Let us think of the pastor's study, or office, not only as a medium for contact with church members, but also as an agency toward more efficient work for the pastor in his ministry. The designation, "Pastor's Study," conveys the idea of a place where the preacher is not only in action with the outside world, but in personal communion with God in the study of the Scriptures. The word "study" is defined thus in one dictionary:
"To endeavor to learn or learn about by means of mental application ; apply the mind in memorizing or mastering, or to devote oneself to the mastery of, as a profession; to follow a regular course of instruction; to apply oneself to learn some department of knowledge; as to study for the ministry ; to use thoughtful care in the prosecution of some end."
I believe this definition should be comprehended within the meaning of the pastor's study. The pastor's study, therefore, should be a place where the minister applies his mind in the mastering of the Scriptures, where a regular course of instruction is developed, where he devotes himself to the mastery of his profession, and where thoughtful care is exercised in the prosecution of God's work here on earth.
There is grave danger in our day of the ministry's becoming followers of men rather than of Christ in the study of the Word. It would be easy for the ministry of this denomination, in a time when classroom work is highly specialized and advertised, to wear the professor's armor rather than the armor of the Lord, and the result might be that we could then develop into the intellectualists rather than meditators. The Scriptures say, "Study to show thyself approved unto God." Our study should be devoted to the purpose of receiving the approval of God rather than the approval of man. I read a statement from the "Testimonies," Volume IV:
' "While young men should guard against being pompous and independent, they should be continually making marked improvement. They should accept every opportunity to cultivate the more noble, generous traits of character. If young men would feel their dependence upon God every moment, and cherish a spirit of prayer, a breathing out of the soul to God at all times and in all places, they might better know the will of God."—Page 443.
In this mechanized age, when the world is geared up to high speed, the ministers of God in the last generation must also gear up their speed. In fact, the prophet of God, as he saw the advent ministry in the last days, envisioned them as flying in the midst of heaven with the everlasting gospel to every nation. A minister, therefore, must so organize his work that he will be able to accomplish more with greater speed, and yet preserve his health and strength for the climax just before us.
We need a greater vision of the work that is to be accomplished now. Other denominations marvel at the amount of money we have for carrying on our church work. But, brethren, I marvel at the number of persons they have in their membership for carrying on their church work. What could we do in God's cause with such a membership ! But if our membership and ministry list is smaller, that does not eliminate the fact that we have the greatest task ever given by God to any church. Therefore we must not permit time or energy to be wasted, but should arrange our work in such a way that we may accomplish the most.
What should a pastor's study contain? How should it be furnished? It seems to me that a minister's study should contain his library, a work table or desk, extra chairs for visitors, his books and his periodicals, his daily newspaper, some appropriate pictures, and a telephone by which the members of his church and the outside world can reach him. The minister's study, connected with a telephone, can materially aid his efficiency and speed. The morning can be effectively spent in the pastor's office for study and appointments.
Advantages of Tabernacle Office
I estimate that one half of the converts I baptize are brought into this truth through personal work in my tabernacle office. There is an advantage in having one's office-study in the church or tabernacle, for thus many times a number of interviews with interested people are possible just before the evening service. Furthermore, many people feel more free to come to the pastor's office, rather than into his home, for it is a more public place. The work in the study does not eliminate visiting from house to house, of course, but by spending the forenoon in the office, and the afternoon in calling in the homes, the minister can give the message to more people, and with very little additional time, strength, and money.
Every Seventh-day Adventist minister should have a study, in his church, his tabernacle, or his home. Some no doubt feel that their income is so small that they cannot afford to rent a home large enough to include a pastor's study, and so a tiny little corner in the home is marked off as his "workbench." Every minister and every minister's wife should bear in mind that even though it may seem that a study cannot be afforded, should the minister fail to put God's program over through that greater efficiency generated in the place of prayer and study, he may have still closer quarters and a smaller income by the time they get through with their narrowed vision. I feel that the added prestige of the minister's study with the general public and our people is worth the sacrifice and the price to the cause or to the preacher.