By LOUISE C. KLEUSER, Assistant Secretary of the Ministerial Association
The actions of the recent General Conference, providing for the appointment of a Ministerial Association secretary to foster and re-emphasize the Bible work in our movement, were based upon the conviction that the hour had fully come to revive the Heaven-appointed Bible work. This was clearly recognized as a major need in our greater evangelistic program. God helped those charged with this responsibility speedily to grip this waiting problem. Immediately following the General Conference, definite plans were laid to begin organizing toward these objectives. And since the early part of July, your appointed secretary has been orienting herself with these forward-looking plans of the association for the Bible work.
One would naturally shrink from such a responsibility, were it not for the conviction that our impelling need for consecrated and efficient Bible workers is a challenge to proceed. Committing ourselves to the Master Soul Winner, and believing in the holy calling of the Bible work, we take courage as we seek to rally our sisterhood of Bible workers to bring about a new day for the profession. God is not limited in His provision, and He will surely crown these efforts with success.
We must now hew out of the valued experience of the past, and the emergencies and challenges of the present, a program with which to begin our task of giving the Bible work a new impetus. Letters to the Ministerial Association from a large group of Bible workers convince us that the problems are manifold. But these messages all breathe the same earnest desire for professional efficiency. In this there is hope. Keeping abreast with progress in our evangelistic work has developed various approaches toward successfully securing an interested reader or an audience. Modern evangelism involves an alert and adaptable mind on the part of the worker.
May this new service for the Bible work bring added courage to our ranks. May it become the means by which to blend our interests for a greater and more Spirit-filled service. Then, as we mutually progress in our efforts, we will build up and elevate the profession to which, in these closing days, hundreds of our consecrated young men and young women of outstanding ability should be strongly attracted.
We shall soon be soliciting from the ranks of our Bible workers helpful exchange material for our special section in THE MINISTRY. As we become acquainted with the ability and the varied talents of our sisters in the profession, this medium will, we trust, become of increasing service to our Bible workers. While we want to proceed with due caution, we shall endeavor to make an immediate start. We invite our Bible workers, as well as our evangelists, pastors, and executives, to contribute their suggestions toward building a stronger structure for the profession.
Working With the Laity
By Ruth S. Lamb, Bible Worker, Colorado Conference
The Bible speaks of us as "workers together with Him." I like that word "together." There is a meaning of warmth in it. One who recently visited Denmark made the statement : "I have seen a whole nation working together as one great family."
We are not one nation, but the people of every nation under heaven, working together as one great family of Seventh-day Adventists. We are not working for the reconstruction of one little nation of an earth that is soon to go down in ruin, but to prepare the people of every nation to dwell together as one great family in an earth made new.
This is a tremendous task, even with our work as far advanced as it is. The messenger of the Lord has told us : "The work of God in this earth can never be finished until the men and women comprising our church membership rally to the work, and unite their efforts with those of ministers and church officers."—"Testinionies," Vol. pc, p. 117. We are therefore admonished:
"The leaders in God's cause, as wise generals, are to lay plans for advance moves all along the line. In their planning they are to give special study to the work that can be done by the laity for their friends and neighbors."
"Those who have the spiritual oversight of the church should devise ways and means by which an opportunity may be given to every member of the church to act some part in God's work."—Id., pp. 116 117.
In doing this, we must keep faith with our people, not only causing them to feel that we are depending upon them for the help they can give, but showing our deep appreciation. for their work. Many times, I fear, the conference Bible worker or the minister is called in to bind off the work which the lay person has begun and spent many months in developing, only to neglect to give the proper recognition to the one who has actually been responsible for doing the work. The greatest encouragement that can come to anyone is to have someone accept the faith through his efforts.
I think I have never been connected with a better-organized effort than the one which recently closed in Denver. When I arrived in the city, the meeting had been in progress for several weeks. The pastor and his flock were working together in a united effort to reach the interested souls. The members were taking the printed lectures into the homes and visiting with the' people. When they felt that it was time for the pastor or Bible worker to make a personal call upon these people, they made the appointment.
Build for More Lasting Results
This kind of work builds for stronger, more lasting results. In the first place, it strengthens the hands of the minister and brings him closer to his flock. It gives the lay people a real experience in field work. But most important of all, it puts them in close contact with those who are to be the future members of this great family of God. Thus when the pastor, or evangelist, whichever it may be, leaves, those who have been brought in still have an interest in the church and feel that there are those there who have a personal interest in them.
We should encourage our people in working for God, to do so in close co-operation with their local church. There is danger in working individually and alone, but in unity there is safety and strength. Help them to see the necessity of getting a preparation for their work. This they can do by taking an active part in the missionary program that is carried on week by week in the church, by giving out literature in their neighborhood; by taking the courses offered from time to time by the church ; and by reading our periodicals and our Crisis books as soon as they come off the press.
There is one thing about which I believe we ourselves should be very careful, and should caution our lay people. And that is speculating on the future. I always tell the people when they ask concerning our opinion on future happenings, that where the Bible speaks, we speak, and where the Bible is silent, we are silent. I believe that when the Lord has new light for us, He will give it through the proper channels. It will reach us in due time, and will not alter old truths. After all, it is the "everlasting gospel" that we are to give, helping people back to the old paths, building again the old waste places, and restoring the old paths to dwell in. And if you read carefully Revelation 14:6-12, you will see that our message does just that. The gospel of truth never changes.
Not long ago I was asked to give a study on a subject upon which we have heard very little in recent years. Having of late heard different opinions expressed in regard to this subject, I thought, "Just how am I to present this matter ? Have we changed our views upon it?" I purchased the latest Crisis book which I knew would deal with the question, written by one of our men. After carefully reading it through, I said to myself, "Thank God, truth never changes." Let us keep in close touch with the material put out by our denomination on these subjects, and encourage our people to read and keep pace with the message in this way. We have a wealth of up-to-date information coming off our presses all the time. And remember, truth is the same truth, even when presented in a new setting. A diamond is the same diamond after it has been polished and put in a new setting. It has only been raised and placed where it can shine the brighter.
I was present recently in a home when a young woman came in with a diamond. The family were admiring it as they sat around the dinner table in the evening. One of them suggested that they test it on a glass tumbler to see if it would cut the glass. But the one who was holding it feared to make the test. Then the owner, believing sincerely in its genuineness, said, "Give it to me. I am not afraid to put it to the test." And, taking it, she drew it across the glass, making a cut in the tumbler.
And so it is with truth. It is safe in the hands of all who know and believe in it. It is the strongest thing in the world, and we need not fear to put it to the test. Let us be sure our people get the necessary preparation for giving the truth; encourage them to study continually to put that truth in its most attractive light, and it will cut its way into the hardest of hearts.