The training of young men and women as strong and successful ministers and Bible instructors begins in college and in the canvassing field. It is continued in the field of evangelism. It is in college that they learn the elementary principles of evangelism, and in the colporteur work they first learn to apply these principles in practice. In the colporteur work the most valuable lessons in preparation for a lifework in the ministry are learned. But my role is to talk of the training of the young workers who have graduated from the other schools into the school of evangelism.
The attitude of any two workers toward each other will largely determine how much each is to learn from the other. There are certain dangers to beware of. They arise from the common perversity of human nature, which even ministers and Bible instructors share to the full with the rest of the community. It will be easy for the older man to parade the authority given him over the other man by the conference committee. He may be tempted to act in a dictatorial manner, but he must remember that he is expected to train the younger man in the arts of evangelism, not to lord it over him and treat him as a sort of errand boy. The evangelist has more to learn of the science of salvation than he can teach. He is a co-worker with the younger man. His place is to guide, to direct, to counsel, and to warn. He is the more experienced partner, showing his associate some of the "tricks of the trade."
The younger worker, on his part, is often tempted to believe that since he has completed his college course he is therefore fully qualified to engage in full-time evangelism. He has been taught by others for a number of years ; now it is his turn to teach others—perhaps even the senior evangelist, for he may be a bit old-fashioned and out of date ! But the sooner he realizes that he knows literally nothing about the science of soul-saving, the better. Then he retains (or obtains) a teachable spirit. And I pray God he does not lose it until his task is done and he receives the crown of life.
Having graduated from the denominational school, the young worker now enters the school of experience, and his part is still to learn. He must be willing to leave all the major decisions of the work to the older man and loyally carry out his directions, even though at times he may think a mistake is being made.
The great need of our cause today is for strong, self-reliant, Spirit-filled workers, who are able to make their own decisions and bear the heaviest of responsibilities. Every young man or woman called into the work today is potentially such a worker. The responsibility of the experienced minister is to do his best, with God's help, to train younger men to think and plan for themselves. He should encourage them to use their imagination and to develop their own individuality. We do not want all our workers to come out of one mold. Although we should learn all we can from one another, we must avoid a slavish copying of another's style and mannerisms. Not many things in evangelism are more offensive than a younger edition of Evangelist So-and-So.
Every young worker should receive a solid, practical education. He will need to be shown how to give Bible studies and bring interested people to a right decision for the truth. For this purpose he should accompany the older man on some of his visits. He will need guidance in preparing sermons and Bible studies so that the flock he helps to feed will receive a well-balanced and well-prepared diet. If this program is followed, there will be no harm in giving the younger man a share in the preaching. He needs to be shown how to organize his time to include study, preaching, visiting, manual labor, sleep, and relaxation. He should receive a practical education in caring for all church activities, in ministering to the flock, in preparing candidates for baptism, and in organizing a new church.
Practical Instruction in Pastoral Epistles
As I study the pastoral epistles I am struck by the variety and wealth of instruction the great apostle gave to the young men Timothy and Titus in the conduct of the work of God in their care. Here are some of the points on which Paul instructed them:
1. Church organization. Titus 1:5-9.
2. Meeting disseminators of false teachings. Titus 1 :10-14 ; 3 :9-11.
3. Avoidance of wasting time in contending with false teachings. Titus 3 :9-11; I Tim. I :3-10; 2 Tim. 2:23-26, 14-18.
4. The worker as an example to the flock. Titus 2 :I -I0 ; I Tim. 6:20, 21 ; 4:1-16.
5. Carefulness in relations with the opposite sex. 2 Tim. 2:22.
6. Need for closer study of the Scriptures in perilous times. 2 Tim. 2 :1-18.
7. His duty in such times to "preach the Word; . . . reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long-suffering and doctrine. . . . Watch . . . in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof" of his ministry. 2 Tim. 4:1-5.
8. Requirement that as a good soldier he endure "hardness." He is to be Christ's "commando." 2 Tim. t :6-8; 2:1-7.
9. Relation of believers to civil authority. Titus 3:1-8.
10. Prayer (I Tim. 2:1-8), and the dress and place of women in the church. I Tim. 2:9-15.
11. Selection of suitable elders and deacons in the churches. I Tim. 3:1-13.
12. Reproving wrongdoers and correcting errors in the church. I Tim. 5:1-20.
13. Counseling slaves (servants) and masters in the church on their proper relationship to one another. I Tim. 6:1-10.
14. Advising rich men on how rightly to use their wealth. 1 Tim. 6:17-19.
15. Wariness of the young worker concerning the love of money, an affection that is fatal in a preacher. He is to pursue righteousness instead. Vigilance on this point is not to be relaxed until the end, I Tim. 6:10-12.
16. Strict impartiality in his dealings with all men, being very watchful of himself, including his physical health. 1 Tim. 5:21-23.
What a responsibility is that of the evangelist who is called to train a new recruit in the army of Prince Immanuel! It should humble us and drive us in wisdom-seeking prayer to God.
Summary of Advice to Young Workers
And now a few concise words of advice to the younger workers. They come from my own short, imperfect experience, and I pass them on as lessons I have noted in my own work and in that of others.
1. Be a hard worker. Laziness unfits a man or woman for his high and holy calling. It is an-unforgivable sin in a minister or a Bible instructor.
2. Make a habit of expending some of your energy in physical exercise. Gardening or some other form of manual labor is of great value to ministers physically, mentally, and spiritually. It will help to keep you balanced, and will fit you to meet the perplexities of your task.