World Brotherhood of Trained Leaders

A look at definite methods which have been tried with success in every field.

 By L. H. CHRISTIAN, Vice-President of the General Conference

Although the training of workers for the advent movement is important in every field, the question needs special and intensive attention in new or smaller fields which have few facilities. In some lands the circumstances afford conference presidents and other workers favorable opportunities for de­velopment. Thus, here in the homeland we have a rich literature, and all the writings of the Spirit of prophecy in our own language. In other places, too, where the work has grown large, our leaders have many opportunities for self-improvement. But there are virgin fields, and restricted and backward sections, where, because of language limitations or other fac­tors, the advent movement is more or less shut off by itself. The laborers and leaders in such places need thoughtful counsel and encourage­ment. We here mention certain definite meth­ods which have been tried with success.

1. Ministerial Reading Course. This plan is well known in large fields in which such leading languages as English, German, French, Spanish, and Portuguese, are used. But our workers who read other languages should also be helped to read good books. Indeed, every Adventist worker in all the earth should have access to a reading course. Such reading should be carefully supervised by competent leaders. This applies particularly to the read­ing recommended for younger laborers.

2. New Languages. The study of a new language ought to be encouraged, and in some cases arranged for, by the conference or mis­sion. The language of Adam has been lost, but it was evidently God's plan that there should be many languages. Some are vain enough to think their language the best, or the most melodious, but God loves and under­stands all languages alike. Years ago the Testimonies advised our workers to study new languages. It is not for us to say which language, but we would suggest that one be chosen in which a good selection of the books of the Spirit of prophecy may be had.

3. "Refresher" Courses. In many fields, special "refresher" courses of from two to six weeks should be planned for the workers. We have urged our laborers in new fields to study, but we have often failed to give them the help that they need for mental develop­ment. Adult education of our own workers is of utmost importance, and in some cases, even more urgent than the education of youth. A fairly hard examination should always come at the close of such a course.

4. President's Councils. More and more, in some divisions, all conference presidents and mission superintendents meet every year. This comes at the annual division council in special institutes. If in some divisions the territory is so wide and scattered and there is such diversity of language that annual gather­ings of this nature are not possible, a council should certainly be held every two years. The nearer we get to the end of all things, the more we need to meet together often for coun­sel, study, and prayer.

5. Workers' Meetings. Here and there some have felt that there were too many such institutes. We do not think so; but there may have been meetings for which proper leader­ship and a strong program were not provided. Workers' meetings should be times of hard work, and in our strong fields this is not diffi­cult to regulate. But the problem of good institutes is acute and pressing in the small fields and in fields in which there are limited language areas. Yet it is expressly in those fields where the work is weak or down, and where the ideas of present truth and the form and the spirit of our God-given church order and methods of labor are more or less un­known, that well-planned, practical, spiritual workers' meetings lasting from one to two weeks should be held at least once a year.

6. Outlines of Work. In some fields, de­tailed outlines of the duties and powers of our various leaders would be most helpful. Some­times the man we ask to head up a field or an institution is almost unacquainted with his real work and even with the limit of his authority. Much more instruction should be given by our experienced division and union men to those who take up administrative work. We can almost count on the fingers of one hand today the few men among us who by experience know how to organize a division, a union, or a local conference. Some minis­ters have never even organized a local church.

7. A broad-minded vision. It is not enough that our workers know in theory the doctrines of our advent message. They must imbibe the ecumenical spirit of the advent movement. We must educate our leaders, including those in new or small fields, to get away from a narrow, one-sided view, based on the local ideals by which they have been brought up, or by which they are surrounded. Seventh-day Adventists are not only the church mili­tant—they are the church universal. We must lead our men everywhere to think of the advent movement, not as belonging to one country, but as belonging to all mankind. The remnant church is not to bear the stamp of any one language, race, or country.

The walls of partition, so common in the world, are not to separate us. Our very future as God's people in all the earth, with the last gospel message to mankind, depends on this larger and broader understanding of the work before us. God's ideal for the advent people is a world-wide brotherhood, in which every leader is carefully trained, in which all are equal, in which no one seeks his own advan­tage, and in which everything is done to honor Christ and save the lost. This ideal is indeed a challenge to all division and union leaders.

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 By L. H. CHRISTIAN, Vice-President of the General Conference

May 1939

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