Evangelist Luis Palau had a good idea of what he was getting into when he traveled to northeast Scotland last month for a series of brief crusades. He had heard this was one of the most difficult regions in all of Britain in which to try to generate new spiritual life. A variety of circumstances seemed to confirm this:
• A Scottish television station produced a one-hour documentary that made the point that the only empty buildings in Aberdeen, now an oil boom town, are churches. And it is true that many other churches have closed and been converted into apartments, offices, appliance warehouses, and garages.
• A Church of Scotland minister said a whole generation of the working class has been missed; not one person in his congregation works with his hands.
• Most churches are top-heavy with older members. Philip Simpson, general secretary of the YMCA in Aberdeen, said, “Young people think church is dull and boring … that it’s a place for middle class people and old ladies with big hats and they want nothing to do with it.”
A small group of Scots saw these needs, got together and prayed; then they invited Palau. His final ten days in Scotland would be spent in Aberdeen, where there had not been a unified evangelistic effort for an entire generation.
Evangelist Billy Graham, who was successful in mass evangelism in England and Scotland during the 1950s, had advised Palau: “Don’t conduct a prolonged series of meetings in an outdoor stadium in any part of Britain at any time of the year.” The problem was that there were just two choices of facilities in Aberdeen: the Music Hall, indoors, with a seating capacity of 2,000; and the football (soccer) stadium, which is outside and accommodates 20,000. The local committee prayed, then ...1
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