How About $2.50 A Soul?

I have a friend who pastors a small church in a small town. The big-name evangelists don’t make it into town for regular crusades (and now, television fans, “Billy Graham’s Temecula Crusade”). But the no-name evangelists do. When you don’t have a name, you have to have a gimmick … or a guarantee. And the evangelist who came to my friend’s small town did.

He called all the pastors together, described his crusade, and then said in sacred tones, “I can guarantee that 250 souls will come to Christ in the seven days I’m here.” For the 250 souls and seven days, no-name wanted $1,500.

Later my friend and I figured it out on his calculator: 250 souls for $1,500 is $6 a soul. That seems high even in today’s inflationary market. If he can make guarantees, we reasoned, why can’t we dicker on the cost? So we came up with a counter-proposal.

We’ll pay top dollar—$5 a soul—for first-time conversions. (We don’t want the evangelist stacking the deck, so to speak.) We’ll spend $2.50 for second-and third-timers. (Nazarenes would call them that; Presbyterians would say “reaffirmations of faith.”) However, we’ll only pay $1.50 for people over sixty-five because they are unlikely to go into “full-time Christian service.”

We presented the plan to the evangelist. For some reason, he didn’t buy it. I can’t understand it. He could have made $2,100 in a good week.


Surprisingly Healthy

Your editorials in the November 21 issue (“And How Are Things at Home?” and “Book of the Year, Topic of the Year”) stating that “if you think that raising children is chiefly the woman’s responsibility, rid yourself of that notion” and commending the books of Scanzoni-Hardesty and Jewett to your readers reminded me that I have wanted to ...

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