The need on the part of the ministry for the reception of the Holy Ghost as a necessary preparation for the finishing of the work, was the keynote sounded by M. N. Campbell at the very beginning of the ministerial institute held in connection with the fifth quadrennial session of the Lake Union Conference at Battle Creek. The three great objectives of the institute were: A spiritual revival and reformation among our churches, greater efficiency in soul-winning evangelism, and greater faithfulness in our stewardship duties.
The Bible study conducted each morning, emphasizing the various phases of Christian experience, and followed by a devotional period, proved to be of great spiritual blessing and uplift to the workers of this union. A deep spirit of consecration and a desire for a full surrender to the Holy Spirit, with all His power and grace, was manifested. All seemed anxious to take an advanced step in Christian experience and work.
Not only was the need for a spirit-filled ministry stressed, but the fact was also emphasized that it is the privilege of each baptismal candidate to receive the Holy Ghost, making possible the growth in Christian experience and service that must come to every believer in this message who would help finish God's work and be ready when Christ comes.
The dispensation of the Third Person of the Godhead was inaugurated by the manifestation at Pentecost when He descended with a rushing mighty sound, and since that time spiritual blessings have been flowing all down through the centuries. AR who will may step in and receive the infilling. It is our privilege, either at baptism or at a later time, to accept and receive by faith this promised gift, without which we cannot hope to perfect Christian character and complete God's work in the earth, L. H. Christian told of the thrilling experiences and oppression of many of our believers in European countries. Our own consecration was deepened as we learned how the love of Jesus reigns supreme in the hearts of our overseas brethren, causing them to be faithful even unto death. How true it is that "the more opposition the church meets, the better it thrives."
At four o'clock each afternoon, round-table topics' of general interest were presented, several of which will appear in subsequent issues of the MINISTRY. Under the topic, "Pastoral Work," emphasis was placed on the fact that success in the pastor's work depends not so much upon doing something as upon being something. The pastor's work is a high calling and is most sacred. Being called of God to labor in word and doctrine for the upbuilding of Christ's church, he shoulders a grave responsibility. It requires nothing short of a holy life, a sanctified ambition, and a burning desire to please God who has called him. His work demands not only consecration and devotion, but industry and endurance as well.
The importance of setting our church membership to work was urged upon the institute delegates. C. S. Joyce, home missionary secretary of the Lake Union Conference, said: "There is a place for every member of the church to work. The harvest field is so large and the needs of humanity so diversified that none need be left out. It is our task to discover the talents, small or great, now rusting from inactivity, and set them to work for the Master. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of our brethren in the professions and common walks of life will be used to proclaim the truth mightily where the gospel minister would not, perhaps could not, be heard. We must encourage, instruct, and guide these people in their work."
The following two resolutions were adopted to assist in carrying out this idea:
We recommend, 1. That consecrated lay preachers in our conferences be encouraged to hold public efforts in our churches, halls, and schoolhouses, and open-air meetings, under the direction of the district leader and conference home missionary secretary.
2. That conferences be encouraged to conduct lay-preachers' institutes for the training of promising lay preachers.
Bible Training Class
We recommend, 1. That every minister engaged in pastoral or district work in the Lake Union Conference be urged to take immediate steps to organize a Bible training class in every church over which he has jurisdiction, in order to secure the greatest possible results from the denominational study of the Sabbath school lessons.
2. That our lay members be encouraged to use these lessons as a basis for conducting Bible studies and cottage meetings in the homes of their neighbors and friends.
The relation of the pastor to the flock committed to his care was compared by M. N. Campbell to the relation that exists between the shepherd and his sheep. This is a most intimate relationship, the shepherd knowing each sheep and calling it by name. The pastor will be held accountable for his sheep, and it is his responsibility to search for and bring back the members of his flock that go astray. Proper shepherding on the part of the ministry will help us to hold and keep those brought into the faith. "What we have, we hold," the motto of the British Empire, should be the motto of every worker for God.
There is a tendency among us to become so "busy here and there" that the "prisoners," taken by the Holy Spirit for God and committed to our care, escape. We are an active people, more so than most others, and we carry a heavy program. But amid all our activities we must not become so busy that we shall neglect to look after the spiritual welfare of the flock given to us. - Each member should be accounted for by the true shepherd, and the absent ones looked up. We must remember that if we do not look after these absent members, the devil will.
An advanced and greater evangelism was given due emphasis at this institute in the discussion and adoption of the following resolution:
Believing this is supremely the time for an evangelistic advance which will call forth the united energies and prayers of our officials, workers, and people everywhere,
We recommend, That conference committees keep prominently to the front in all their planning the need of rallying our united strength to preach this gospel of the kingdom in every unentered place, organizing their work in their fields in such a way that evangelism shall receive first attention.
Under the topic, "Methods of Evangelism," several practical suggestions were offered. Secure the best hall or meeting place available. Our message is the greatest and the most important message in the world, and deserves a suitable place in which to be proclaimed. The financial aspect should, of course,' be taken up with the conference president for counsel. A large hall might be secured for the Sunday night service, while a smaller hall would be sufficient for the week-night meetings. If the services are held in a church, do not advertise it as a Seventh-day Adventist church, but under some other name, such as the Lansing Bible Institute, Calvary Tabernacle, The Little Church Around the Corner.
Newspaper advertisements, announcements on the church page, handbills, "sandwich signs," and radio announcements were mentioned as a few effective ways of informing the public about our meetings. An expression may be taken from the audience to determine which method of advertising brought out the most people. Oftentimes it is best to announce only the first meeting of the series in the first advertising, and then at this service have printed announcements ready to hand out for other meetings. If it has been previously announced that a series of meetings will follow, some may not come the first night, intending perhaps to come later, and possibly may not come at all. As many as possible should come to the very first service, and be so impressed by the message that they will attend regularly.
Great care and attention should be given to the first service. See that the program runs smoothly and is of the highest type. If songbooks are not obtainable, illustrated songs, or printed song sheets containing good old-time songs that all know, may be used. To these song sheets may be clipped cards requesting literature. Pencils may be attached to the seats, so as to make it easy for the people to sign the cards.
As soon as a list of names is secured, visiting should be started. When an interested person is found by a Bible worker or a visiting member, the name should be given to the evangelist for him to visit. After the Sabbath truth is presented, the visiting must be intensified. When a baptismal class is formed, its members should be thoroughly instructed in every phase of our message. No part of the truth should be held back for fear certain ones will not go forward in baptism. Each baptismal candidate should have a knowledge of every truth and doctrine we stand for as a people, and accept the same.
Many other phases of gospel work were covered in the messages given and in the roundtable discussions at our Lake Union institute. The workers returned to their home fields of labor with an inspiration to launch out in advanced work, and better equipped for giving more efficient service in completing the great task given to this people.