Making Favorable Contacts

It has been my privilege to become personally acquainted with more than one hundred minis­ters of other denominations during my active con­nection with our organized work.

E. R. POTTER.

It has been my privilege to become personally acquainted with more than one hundred minis­ters of other denominations during my active con­nection with our organized work. This acquaint­ance began during my first summer's experience in the colporteur work, when I was seventeen years of age. I began one morning to work in a small town in the western part of Iowa. I soon learned that there was one church in town and that the minister lived next door to the church.

I was just a timid lad, having spent most of my time on the farm, and I greatly dreaded meeting the minister. I soon decided to call on all other homes, and then perhaps miss the home of the minister. At noon I went out to a grove at the edge of town, where I ate my lunch and then had prayer for divine guidance and blessing. While I was praying a voice said to me, "Go and see the minister the first thing." The instruction was so definite and impressive that I answered, "Lord, I will do it," and went directly to his home. I was cordially invited in, and proceeded to present the merits of the book I was selling. When I was nearly through he said, "I think that is a good book, but I have spent my full allowance for books this year and cannot take any more."

My response was, "Since you recognize it as a good book, perhaps you would be willing to write a paragraph or two that might encourage others who are able to take it to do so." To this he readily agreed, and wrote out a good recommenda­tion. As he handed it to me, he asked with which church I was connected. When I frankly told him, I noticed that he was very much surprised and evidently disappointed. Recognizing my youth­ful inexperience, he proceeded to tell me what he regarded as the outstanding faults and errors in the teaching of the Seventh-day Adventists. He said that we placed a great deal of emphasis on the Sabbath and the law and baptism, and missed the great things in the plan of salvation. I tried to listen with respectful attention, but as soon as I had opportunity, I said, "I presume you feel to­ward Seventh-day Adventists much as Jesus did toward many of the Jews, when He told them they were very particular about such items as pay­ing tithe, even on small garden produce, but that they had neglected more important duties."

"That's it exactly," he said.

I asked him, "Then why not do as Jesus did when He said, 'These ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone' ?" He admitted that he had never thought of it in that light before. That encouraged me to say, "My brother, I be­lieve in and do keep the seventh day as the Sab­bath; I believe in, and have been baptized by, im­mersion. I do not believe that I am going to be saved because I believe and do these things, but I am sure that if I am saved in the kingdom of God, it will be because I have walked in the light that has come to me."

To this he readily said, "You are absolutely right in that." He then suggested that we have prayer together, and when we rose from our knees, we were both wiping away the tears, for God had melted our hearts, and we could feel a real bond of Christian fellowship. Then to my surprise he said, "A short time ago, I began paying tithe my­self. You are in the Lord's work, and sometime this summer you will be needing some money. I want you to have what tithe money I have on hand." Against my. protest he emptied all that he had in his tithe box into my pocket. Space will not permit telling of the other ways in which that Methodist minister helped me that summer.

Now I will pass over the years to the time when my wife and I were called to conduct an evangelis­tic effort in a beautiful little city in British Colum­bia. I was warned by many that it was a city of extreme prejudice toward Seventh-day Adventists. We had a neat little church building, but the mem­bership had almost disappeared. We advertised as best we know how, but could not get an attendance from the public. Just at that time, as I was praying and studying, my eyes fell for the first time on the following passage in the old volume of Gospel Workers:

"When our laborers enter a new field, they should seek to become acquainted with the pastors of the several churches in the place. Much has been lost by neglecting to do this. If our ministers show themselves friendly and sociable, and do not act as though they were ashamed of the message they bear, it will have an excellent effect, and may give these pastors and their congregations favor­able impressions of the truth. At any rate, it is right to give them a chance to be kind and favorable if they will." —Page 299.

I took this instruction to heart and discontinued the public meetings, and for several months car­ried on a systematic campaign of visiting the peo­ple in their homes, making a special effort to be­come acquainted with all the ministers and church leaders. Nearly all denominations were repre­sented. The distribution of temperance and re­ligious liberty literature was the occasion of my first visits. At the same time my wife united with the W. C. T. U. group of women who were lead­ing out in what was called the Sunshine Band. It was their duty to find and help the needy, and this work was financed by the city funds.

When we began meetings the second time the house was full and the interest continued. At various times ministers of the other churches came to the meetings. As a result, the church member­ship grew from a few discouraged souls to a strong and active church.

Recent experiences in Michigan emphasize the truth of the words in that quotation from Gospel Workers. A short time after I came to my present field of labor in the central part of the State, I was invited to attend the local ministerial asso­ciation meeting. I did so, although I had not met any of the members. Shortly after the meeting opened, the secretary quoted from a letter he had received from the secretary of a similar organiza­tion in the eastern part of the State, where I had labored for four years. The letter stated that while I was a member of their association I not only had been a good promoter of my own church but had been more than willing to do my full share in any work for the community as a whole, and there were other words of rather extravagant praise. Of course, I received a royal welcome here.

Since then the county ministerial association has asked me to act as the chairman of the tem­perance committee, and it has been my lot to plan for and supervise temperance programs in many churches of various denominations in the county. I have had wonderful co-operation from the min­isters and leading members and from many influ­ential citizens of the county. In all this work I have been impressed by the words found in the book previously quoted :

"There are many of these [precious truths of God's Word] which are dear to all Christians. Here is common ground, upon which we can meet the people of other denominations ; and in becoming acquainted with them, we should dwell mostly upon topics in which all feel an interest, and which will not lead directly and pointedly to the subjects of clisagreernents."—Page 299.


Ministry reserves the right to approve, disapprove, and delete comments at our discretion and will not be able to respond to inquiries about these comments. Please ensure that your words are respectful, courteous, and relevant.

comments powered by Disqus

E. R. POTTER.

December 1944

Download PDF
Ministry Cover

More Articles In This Issue

Use of the Spirit of Prophecy in Evangelism

Presentation at recent workers' meeting in the Brit­ish Union Conference, its object being to suggest ways of introducing the Spirit of prophecy to the public in con­servative countries.

The Broadcast in Jeopardy

Radio Evangelism in Action

To Convert or to Teach Doctrine?

Can it be that we have been seeking to make Seventh-day Adventists more than to make Christians?

Vital Place of the Evangelistic Choir

The role of careful planning helps ensure a vital place of the evangelistic choir

Protracted Public Prayers

Avoiding long prayers.

Our Service as an Investment

Our denominational workers who serve for a missionary wage sometimes are inclined to feel that they are making a great financial sacrifice in forgoing the higher wages offered by commer­cial organizations.

Editorial Keynotes

Not a Block to Be Moved Nor a Pin Stirred

Reaching Ministers of Other Denominations

A symposium at a Michigan Conference workers' meeting

Contacts Through Temperance

The present interest in the problem of alcohol in the nation, with its attendant juvenile delin­quency evils, offers Adventists the grandest oppor­tunity of their history to build up a large group of friends among ministers of other faiths, leaders in temperance work, and high school principals.

Dome-Shaped Portable Tabernacle

Since the days when the sanctuary was erected at Mount Sinai, the idea of a movable place of worship has been existent. How can we make use of them in the 20th century?

Meeting Changed Conditions—No. 3

When existing conditions make it difficult to get the majority of the interested people to attend the week-night meetings in an evangelistic effort, it may be wise to have only two or three week-night meetings, and use the other week nights for community or neighborhood Bible schools in small halls or in the homes of interested people in the respective sections of the city.

How Shall We Escape?

How shall we escape, if we neglect so great a salvation?

Personality Problems Which Threaten

I. Character Disorders of Today

Our Sanitariums as Soul Winners

We attribute the degree of success in soul winning which we as workers at the Porter San­itarium have attained to our united efforts in earnestly striving to carry out the following timely instruction...

Where Can We Find Our Protein?

The people of the nation are becoming more and more nutrition conscious.

The Minister as a Student

One certain way in which we can be assured of efficiency and success in the work committed to us is by every minister's being an untiring student.

Pointer's to Progress

From the Ministry back page.

View All Issue Contents

Digital delivery

If you're a print subscriber, we'll complement your print copy of Ministry with an electronic version.

Sign up
Advertisement - Southern Adv Univ 180x150 - Animated

Recent issues

See All
Advertisement - Healthy and Happy Family - Skyscraper 160x600