The Ministry's Solemn Pledge
The constant stream of tributes to the helpfulness of the Ministry coming from every division of the world field, together with expressions of approval for the editorial policy pursued, deeply impress and sober its editor, who takes his appointed responsibility very seriously. This journal, influencing as it does the personal thinking of our workers around the world circle and molding their public emphasis and methods,—so they themselves testify,—now reaches all the English-reading evangelistic workers in this movement. Portions of it, moreover, are translated regularly into other leading languages for those who do not read English. The steady growth of our movement overseas has resulted in a gradual shift of the preponderance of the worker body to divisions outside of North America, with 66 per cent of all workers now rendering their service in lands afar. Supplying the full English-reading portion of this group, as it does, The Ministry has become peculiarly a world organ.
The faculties of our colleges and academies in America are now quite generally provided with this workers' magazine, and it has generous circulation among the theological students of the movement. And now, by approving and authorizing action of the 1937 Autumn Council, at Battle Creek, its circulation is extended to embrace the denomination's medical missionary group—another distinctive body, 2,3oo strong. As the one professional journal of the movement, The Ministry is now privileged to serve these three worker groups,—the ministerial, educational, and medical fraternities. This gives a grand total in circulation that is most gratifying.
This threefold body of readers in every land constitutes at once the most critical, yet appreciative, the most exacting, yet discerning, group in our ranks. Than these, no higher court of appraisal exists in the advent movement. Their endorsement, therefore, or their disapproval, must be taken as the ultimate evaluation. And to be called to serve such a body is one of the highest, but most exacting and sobering editorial privileges accorded by this movement.
Because of this, the editor never escapes from the solemn accountability to God for maintaining in these columns the highest of spiritual standards in a world of spiritual chaos; unswerving loyalty to the fundamental principles of this divinely commissioned movement in a day of blurring vision; undeviating allegiance to our gigantic, unfinished world task. despite increasing national, racial, and class antagonisms; and sound, aggressive, representative ministerial methods as against sensational, unsound, and unrepresentative practices.
He is bound before God and this movement to maintain steadfast adherence in this journal to the immutably established verities of the prophetic, doctrinal, and spiritual truths committed unto our hands, and to a ceaseless search for added light thereupon—and that despite a certain stultifying reactionism on the part of some, and a leaning toward extremism and profitless speculation by others. In short, he is to produce a worker journal with definite conviction and a clear and constructive editorial policy, characterized by the more intimate discussions appropriate to such a medium. Thus is he to promote a sound, scholarly, spiritual, adequate, full-rounded, representative witness to the world, commensurate with our sacred call and worker commission as God's final gospel messengers to mankind. The task is a tremendous and humbling one.
Our chosen motto, written inseparably into the very name of this journal, is "For Greater Power and More Efficiency." To follow and to foster this high and holy objective, we pledge anew our every effort as we stand on the threshold of enlarged service to this movement, made possible now through this larger and more adequate medium—the editorial dream of years.
L. E. F.
Develop More Bible Workers
An efficient Bible worker materially augments the effectiveness and productiveness of the evangelist with whom she is associated. Indeed, a conference can scarcely make a more profitable investment than in well-trained, tactful Bible workers who labor unobtrusively in the homes of the people, patiently instructing, answering questions, affecting vital decisions, steadying the impetuous, encouraging the hesitant, helping the discouraged, and reclaiming the wayward to the paths of right. They do a particular work that no minister can possibly do. Their obvious value to the cause needs no elaboration here. Yet these quiet, faithful workers are often the first to be released and the last to be taken on, under the fluctuation of conference funds.
Some wonder why there are not more strong Bible workers available, or in service. There is really little mystery about it. The simple fact is, that the training of Bible workers has not been encouraged as it should have been by our conferences, nor are thorough Bible-worker courses offered in all of our colleges. Too low a standard has been tolerated in training and efficiency to challenge the best in our youth, and too little recognition and encouragement given when such are properly and competently trained. Too often has some good, earnest, but untrained sister near at hand been taken on in preference to the specific product of our schools.
As we have no uniform—or at least no unified—standards and expectations in requirements and methods of service for Bible workers, and as there is usually no opportunity or provision for them to get together in council for exchange of experience and discussion of problems at union or local workers' meetings, or even at camp meetings, there is small wonder that there is much haziness and confusion on many points pertaining to the Bible worker's relationship to the church, the ministry, and the conference. Consequently there cannot logically be much enthusiasm for a future in this field. This, together with uncertainty of continued employment, does not make for very definite appeal to young women of strength to give themselves without reserve to this noblest of all feminine callings.
Say what we will of the nuns in the Catholic church organization, the flower of Catholicism is drawn into these nunnish orders. And Bible work in the true church, which has been called into being specifically to meet the perversions of apostasy and to herald the truth in its purity, should draw the most talented, consecrated, forceful young women in our ranks. It should challenge our very best. Our colleges and our seminary should give adequate training for truly efficient, superior Bible work. Special Home Study Institute Bible worker courses should be encouraged. Our conferences should likewise recognize the value and indispensability of the rightly trained product, should strive to make Bible workers happy and contented in their work, and to give them a sense of security in such labor.
And our ministers in the field should treat them with consideration and sympathetic understanding, not making of them mere errand girls, or simply literature distributors and visitors, but recognizing and utilizing them as skilled teachers of the people in their homes, and valuable assistants in the public effort. Nor should the ministers take all the glory and credit for joint results in the ingathering of souls which God has given through united effort. It is time that we take the high calling of the Bible work more seriously. May this heaven-born work be given its rightful place!
L. E. F.