In the Lord's service there is no place for either lordship or serfdom. We as workers in His cause all need to study what the Master meant when He said, -All ye are brethren." Would that God would humble our hearts and do away with our prides and our jealousies so that we might find the joy that comes in a harmonious association in service!
I. Suggestions to Speaking Evangelists
1. Be free with honest commendation—not flattery. Your associate (a much better term than assistant) goes through times of soul testing, as does every worker. Can we not be a little more liberal with our flowers than with our thorns, and offer them to the living rather than the dead?
2. Always refer to the singing evangelist as your associate and not as a satellite. Give him full support from the platform in your announcements and prayers as well as in your house-to-house visiting. This will give him greater prestige with the people when he tries to help them surrender to the claims of Christ. If we could only learn that we never lose ground by boosting others instead of self ! After all, none of us amount to very much. How strange when puny man is tempted to rule over his brethren!
3. Give the singing evangelist a smaller visiting territory than the others associated in the campaign, for he has a large responsibility in the music planning ; or he can assist in the general visiting, helping souls to a surrender in the various zones. (Of course, I realize that if there are only one or two helpers in an effort, the singing evangelist will have to take a heavier visiting load as far as general visitation is concerned.)
4. Don't dictate the details as to how the singing evangelist should conduct the musical program. Naturally he will want to counsel with you, but don't try to run his program. Give him some leeway and responsibility, and let him develop.
5. Don't try to direct the personal and family life of the singing evangelist. After the work has been divided and a few general suggestions made, let him take the initiative in planning his daily program. Expect him to carry his end of the load, but let him use his own head in the execution thereof.
And don't try to tell his wife what she must do. If she is a truehearted minister's wife, she will volunteer to help in the work, but it is not your place to tell her how she must spend her time. This has often embittered young workers who felt helpless to object to unreasonable loads placed on their wives.
6. Be willing to do anything you ask your associate to do. It does not hurt the most experienced evangelist to get his hands soiled once in a while. The workers will love you for it. A piano is lighter when you take the attitude, "Come on now, men, every one of us, take hold and we can get this piece of furniture moved."
It is not necessary to feel that an associate must do lowly work to keep him humble. If there is a need,, he will swing in and work—not for you, but with you. And he will probably volunteer to do much more than he expects you to do. It's just the idea that it feels better to be in it together rather than working for somebody else.
7. Never speak crossly. Words are hard to recall. One gruff rebuke will not be forgotten for months. You do not like to be scolded. Then why do you scold ? Always speak kindly. Christ kept His patience even with Judas.
If you want to quarrel with someone, I beg of you, don't pick on the singing evangelist. Pick on someone bigger than you are. Be a man. Don't lord it over those who you know are in a position where they dare not talk back. Someone has wisely said that the greatness of a man is measurable by the way he treats those under his direction.
8. Give commendation freely. Let the public know how deeply your heart has been stirred by the rendition of a certain song. The more loyal you are to your associates, the more loyal they will be to you.
II. Suggestions to Singing Evangelists
1. Never speak crossly to the evangelist or criticize him. (I know this is hard to do, and you will have to bite your lips very hard sometimes ; but in the end it pays.) Criticism, reported back, seems many times more venomous.
It is unchristian, and always rebounds. Never let those around you sense it if there should arise any tenseness between you and the speaking evangelist.
2. Don't be sensitive. Musicians have the name of being sensitive and hard to get along with. I have been very fortunate in being associated with well-balanced, sane, reliable singing evangelists, so I can't complain on personal grounds. We evangelists are often unstable emotionally, and it must be very trying on your experience sometimes. But I beg you, don't be sensitive, and don't be watching to see if you always get the breaks that you feel you deserve. A sensitive soul is a miserable soul. Remember, Satan used to be a singing evangelist in heaven, but he lost out by jealousy and criticism.
Happiness is a state of mind. If you sit down and start feeling sorry for yourself, you'll be in agony in fifteen minutes. Be happy. Be optimistic. Be loyal, even though your associate seems unloyal to you. I have seen conference committees come to the help of a singing evangelist because he was always loyal and seemingly happy, even though associated with a man who at the very time was trying to undermine him. No one will ever think any less of you for bearing a yoke with a smile—and a happy song.
3. Volunteer to do anything—even menial tasks. It may shock the evangelist, but he will admire you for it. When you've assumed a responsibility, get it done. Do not come back pining about why it couldn't be done. Do it.
The three most important qualifications of a singing evangelist, are, I believe, (a) consecration, (b) pleasantness, (c) dependability. If besides that he is an excellent musician, fine. But even that is secondary.
4. Don't gauge your enthusiasm and energy by the size of the immediate task you face. Perhaps you are in a very small campaign now, and it is not going so well. But keep on happily with what presents itself now.
Beware, of what you envision as advancement. Don't be looking around for a bigger job and more spectacular success. Turn your present challenge into a victory. If God calls you to a larger service later, that is fine, but be a success where you are nozu.
Excel where you are. If you make a success where you are, that is advancement. Promotion cometh from the Lord—not from committees.
Some singing evangelists are miserable where they are because they long to be with some big (?) campaign. Little do they realize that they might find personal working conditions there far more unpleasant than where they are. The greatest advancement that can come to you is to turn failure into success and put your very best into your present opportunities. The work is not going to be finished by large-scale evangelistic campaigns. They have their place, of course; but your happiest days will be in smaller fields of service.
5. Don't envy the personal advantages of the evangelist. Perhaps he has been in the work for twenty years more than you have. He probably went through bread-and-water months too. It is a little awkward to be so closely associated with a worker who seems to have plenty, when you are crippling along getting started. But don't let that discourage you. When you have been in the work longer, your rates should be comparable with those of the speaking evangelist.
6. Endeavor to adapt your song specials to fit the subject of the evening, especially if it is a number to follow the sermon. Ask for suggestions. Teamwork is best.
7. Feel free to counsel with the speaking evangelist, and to make suggestions for the general betterment of the campaign. On the other hand, recognize that he may not feel clear to follow all your suggestions.
8. If you want to be given added responsibilities, show yourself responsible and absolutely reliable in caring for details left to you. Absolute reliability is a very, very scarce virtue. If you show yourself worthy of responsibility, you will be given the opportunity of sharing plenty.
III. General Suggestions for Both
I. Never undermine each other by talking to other workers or to church members. This often does more damage than you intend. Nothing shakes the faith of others more than to hear that friction exists in the evangelistic company. It will hurt both of you. Get along well together, and in doing so you will find great joy in soul winning.
2. Occasionally personalities sharply conflict. This is as unfortunate as it is true. Do your very best to get along together, but if you find it utterly impossible for the other person to get along with you, perhaps you had better make a quiet and peacable separation. Better make a Christian separation than to have a continuous condition of friction and irritation. If you do separate, do so as brethren, and never refer to the shortcomings of the other person. Remember yours are probably worse. And you may live across the street from each other in heaven.
3. Remember the words of Jesus, how He said, "Ye are all one." If we will but treat our associates as we would like to be treated, they will probably fare very well—yes, and so will we.
4. Pray for each other. The more faults the other has, the more he needs your prayers, your tolerance, and your encouragement.
5. Give credit freely to others and take very little to yourself. What is mortal man, that he should be so self-assertive, so self-defensive? Glory belongs unto the Lord. In loving and glorifying Him, may we not learn to love and appreciate others more? One of the greatest joys and satisfactions in this life is getting along with others.