A Converted Ministry Imperative

The ambassadorship conferred by God upon man is more powerful than the ministry of angels could possibly be, for they have never known the bane of sin or the blessing of par­don.

By G. W. WELLS, General Conference Field Secretary

The ambassadorship conferred by God upon man is more powerful than the ministry of angels could possibly be, for they have never known the bane of sin or the blessing of par­don. Out of a cleansed and happy heart the human instrument can speak to his fallen fel­lows, and through the vibrant sympathy and knowledge of the saving grace of Jesus he can be used mightily to teach and touch and turn sinners to God. The highest, holiest, and heaviest responsibility, therefore, ever imposed upon man is the Christian ministry. The fact that we have this entrusted treasure in earthen vessels is evidence of its high privilege, its great power, and its peculiar peril. No loftier dignity could ever crown a human brow.

Every minister should bear in mind that his power is not in his eloquence or oratory, his natural or acquired gifts of an intellectual kind; but rather in acquaintanceship with the Lord Jesus, and in his personal devotion and true character. If his inner life is not trans­parent, if he is not sincere, candid, free from the taint of selfishness, pride, unholy ambition, and deceit, the Holy Spirit can make no saving use of the most splendid intellectual, literary, or educational gifts. Such a one may have Influence, but he cannot have true efficiency. He may have a pleasing personality, and de­light his hearers with his genius, wit, and humor; but it will be found that his ministry does not bring fruit to perfection.

Such a one may charm others, may cause the church to increase in membership, worldly honor, and wealth; but in winning men to Jesus Christ he falls short, for in his own heart of hearts he does not know the joy of spiritual life. If he lacks the touch of God in his own life, he may get men to obey him., but not the gospel of Christ.

Preaching, to be really effective, must have character behind it, noble, unselfish, sympa­thetic, loving character. Glittering oratory, gifted genius, or charming logic may enthrall vast concourses of people; but if they remain unconverted, worldly-minded, and disobedient to the commandments of God, what does it all avail?

There is danger that the church today will make a fatal mistake, as in former days, in choosing her ministry. She is pushing her ministerial educational program and policy with great earnestness. This we believe is right; but is she neglecting to emphasize with conversion comes first; seeking for the salvation of others, next. . . . Each one is to awake to the necessity of having personal holiness and a personal living faith. Then will God's work be done."—Review and Herald, Sept. 10, 1903.

It is therefore of primary importance that we recognize the true relation between a living experience of faith in Christ and missionary service. In these days of stress, as we seek to extend the triumphs of the cross and count our material resources necessary to advance the work, there is danger of placing emphasis upon human mechanics and educational action, to the detriment of the spiritual life and a living, personal experience. God give us the whole­some balance. 

commensurate force deeper and more impor­tant essentials,—the fullness of the Spirit, the enriching grace of God in the heart as the first element in holy ministry and successful soul winning? Sometimes those who are themselves strangers to the sweet influence of the Spirit of God are employed or urged to engage in activity for the salvation of others. Thus is the standard of true Christian ministry low­ered. If this attitude should prevail, theory and formalism would take the place of genuine experience. On this point, wise and definite counsel has been given us by the servant of God.

"God calls for workers. Personal activity is needed, but Personal activity is needed, but conversion comes first; seeking for the salvation of others, next. . . . Each one is to awake to the necessity of having personal holiness and a personal living faith. Then will God's work be done." Review ana Herald,  Sept. 10, 1906.

It is therefore of primary importance that we recognize the true relation between a living experience of faith in Christ and missionary service. In these days of stress, as we seek to extend the triumphs of the cross and count our material resources necessary to advance the work, there is danger of placing emphasis upon human mechanics and educational action, to the detriment of the spiritual life and a living, personal experience. God give us the whole some balance.


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By G. W. WELLS, General Conference Field Secretary

December 1937

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The Missionary's Most Needful Preparation (An Address at Blue Ridge Educational Convention, August 19, 1937).

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