Grubb coordinates the Chinese Mandarin radio programs, and is currently doing some of the speaking on these broadcasts. Brother Kwan Tai Choom of Singapore makes some programs. The church also produces a French radio broadcast for French-speaking Africa; a television program is aired in the Komi region of Russia and has produced excellent response. The television programs with Jim Dearman and Paul Kidwell Sr., are seen in all 50 states, southern Canada, and Central America. Jim Tittle is the producer of the television programs. Truth for the World radio broadcasts are heard on every continent. The majority of the broadcasts are by shortwave, an effective and economical means of reaching the lost, especially overseas where many listen to shortwave radio.
Rod Rutherford and Ed Crookshank, both longtime foreign missionaries, coordinate the literature and campaign follow-up for this mission effort. Thousands of students are enrolled in Bible correspondence courses, and new students are being added at a rate of about 200 per week. Many are involved in the grading and mailing of these courses, and more are needed.
Since 1992, 18 congregations have been established. Brother Rutherford and others of the staff have written several tracts which are used in follow-up. Dave Amos and Roy J. Hearn volunteer many hours answering Bible questions from listeners and readers.
Preaching campaigns have been conducted in Africa and the Pacific. We are blessed with committed brethren willing to go to areas where no Christians live. In such situations, the plan calls for several groups of workers to spend about two weeks each on the field, for a total period of 8-to-10 weeks. Staff members may spend additional time with newly-planted churches when necessary. We will also "go again and visit our brethren ... and see how they do" (Acts 15:36).
God has blessed the Olive Branch church and Truth for the World. Our fervent prayer is that more brethren may become aware of this program of evangelism and assist financially.
Remember, snap your fingers three times and another soul has exchanged this life for eternity. The destination of that soul may depend upon our wise use of the means God has placed within our power.