Developing an Efficient Ministry
By L.H. Christian
The success of any worldly enterprise is measured by its leadership. In the church of Christ this vital principle applies yet more. Nothing in a spiritual movement is of so great consequence as godly and capable preachers.
We of the advent message and work need to study this fact. If we would see the cause prosper, we must have ministers who meet the mind of the Lord. We need men who are thoroughly converted, who are Spirit-filled, who hate sin, and whose lives are an honor to God. We need men, too, who by reading, study, and clear thinking are fully qualified intellectually. We need workers who live in close touch with the ways and feelings of the people for whom they labor; men who are forceful and diligent, and who find the best methods of work.
To build up a strong ministry and make it fruitful in soul winning is our important task. We see this need in the foreign fields as well as in the homeland. To achieve this is the one great objective of the Ministerial Association. It plans through institutes, the Reading Course, and other means, so to train our workers that we may reach the heights of usefulness set for us by the Lord. The European Division has asked Elder J. C. Raft to lead out in such helpful activity in this continent. His long experience will enable him to render the cause a great service, and we shall all be glad to unite with him to build up an efficient ministry.
Profession vs. Possession
By C.K. Meyers
In the prophecy of Laodicea, found AL in the third chapter of Revelation, the ‘PP Lord reminds us that He knows our works, that they are neither cold nor hot; and He says, "I would thou wert cold, or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of My mouth."
It is a terrible thing to live in the experience in which a man is right in doctrine and wrong in himself, and yet it is such an experience as that which is pictured in this message of warning to some living down in this judgment hour, when God is definitely setting His hand to deliver the human soul. Somebody makes profession, and has not the experience of possession. Somebody has nothing more to put into the balances of eternal judgment than church connection, rather than the experience of fellowship with Him. This is not a time in which God is testing the professions of men. He has a deeper motive in this connection. He is testing the character of men. It is a thought that should forever grip us as workers.
The Purpose of Departments II
By G.A. Roberts
To save just one soul heaven would have emptied its entire treasure, as truly as it did to save the world. To save just one soul cost heaven more than it did to create the race. To forgive just one sin cost heaven more than human minds can comprehend. Heaven's arches ring with angels' music when a soul turns from sin to righteousness, while the angels hang their harps and bow their heads in silent sorrow and the wounds of the Saviour are opened anew when Satan exulting drags down a soul. To save just one soul will bring to heaven more joy than the fidelity of one hundred who need no repentance. And the saved soul will stand in closer relationship to Jesus than the angels who have never sinned. The saved soul will be the recipient of the demonstrated love of Jesus, in that he is to show to all the unfallen beings " the exceeding riches of His grace " by His special " kindness " to that soul " in the ages to come." Saved souls will brighten the luster of those who turned them to righteousness, until such will " shine as the stars forever and ever." Moreover, all the power in heaven and in earth, together with the personal fellowship of Jesus, is vouchsafed to each one who will " go and teach " in order to win souls. For no other reason is any department of our work organized than to save souls. If any department is operating for any other purpose, its work is superfluous and should be discontinued.
No department of a conference or local church, and no head or member of such department, should be satisfied to have the department function simply to make big records, or to reach goals, or to care for money, leaving soul winning to be done by the evangelists or by some one else. Each department should in itself constitute a distinct soul-winning agency, so much so that if that department were the only one to come in contact with a lost soul, that soul would find the way to salvation through its influence alone. It is not merely records, but redemption; not goals, but souls; not money, but men, that should receive our greatest attention and care.
Information for Workers on the Sunday Law Issue
By C.S. Longacre
Fon the benefit of our workers who desire inside information concerning the Sunday law issue and matters which we cannot print in the Liberty magazine without appearing to deal with personalities, I am glad to be permitted to present some interesting items through the medium of The Ministry.
Lankford Infringes His " Franking" Privilege. — Congressman Lankford was elected vice-president of the National Reform. Association, and is also an official of the International Reform Federation. As a Congressman, he is granted the special " franking " privilege to send his " official mail " concerning government business absolutely free through the mails. This " franking " privilege is not supposed to be used by private organizations to carry on their own business or propaganda free through the United States mails. Yet, as a high official of the National Reform Association, he allows this religious organization to use his government " frank " to mail out their own propaganda material in behalf of the Lankford Sunday bill which they themselves framed. Three different pamphlets of considerable size, containing nothing but sermons and articles on the Sunday law issue, are being circulated free through the mails, sent out from the headquarters of the National Reform Association in Pittsburgh. Many thousands of these pamphlets have already been mailed under the Congressman's " frank."
Where the Anti-Saloon League stands.— At the recent International Reform Federation convention held in the city of Washington a few days before the Anti-Saloon League convention, quite a large number of the State superintendents of the Anti-Saloon League joined with the International Reform Federation in indorsing the Lankford Sunday bill. An effort was made to secure the indorsement of the Anti-Saloon League of America, but this attempt failed. However, one of the national officials of the Anti-Saloon League told me he feared that the time was not far distant when the Anti-Saloon League would be dominated by this " Reform " element which is gradually gaining headway in the Anti-Saloon League of America. The present officers, out of deference to our people and the splendid support we have given the League in the past, have done all in their power to sidetrack this Sunday law issue at the national conventions.
The Attitude of the W. C. T. U.— The Lord's Day Alliance quoted the National Woman's Christian Temperance Union as indorsing their Sunday law program, but Mrs. Boole, the national president of the W. C. T. U., assured us by letter that the national organization does not indorse a Sunday law program. Several of the State W. C. T. U. organizations, however, have come out openly in defense of the Lord's Day Alliance program, and have indorsed the Lankford Sunday bill. Mrs. Darby, the wife of one of the editors of a leading Baltimore (Md.) newspaper, attended a W. C. T. U. convention in Baltimore, and reports that the W. C. T. U. representative from Canada appeared before the convention and " produced a bag full of Liberty magazines (S. D. A.), and protested wildly against the publication,"‘ getting all present to vow they would help, suppress it, and she declared that they would see to it that the Liberty magazine never again crossed the Canadian line.
A Significant Landmark. Sister White says the time will come when the prohibition forces will line up solidly behind this Sunday law movement. These forces are now working under cover, in the dark, and it is evident that it will not be long until these reform organizations will come out openly as national organizations favoring Sunday legislation.
Petitions Against Bill Roll In.— The petitions against the Lankford Sunday bill are rolling in with remarkable regularity and volume day by day. The Congressional Record files page after page of them, and some days the signatures on these petitions against the Lankford bill mount up into the thousands, even as recorded by a single Congressman. This is making a splendid impression on Congressmen, and undoubtedly will cause many of them all to change their mind in favor of the American principle of religious liberty.
The Religious Liberty Campaign.—The religious liberty campaign is making great headway in the field. To date, over six million copies of the little leaflet entitled, " Your Liberties Imperiled," have been ordered. More than 250,000 copies of " The Church in Politics " have been sold. Truly our religious liberty literature is being scattered " like the leaves of autumn."
Some of our ministers are holding mass meetings in the large cities, and report wonderful results and an awakened interest in our message and work. It is hoped that all our workers will embrace this God-given opportunity, while the public mind is agitated over this national issue, to give the message of religious liberty to the people, and then follow the awakened interest with related truths. God presents these opportunities to us that we may hold aloft the " banner of truth and religious liberty " which has been committed to us as a people. " It is our duty to do all in our power to avert the threatened danger."
The Power of Personal Witnessing
By G. W. Wells
The finest test of consecration and heart devotion, in the case of a minister of Christ, is not found in his public performances, but rather in what he is and does when the world is not looking on, and the personal testimony he bears of the power of God in his own life. For a minister to hold the attention of a congregation for an hour, is a worthy satisfaction, and indicates the bestowal of a gift not to be despised. There is a satisfaction infinitely more precious, however, the satisfaction of knowing that by some act, or through personal testimony borne regarding the saving grace" of God in one's own heart, a soul has turned to Christ, and thereby his life has been forever changed.
"Ministers of Christ, what have you to say for yourselves? What soul conflicts have you experienced that have been for your good? . . . Can you speak of the refining, ennobling, sanctifying influence of the truth as it is in Jesus? What have you seen, what have you known, of the power of Christ? This is the kind of witness for which the Lord calls, and for which the churches are suffering."—" O. W.," p. 278.
In my personal study for soul culture and better spiritual preparation for gospel ministry, I came across the foregoing burning and heart-searching statement. It not only arrested my attention, but gripped my heart, and caused me to read and reread, with longing desire and determination to have just the experience " for which the Lord calls, and for which the churches are suffering."
For thirty years or more I have been in the ministry. I find it comparatively easy to preach a sermon, give a Bible study, and explain certain perplexing texts of Scripture. It is pleasing and Interesting to preach the glorious doctrines of the message. I can exhort, instruct, reprove, and sometimes rebuke. I can help put on a campaign — work out a program, set goals, figure out the per capita; I can lead the church into earnest, enthusiastic service in missionary endeavor. I have many times done all this, and more. But, really, this does not answer for the personal witnessing of " the refining, ennobling, sanctifying influence of the truth as it is in Jesus " upon my own heart; neither is it that " for which the Lord calls, and for which our churches are suffering."
The Lord must do something for us before He can do much with us. In studying the early life of the apostles, we observe how they attempted to accept and benefit by Christ's work without first accepting Him as " both Lord and Christ," as He is stated to be. Acts 2:36. Then, as now, men said, " We will not have this Man to reign over us." Luke 19:14. But to attempt to be a " laborer together with God " without recognizing Christ as Lord of heart and life, as well as the one through whom we have forgiveness of sins, is to reap only failure and disappointment.
First of all, we are to learn the important lesson that " the Father sent the Son" (1 John 4:14), and that in sending Him, He " laid on Him the iniquity of us all " (Isa. 53:6) ; He made " His soul an offering for sin " (Isa. 53:10) ; and hath exalted Him " to be a Prince and a Saviour " (Acts 5: 31); and " hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin." 2 Cor. 5:21. And still further as to what Christ came to do, we read: "He bath borne our griefs; " " carried our sorrows; " " was bruised for our iniquities; " " was wounded for our transgressions; " " with His stripes we are healed." Isa. 53:4, 5. Therefore, because the Father sent the Son, and because of what Christ took upon Himself and accomplished, it is the Father's purpose that " repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His [Christ's] name" (Luke 24:47), and also that men should " declare His righteousness for the remission of sins that are past." Horn. 3: 25.
When workers for Christ embrace these all-inclusive promises and divine statements, and permit them to become a living experience in the life, then, with the apostles, they will be " witnesses of these things," and will be able to declare and to rehearse " all that God had done with them."
In our Christian life, growth, and testimony, we may learn a valuable lesson from the example and teaching of the " beloved" disciple. John had passed the threescore-and-ten milestone of his life, and the journey's end was rapidly drawing near; he was looking back over the years gone by, and through all the experiences of life one WI-- character stood out above all others Christ Jesus the Lord. John's personal testimony is this: " That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; . . . that which we have seen and heard declare we unto you."
For what purpose does John bear this personal testimony and declare its certainty? O, it is " that ye also may have fellowship . . . with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ." What a priceless gift! What a wonderful blessing! What a glorious privilege to have fellowship with God and with our blessed Lord! " But how few, even among the professed ambassadors for Christ, are ready to give a faithful, personal testimony for their Master! Many can tell what the great and good men of generations past have done, and dared, and suffered, and enjoyed. They become eloquent in setting forth the power of the gospel, which has enabled others to rejoice in trying conflicts, and to stand firm against fierce temptations. But while so earnest in bringing forward other Christians as witnesses for Jesus, they seem to have no fresh, timely experience of their own to relate."—" G. W.," p. 273.
In no less degree are we to preach Christ and Him crucified; neither are we to neglect proclaiming God's warning and saving message. But, "ministers of Christ, what have you to say for yourselves!"
The Ideal Minister's Wife — Concluded
By Mrs. E.K. Slade
Of course the wife of a minister will be deeply interested in all church activities. I do not care to dwell upon this in particular; its importance is so well understood by all that enlargement upon it seems unnecessary. I do hold to the thought, however, that such activities should not lead to the neglect of the home, for I feel that we are suffering a great loss from failure to make our homes all that they should be, for holding our children and maintaining an influence that is wholesome, not only upon our own members, but upon the public as well.
You will permit me to say just a few words about the detrimental results of gossip. I do not believe that the minister's wife will be a gossiper. I have sometimes thought that in this particular we see failure more often than in any other. The wife of a leader in this message, It seems to me, can be an influence for good by maintaining a friendly, sociable, communicative attitude while at the same time keeping away from gossip and criticism. The lives of ministers have been blighted by weakness in this way, when there, should have been strength and constructiveness. The tendency to want to pass on something new or information on which the individual may feel she has the " inside track," leads to an element of cheapness and hurtfulness that I have felt should be entirely eliminated from the life of one so closely associated with the sacred work of the ministry.
I wish to mention just one more matter that is very vital in connection with the work of a minister and his wife. I have in mind the financial question. It seems to me most unfortunate for the wife of a minister to chafe under the financial restrictions and limitations that are involved. The tendency also to fall in management, to go beyond one's means, and to contract debts and carelessly ignore them, is most unfortunate. It seems to me that it is better for the wife of a minister to co-operate with her husband in the making of a budget, and in a program of economy and wise management, rather than pass out any word of dissatisfaction and complaint regarding what may seem to be a great, sacrifice or embarrassing financial limitations. I can easily ' realize that cooperation of the wife is of importance in this connection. It seems just as important that the minister's home should be an example of successful financial management as in other lines, and I believe that an ideal minister's wife can contribute a great deal in the way of helping to manage properly the affairs of the home, buying clothing, food, furnishings, fuel, and in all expenditures in such a way as to be a positive factor for good.