Efficiency is a quality highly valued and given both prominence and emphasis by leaders in all the great lines of world activity. Greater efficiency in our gospel ministry was the ideal and the burden that formed the basis of appeal for creating the Ministerial Association. A steady, growing efficiency in our ministry has been the constant aim of the Association during the five years of its existence. The ardent, pressing desire for a more general and perceptible increase in efficiency has led to the birth of this new periodical--The Ministry. To this most important end this medium of communication is dedicated.
"What is this efficiency which holds such a dominant place in the large affairs of great men?" is a question which may be asked. It is that quality in men, methods, or mechanics that enables them to produce the desired and intended results in an undertaking. It stands for the power to produce maximum results with minimum effort or cost. It aims at the elimination of waste or loss in labor, time, and money, in obtaining intended results.
Such a conception of efficiency must appeal to every rational mind. It is rasonable and desirable, and should applied to an activities carried on for the benefit of mankind. Especially should this kind of efficiency have full recognition by the gospel ministry. Christ's ministers are working for the highest and most enduring results which the mind of men can contemplate. If there is need of efficiency -- large results with the minimum of labor and expense--in any line of endeavor among men surely is needed in soul-winning effort. Therefore every minister of the cross should earnestly desire, and pray and strive for, the fullest measure of genuine efficiency.
It is clearly recognized by observing, clear-visioned men among us that the world being done in our cause pre-sents three distinct aspects: (I) Decided inefficiency; (2) partial efficienc y ; ( 3 ) genuine efficiency. The inefficiency is surely regrettable, and should cease. It is a lamentable waste of time, effort, and means; and worse still, its tendency is to create prejudice, sear the conscience, and harden the heart in sin.
Partial efficiency is, of course, a little better than outright inefficiency, yet only a little. Its results are meager and pitiful in view of the serious nature of the work attempted. Service of such a nature will cease to exist when the partially efficient worker is lifted to the plane of genuine efficiency, which it is his privilege to reach, and where it is clearly seen.
Genuine, Spirit-produced efficiency grips the heart. It arrests the attention, convicts the conscience, awakens the soul, and leads to the kingdom. It unites men and women with Christ. It produces the greatest results with the minimum of effort and means, because the work is wrought by the power which God imparts. Why, then, should not every worker in our ranks be truly and highly efficient in his sphere of service? Dear fellow worker, before dismissing this burning question, pray God to fill your heart with a deep yearning and a firm purpose to be, by His empowering grace, truly efficient in His sacred work.
It should be remembered that activity is not necessarily efficiency. There is any amount of activity that produces little. Nor is strenuousness efficiency. One may be strenuous to the breaking point, and yet fail to get desired results. Even effectiveness is not eflciency. As one has pointed out, "a thing may be wonderfully effective, yet not efficient. A medicine which is too powerful may be effective, but not efficient, because it does not produce the desired results."
Broadly speaking, real efficiency in the gospel ministry is based upon the efficiency of the whole man--spiritual, mental, and physical. The heart, the center of the spiritual and moral faculties, must be made right and kept right. The mind must be kept fresh, clear, and strong for high service. It must be stored with the most useful, inspiring information. It must be trained and kept alert by constant activity. The same is true regarding the body. One hundred percent health is the ideal. To maintain this it willbe necessary to obey the physical laws of the body. Proper exercise, sufficient relaxation, and the right kind and quantity of food must be maintained.
Mind and body react upon each other, and both are closely related to the spiritual and moral faculties.
What is the evidence or proof of genuine efflciency in the work of the Lord? The following are some of the sure, reliable evidences:
1. Witnessing for Christ will be accompanied by such persuasive power that there will be a. sure, steady winning of the lost to Him.
2. Those w'ho are thus won will thereafter be so truly fed and nourished with the living Bread that they will be strengthened and firmly established in the " truth as it is in Jesus.'"
3. The personal experience of these believers, through the marvelous work of grace wrought in their hearts, will fill them with such gratitude that they will gladly enter into the priveleges and duties extended to the members of the body of Christ. These will include:
a. Regular attendance at the church services.
b. Joyous witnessing for Christ to the unsaved around them.
c. Faithful return of the tithe of all that God gives, in sincere and gratfful acknowledgment of the privilege of stewardship granted by the Creator and Redeemer.
d . Loyal support of the great foreign missionary enterprise to which the church is called by her Lord.
e. Sympathetic brotherly interest, encouragement, and protection of felIow believers in Christ.
These are some of the blessed fruits or results of work done for men and women by the true, efficient minister of the gospel. Our plea is for the efficiency that builds up the individual, the church, the conference, and the world-wide movement which we are carrying on. It is not efficiency in oratory, scholarship, cunning and attractive advertising, nor elaborate equipment for entertaining the audience, that seriously concerns us.
These, rightly used, have their place, but they are of little value in the work of God, if not accompanied by a power that moves the will and heart, bringing them into submission and harmony with the will and purpose of God. The work to which we are called is mighty, far beyond the power of man to accomplish. Well may we ask with Paul, "Who is sufficient for these things? " 2 Cor. 2: 16. But again we may join that great apostle in the assuring statement: " Our sufficiency is of God; who also hath made us able [efficient] ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life." 2 Cor. 3:5, 6.
Fellow workers, let us never rest until we reach the high plane of true efficiency to which the Lord has called us. Then we may enter into Paul's ex-perience of " warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: whereunto I also labor, striving according to His working, which worketh in me mightily." Col. 1:28, 29. This is supreme service. There is none greater. It is divine, God-given, Spirit-empowered efficiency. And it is freely and urgently offered to every gospel worker. What a holy church, clothed with might and power, Christ would have here on earth if every minister of His possessed this efficiency!
A. G . Daniells