Greater Bible Work

Greater Bible Work—No. XVII

When a Bible instructor is transferred to another field of labor, the transfer of her church membership should be promptly attended to.

By the Ministry staff. 

When a Bible instructor is transferred to another field of labor, the transfer of her church membership should be promptly attended to. Church membership is the privilege of a conference worker, as well as of the layman. The Bible instructor's work, however, is di­rected by the conference and not by the church, and her services cannot be monopolized merely to build up the interests of the one church of which she may be a member. It may happen occasionally that, for a limited time at least, a Bible instructor is directed to center her labors upon a church, but usually her services are for those who are not yet of the faith. She is an evangelistic type of worker as truly as the evan­gelist himself. She is his assistant, directed by him.

Rarely in our work is a minister free to carry on evangelism without having other duties, such as pastoring a church or several churches. He may have an intern to assist him in his many responsibilities, but he is usually the recognized director of the church or district in which he labors, as well as the leader of the series of evangelistic meetings. At times the evangelist and his Bible instructors are called to labor for a church whose departmental machinery is greatly in need of upbuilding. One must then face the question of whether it is wise to use the Bible instructor to lead the young people or ask the minister's wife to direct the Sabbath school. It may even be necessary to educate a church to carry its responsibility in leading out in these departments, for some may be prone to criticize, feeling that conference-employed work­ers are being paid to fill these church offices.

Just what is the place of the Bible instructor, and what is her true relationship to the church where she holds membership ? Aside from her actual evangelistic duties, such as visitation, the giving of Bible studies, and her duties con­nected with the public meetings, she, with other workers, is recognized as a leader of our church members. Leadership, however, does not neces­sarily mean that these workers who are set apart to win others to the message must take church offices. They can serve far more ef­fectively when they train and direct those in the church who should be developing for these of­fices. Experience has taught us that churches always maintain a better spiritual tone when lay members are developed to fill these positions. Conference workers are needed in many places, and it is best for churches to realize that they do not have long-time claims to these workers. A Bible instructor makes the best contribution when she teaches others in the church to become soul winners, teachers, young people's leaders, deacons, or deaconesses.

While we recognize the fact that evangelism taxes a Bible instructor's strength to the limit, we still believe that a worker should not spend all her energy transporting people to church. She belongs in the Sabbath school and church services on the Sabbath day, as well as all other Seventh-day Adventists. When a worker fails to add strength to the church program, when our evangelism is divorced from the efforts of the church and its worship, our attitude defeats the very plan we should build up. We may then expect just what we are experiencing in some places—a decided lack of interest in our evan­gelistic efforts on the part of the church.

Our laymen occasionally express their keen disappointment in the "modern trends" of evan­gelism, which seem to leave the workers pulling the gospel net by themselves, while the church members wonder what it is all about and fail to get enthusiastic over their new converts. We advise our believers, no matter how weary from their week's work, to come to church, because this is an act of devotion and a part of the Sabbath's blessing. That same blessing must be claimed by us personally, else our serv­ice to develop new Sabbathkeepers deteriorates into mere professionalism on our part. Our example counts in this respect, and our believers have a right to interpret our sincerity by our actions.

Occasionally we observe that workers have toiled so hard all week that the Sabbath is an added burden to them instead of a blessing. Surely, this should not be, for we who are defi­nitely responsible for organizing our own labors can change this picture. And we should !

A word regarding church campaigns is also timely. Bible instructors contribute more to the cause of missions by leading others into service than by merely raising large sums them­selves. We are leaders of the people in our mission projects, and the worker who trains others, while perhaps raising a smaller goal herself, is making a better contribution to the work than the one who leaves the people behind, while reaching a high financial goal for herself.

This same principle holds true in every church enterprise. The work to which we have been set apart is Bible work, and not campaigning. It includes Christian leadership of every worthy church project that falls to our hands to do.

Let us keep our eyes on the task of our par­ticular profession and not get sidetracked in our zeal. Each must know God's program for her work. No organized project should drive us to disregard our mission as leaders of men and women, whether it be that we lead them into Sabbathkeeping, soliciting for missions, or something else.

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