Every Minister's Position Strategic

The most important problem facing our ministers in the field is that of win­ning souls for the kingdom of heaven through the preaching of the threefold message of Revelation 14:6-12.

By J.K. Jones

The most important problem facing our ministers in the field is that of win­ning souls for the kingdom of heaven through the preaching of the threefold message of Revelation 14:6-12. It is essential that every minister checkup frequently to ascertain whether he fully realizes the shortness of the time left; also to think seriously as to whether he is doing everything in his power to save souls and to have his church members engage in actual soul-winning work.

I am a firm believer in keeping up our finan­cial goals, for we need all the funds that can be gathered in, but we must never forget the fact that the supreme goal toward which all others should contribute is that of soul winning. Nothing should be permitted to come in to dim the vision of the minister or his church regard­ing the necessity of rescuing lost souls in these closing hours of time.

Any evangelist in these days who can go through a year content to bear little or no fruit in souls won, excusing himself because he has been busy in other lines of church work, has lost sight of the great purpose for which he was called to be an evangelist. No minister should rest satisfied to labor on without a goodly num­ber of souls constantly accepting the truth as the result of his faithful work for the Lord.

Not only should the minister be a soul win­ner, but he should consider it his task to swing every church in his district into definite soul-saving work. This is just as important as for him to win souls. Our work can never be fin­ished until the minister trains his members to this end. They must cease looking to the preacher to do this work for them. It was when the believers at Jerusalem were scattered abroad, and laymen went everywhere preaching Christ, that the gospel was carried to the ends of the then known world and converts were won in large numbers. What our movement needs today more than money is to have every church and company become a strong soul-winning factor in the spread of this message. Every minister in our ranks should pray and labor to make this possible.

And while it is essential that new converts be brought into the faith, it is just as necessary that we hold true those already in the church. It is not at all satisfactory to bring large num­bers in through baptism and profession of faith, and have nearly as many leaving our ranks through apostasy, indifference, or other causes. If we are to build up strongly as a people, we must stop this drift tendency.

For years I have felt that there is a great field for evangelism in the church itself. We have many thousands of children and young people who understand the theory of this mes­sage, but who have not accepted Christ as their personal Saviour. They are just as worthy of our effort as those for whom we work in tent and hall meetings. I believe there is danger of passing by our boys and girls in our endeavor to save those outside the church. We could greatly increase our membership here in Amer­ica if we would labor earnestly to save all our youth, and then give them something to do in the church.

We will never solve the problem of reaching these youth until we study and set in oper­ation plans to keep them busy for God in the church. Young people like to work for the Mas­ter, and they can be won and held true to Christ if the evangelist or pastor will only take a proper interest in them and set them to work. Definite revival meetings for the young people in our churches should be held every year as a means of winning new converts, and of strengthening those already in the faith. We owe it to our boys and girls to do our utmost to have them saved in the kingdom.

From some observations made here and there, I fear there are certain ministers who make their work hard because they attempt to do it all themselves. Some men seem to try to han­dle alone all the details of their work, rather than to place the many responsibilities upon others in the church. This is one reason why some seem weighted down with burdens of all kinds, and are unable to do successful evangel­ism, while other brethren who have learned how to distribute responsibility, not only succeed in raising the financial goals, but find time for definite soul-winning efforts each year.

Our goals can all be reached; and brethren in many' places are reaching them because they have learned, as did Moses, that God never de­signed that the leader should carry all the responsibilities, but that much of the detail should be placed upon others. The Lord honors a systematic way of looking after the financial interests of this cause, and promises success to the worker who not only reaches out for a deeper spiritual experience in the things of God, but who at the same time carries a deep burden for placing of the church funds on a safe basis.

It is difficult to conceive of a minister's being spiritual and yet being indifferent to the needs of the cause financially. It should be the con­cern of every minister, whether pastor or evan­gelist, to see that such vital matters as the tithe and mission offerings are properly promoted in his district. At the very beginning of a new year, by carefully dividing the responsibility with others in the church, each family in the church can be visited and have the needs of both the home and foreign work set before them. Thus we can enlist their definite sup­port for the forwarding of our world enterprise throughout the year. Where this is done, it often makes it possible for the minister to avoid repeated financial drives and campaigns, which do not always work out satisfactorily.

As economic pressure continues, we should more and more develop the idea of putting our church finances on a basis of definite and sys­tematic weekly or monthly giving. Not only will it mean more funds for the work, but it will be better accepted by our people and will lighten the burdens now carried by our minis­ters, thus giving them more time for soul-win­ning work in the church and outside as well.

The very situation existing in our confer­ences makes it impossible to set aside large sums of money for evangelism. But evangelism is not limited to the conduct of some conspicu­ous public effort in order to save souls. Some of our greatest soul winners today are those who get along without much financial help from the conference treasury. They develop strongly the old cottage meeting idea, holding services at night in private homes, and training some of the laymen to do the same. They also con­duct Bible training classes in the churches and send the members out into homes to give studies. Others are sent out in house-to-house literature distribution. It is remarkable how successful some ministers have been along these lines, and how many converts they have won with very little expense. Such inexpensive methods can be successfully set in operation to­day, with as bright prospects of a splendid fruit­age of souls as in the case of those who depend largely on the public effort alone.

I fear our great danger today is in dwelling too much upon this depression and using it as an excuse for not measuring up to the demands of the hour. We are witnessing a most serious slump in the tithe and foreign mission offerings. Disaster awaits us unless something occurs to check this downward tendency. Every minister occupies a strategic position in this work, and the Lord expects each to do his duty in a time like this. As we throw ourselves into stronger soul-winning effort, let us at the same time not forget to strengthen the financial side of our work. We are to strike a happy medium, not to swing to extremes. Let us maintain a proper balance in all lines of the Master's service.

South Lancaster, Mass.

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By J.K. Jones

November 1933

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