Fear of not succeeding at first in getting the co-operation of all the membership should not deter the pastor from organizing the church for service. This is an important part of his work, which if carried out, will enlist the majority of the membership in some line of soul-winning activity for Christ, whether directly or indirectly. Do not allow the drones in the church to discourage you. Remember, drones are found in every hive, but honey is produced in spite of them.
First, see that you have a well-manned missionary organization, with a wide-awake leader, assistant leader, and secretary, and remember to let the officers do the work. The pastor's place is to oversee, by co-operation and encouragement.
At a regular eleven-o'clock Sabbath service, preferably the first Sabbath of the month or Missionary Day, have cards passed to all present, on which are listed the various lines of missionary endeavor in which members may engage. A member may check several of these, and be able to carry them out successfully. but all should be encouraged to check at least one, in an effort to get all—even the timid and the lazy—started in some line of soul-winning endeavor. Included on the roster on the card should be, Literature Distribution, Correspondence Band, Sunshine Band, Prayer Band, Colporteur Band, Dorcas Society, Bible Instructors' Band, Lay Preachers' Band, Branch Sabbath School Band, and Ingathering. Stress the fact that all should and can take part in at least three of these activities—literature distribution, prayer, and Ingathering.
Those who sign cards will be organized into groups, according to the listing. Select capable and enthusiastic leaders for all groups and encourage them in their work. Now that you have perfected an organization according to a plan, see that you work the plan.
In the training of lay Bible instructors the service of an experienced conference Bible instructor may be enlisted, if there is one connected with the church, or a church member with experience may conduct the class, or where necessary, the pastor must conduct the class himself. The organization of a seminar for the training of lay preachers is excellent. In connection with the seminar, lessons in advertising should be given. The pastor should work closely with these two groups, giving counsel and visiting their meetings occasionally.
The first Sabbath of each month should be dedicated to the promotion of the missionary program of the church. If the offering for this day is regularly set aside for conduct of missionary work and such work is diligently promoted, there will always be funds on hand to meet expenses. For large missionary projects additional money can readily be raised by personal or public solicitation in the church.
Another phase of church activity that bulks large in the pastor's work is the raising of funds for overhead costs, the subsidizing of the church school, and the meeting of quotas in the many calls under the denominational program. If careful study and planning is given to this question by the pastor and church board, there will always be adequate funds on hand to meet operation costs. This will relieve the pastor of the nerve strain, perplexity, and even embarrassment, which an empty treasury brings. A wise pastor will see to it that he does not have as much trouble balancing the church budget as he does his own. The elimination of calls for funds from the desk during the eleven-o'clock service adds greatly to the dignity of worship and promotes the spirit of reverence for which this hour is set apart. On the other hand, how often have we seen this service degenerate into commercialism, with a look of disgust on the faces of the people.
Appoint a Budget Secretary for Church
For years I have followed a program that has worked smoothly and well, and during the current year this program has been enlarged to include some of the principal denominational campaigns. The plan is as follows : At the time of the election of officers, a budget secretary is duly appointed to work in collaboration with the church treasurer. This person must be one who can serve well in meeting the church membership, and should be of a cheerful, friendly disposition. Toward the close of the year, or at the beginning, plan the budget with the church board, determining the financial needs for the year.
Appoint a Sabbath and bring the budget to the church for consideration and adoption. Then pass out cards for pledges to be paid weekly or monthly, as suits the members. The budget secretary keeps a record of the pledges. He gets in touch with members who may not have been present when the pledges were taken, and secures their pledges. As the funds come in from month to month, budget secretary checks with the treasurer and posts the record.
In our church a sister holds this office now. She is always ready to give correct information to members as to how they stand in the payment of their pledges, and when necessary gives them a reminder that they are falling behind in their payments. This plan has worked so successfully that there is never any need to make calls from the desk for operating funds. This plan will work in times of depression, as well as in times of prosperity.
The budget secretary also keeps the record on tuition in the church school. We are now including in the plan the church goal for Missions Extension, Religious Liberty Offering, and subscriptions to the Review and Herald for the church membership. Not all families in the church joined in this extended program this year, but a sufficient number did to demonstrate that it is working successfully, and next year we hope to make it too per cent. We not only raise the goals of the church in these campaigns but we also place our church paper in homes where the members are not able to subscribe for it, or at the time may not see the need of having it come into the home. This, we believe, is missionary work of a high type.
The spirit of liberality is not stifled in this plan, for at the time of the campaigns opportunity is given for special contributions. This program, I believe, promotes systematic giving, adds dignity and reverence to the service of worship, and thus contributes to the well-being of the church and its spiritual growth. I recommend it to all our pastors.