Unique Consecration Service
By L. H. HARTIN, Dean of Theology, Atlantic Union College
For the last five years Atlantic Union College has indicated in its calendar of closing events for the school year, a special consecration service for the graduates from the school of theology. This event is scheduled for the last Friday night before commencement week.
A unique program, in which the union conference president and the local conference presidents participate, is followed each year. At this time each theological student in the graduating class is presented by the dean of theology. A little of the past history of the student is given, together with some information regarding his future work, as far as known. An appropriate sermon for such an occasion is delivered, a charge is given to the group, and a prayer of consecration is offered. Then each student who has received an internship or an appointment for service is presented with his credentials from the conference to which he is called, and as far as possible, the presentation is made by the president of the conference concerned. This year all of our ministerial students have been placed.
This year our guest speaker was W. B. Ochs, president of the Canadian Union. His practical message left a deep impression on all minds concerning the imperative need of preparation for service. J. D. Smith, president of the Southern New England Conference, offered the consecration prayer, and presented credentials from his conference. M. L. Rice, president of the Atlantic Union Conference, gave the charge, which we believe will long be remembered by the eleven men to whom he addressed his remarks. This service has come to be considered one of the most impressive of the school year, and we believe it to be of great value to the young men entering upon their ministry.
Charge to A. U. C. Graduates
By M. L. RICE, President of the Atlantic Union Conference
This is not a graduation exercise, but rather a consecration service. Nevertheless, I offer a motto as part of the instructions I shall give. The lofty ideal of the ministry can fittingly be set forth in these words of holy writ, "Not to be ministered unto, but to minister." This is a fitting motto for life.
The life of the minister is to be dedicated to the needs and interests of others. He must expect to be the most annoyed, the most interviewed, and the most called for of all men. His time will never be his own. The minister should see in every soul one for whom Christ died. He must be sympathetic to the needs of humanity. In your work, people will turn to you with their problems. Treat every one of them as if his problems were large and of utmost importance, regardless of how trivial they may appear to you.
You are to preach the Word. It is the Bible that is to make men wise unto salvation. The message that will save people today is the same gospel that has always saved men. You are not to preach a new gospel. Your message needs no recasting. It is not a new gospel that the world needs, but a new power in proclaiming the old gospel.
Preach positively and constructively. Don't expect people to believe what you yourself only half believe. Do not become mere rebukers and critics. Your work is to implant in people's hearts a new spirit. When new ideals are implanted in the heart, old ideals will be uprooted. The work of the minister is to be more positive than negative.
Jesus was the model preacher. It was said of Him that He began "both to do and to teach." He lived what He taught. He was a living exponent of His preaching. This same high standard is expected of every minister. The world will not judge you so much by what you say as by what you do. To paraphrase Emerson we might say, "What you do speaks so loud I cannot hear what you say." So live your gospel.
The preacher must be a man with one purpose. From Paul, that prince of preachers, we may learn many things regarding the ministry. Paul was a specialist. "This one thing I do." All his ability, talent, and time were devoted to one thing. It is only when life becomes absorbed in one great worthy objective that man becomes a great moving force. So give yourselves wholeheartedly to your chosen profession. Do not degrade it with side lines.
There is an impression among some of the younger men in the ministry that they must make a certain outward show, drive a late-model car, and live in quarters befitting a man with a lucrative position, if they are to represent fittingly their calling and the message they preach. This is a false impression. While you should live in clean, comfortable quarters, yet it is not so much where you live, as how you live, that will fittingly represent your profession. It is not the model of car you drive, but rather your faithfulness in visiting the people, following up every interest, meeting promptly every appointment, that will give character to your work. It is not outward show, but an indwelling spirit, that will reveal God to man.
Live within your income. Avoid debt as you would the leprosy. As you go about among the people, do not speak of your sacrifices or poverty. Do not hint that you are having a hard time financially, and thus work upon the sympathies of the brethren, thereby inducing them to make gifts to you. Men who do this belittle their calling, become obligated, and of necessity are restricted in their ,preaching.
Perhaps of equal importance with budgeting your income is budgeting your time. This is not an easy thing for a minister to do. You will find it harder to do than balancing your financial budget, as difficult as you may find that to be. But only by budgeting your hours will you find time for study, meditation, and recreation. Spend some time every day in the study of the Bible. Have a quiet hour alone with God every day. Keep yourself physically fit by practicing obedience to the laws of health and temperance.
Accept willingly and uncomplainingly whatever task may be assigned you. Do not criticize those over you in the Lord, or impugn their motives, because you may not understand just why certain things are done or not done.
In dealing with the erring, be kind and tenderhearted. When love cannot win, there is no hope. Judge no one by a single sin, or a single virtue. In dealing with brethren, if you should err in judgment—and this is possible—may it always be on the side of mercy.
May the Lord bless every one of you, and make you a blessing, as, you go forth to be His mouthpiece. If you would be men of power, be men of prayer. If you would feed the flock, preach the Word. If you would win souls, preach Christ.
Union College, Lincoln, Nebraska
By J. W. ROWLAND, Bible Instructor, Union College
The field work of Union College has progressed in a satisfactory way during the school year. Fifteen young men, mostly of the senior class, have been out in active service during the two semesters. Seven evangelistic companies were organized, each taking a small town for its field of labor. These towns were worked systematically with the Good News papers, and the names of interested ones were obtained. Where possible those interested were gathered into a hall or a home. In one instance the meetings began in a hall and later were transferred to a suitable place where regular cottage meetings were held. In two places halls were rented and regular series of meetings were conducted. In all these efforts in which cottage meetings or Bible studies were held, the Community Bible School lessons were followed, and each one participating in the study was given a copy of the lesson.
We are very happy to report that as a result of these efforts, between fifty and sixty people are studying the message regularly, and nine have definitely taken their stand for the Sabbath. All these efforts will be carried on during the summer months by the Society of Missionary Men of the church, and we are confident that a good harvest will be realized from among interested ones.
Canadian Junior College Seminar
By L. W. WELCH, Instructor in Bible, Canadian Junior College
The Canadian Junior College seminar and A evangelism class has carried two principal projects during the past year. The first was the help furnished each Sunday night to an evangelistic effort being conducted in a neighboring town by two local conference workers. This served as a great inspiration and basis for practical discussions in the evangelism class each Monday morning. Our students furnished ushers, special music, and general help at the meetings.
The second project was the opening up of an interest of our own in a country schoolhouse. The members of the evangelism class planned co-operatively a typical lay project. Then each prepared one of the first series of sermons intended to arouse and establish an interest. These sermons were then delivered with the help of other seminar members, who assisted with the music, stories for the children, and chart arrangements. A Bible question box, conducted each week by the instructor, aided materially in discovering the interests of our audience and clarifying difficult points arising in the meeting. Excellent attendance rapidly developed with very little advertising, and genuine spiritual convictions became evident in some who attended.
With the nearing end of school, the project has been taken over by the local church Society of Missionary Men. We believe that this type of co-operation with local church lay workers is one answer to the problem of carrying through student projects to their proper conclusion. We anticipate definite results from this project as the lay workers carry it on.
Expanding Field Work at P. U. C.
By Fred B. Jensen, Field Director, Pacific Union College
The college board is deeply interested in turning out a large number of well-prepared evangelists and Bible workers. At the regular annual board meeting held at the college on February 23, 1942, careful study was given to the needs of the theological department, and the budget for field work for senior students was increased from $700 to $1,250.
The demand for an all-out effort to save the democracies has remarkably impressed us with the meaning of priority. Some things have priority, both in national defense and in denominational endeavor. The third angel's message calls for an all-out against sin. The board of Pacific Union College is aware of that. And in setting up the priorities for the final spiritual conquest, they have definitely recognized the necessity of training an army of well-equipped young evangelists.
In order to meet the demands, we are enlarging our plans for field work, so that upon graduation our young men can go out with a tent and engage in active evangelism as they enter their first year of internship. This means that each one must learn to preach and conduct a well-organized effort before he receives his diploma. Less than that will not do today.
To put general preparation into sharp outline, the school of theology has constructed a portable tabernacle 30 x 70 feet, which has no windows (thus meeting blackout requirements, and with circulating heat and air-conditioning equipment. The tabernacle is arranged with every modern feature. Thus the young men are trained in the use of varied equipment, including charts and maps, stereopticon and moving-picture machines, and equipment for giving chalk talks. Emphasis is placed on dynamic preaching which will hold a congregation when once it becomes responsive to effective advertising.
In addition to the tabernacle effort, we conduct several efforts in cities adjacent to the college—some in our churches, and others in halls or schoolhouses that can be secured without too much expense. We are also introducing field work for our Bible workers, both in connection with our efforts and in independent house-to-house work with our literature.
When the student has completed his course, he is prepared to assume responsibility in general field evangelism. He has his sermon outlines prepared, and a system of advertising to match his sermons. He is equipped to conduct the services of a local church, hold business and council meetings, conduct funerals, and launch campaigns. He is also taught pastoral counseling.
The times demand a thorough training, and the School of Theology at Pacific Union College has determined to qualify the student to meet the demands of the field when he enters the service of a conference. Our training prepares the graduate to begin at the bottom and humbly enlarge his ministry as God leads him. His schooling has taught him the meaning of the authority of the church that sends him out to preach the Word, and the necessity of respect for that authority as it rests in the president of the conference and his committee.
Our tabernacle is located in Vallejo, the great naval base of Mare Island. The attendance varies from a hundred to a hundred and fifty on Sunday nights, and around a hundred on Friday nights. There is an average of fifty to seventy non-Adventists at these services. It is too early to predict the results, but the interest is growing. The students are getting their first thrills in soul winning, and what they see now is stirring them with enthusiasm to finish their training and devote all their time to evangelism. This effort is conducted by six senior theological students.
In St. Helena, California, another effort of interest is under way, with an attendance of seventy to one hundred on Sunday nights. To hold an effort in St. Helena is analogous to holding an effort in Takoma Park, D. C., or College Place, Washington, hard by the college and sanitarium. It has been gratifying to see these people so near to us still interested in the message. Two of our senior theological students are conducting this effort, and it looks now as if there will be some definite fruit from this series of sermons. Both of these young men will enter their internships at the close of the school year.
Walla Walla College, Washington
By V. E. Hendershot, School of Theology, Walla Walla College
Our Seminar group this year has been doing excellent work. We have had ten efforts of one kind or another in progress in the neighboring towns and in some of the institutions near by.
Besides the student efforts in halls, we have been doing regular evangelistic work in the State penitentiary. Two of our boys have been assigned to this work, and they seem to be getting some good results from their contacts. It appears that our Seventh-day Adventist meetings there are more popular than those of any other group.
We had one young man do his Seminar work by broadcasting. A half hour on Sunday afternoon, called the "Voice of Inspiration," was given over the local radio station. All the groups that were holding meetings in the surrounding towns asked their audiences to tune in to that program. We have had a gratifying response as the result.
We have stressed the urgency of the gospel appeal above everything else. From the very first meeting we have endeavored to reach people and gain an entrance into their homes.
Evangelism at S. W. J. C.
By H. B. Lundquist, Bible Instructor, Southwestern Junior College
Realizing that for a college to give theory without laboratory work would be about like walking by using only one leg, our theological department started early during the school year to find a place where the students could put into practice some of the theory they were imbibing in their course. Alter much prayer and careful, persevering search, a hall was secured in a near-by town of about five hundred inhabitants. It was not a bright prospect, as there was much prejudice in the community. The town had been a laboratory for student endeavors for more than twenty years without very encouraging results.
Meetings were held over a period of about two and a half months in the little hall, which was decorated and seated by the combined efforts of the local conference and the members of the little student evangelistic company. The total cost of the effort was around $11o. Of course, that does not take into account the use of cars kindly lent by members of the company as well as members of the church. The church at Keene donated about twenty dollars to the effort; the college, twenty dollars; the union, twenty-five; and the Texas Conference, twenty-five.
Two families have begun keeping the Sabbath, and Bible studies are being held in five homes of those who have become interested as a result of the effort. Others are reading the Signs of the Times and our books.
The unique feature of this effort is that the work was done entirely by students in the first two years of their college course. The average age of those participating was perhaps eighteen years. All the sermons, with one exception, and all the Bible studies, except in the case of one family, were given by students. This fact has resulted in great enthusiasm.
Out of twenty graduates this year, the theological course shared the honor of first place in the number of graduates with the literary course—five graduates. Three of the five are continuing their education, and two are entering our organized work, one as a field missionary secretary, the other as a gospel canvasser.
In the 1942-1943 term, our school is offering a fourteen-grade Bible Workers' course, and it is to be hoped that a larger and larger number of graduates may look forward to direct work for souls as their lifework.
* Written before close of past school year.