Teamwork With the Evangelist

Colporteur evangelists occupy a unique place in the ranks of the workers in God's cause. They constitute the advance guard of the church of Christ.

By ERWIN E. ROENFELT, Associate Secretary of the General Conference

Colporteur evangelists occupy a unique place in the ranks of the workers in God's cause. They constitute the advance guard of the church of Christ. They form the spearhead of the hosts of God as they advance in their en­deavors to carry the banner of Prince Emman­uel into every nook and corner of the earth.

The work of the colporteur evangelist is in many respects of equal importance to that of the gospel minister. Both have been called to be witnesses for Christ, and the responsibility of both is to proclaim the everlasting gospel to men. The work of the one is done largely through the preaching and teaching of the mes­sage, whereas that of the other is mainly done through the dissemination of truth-filled litera­ture. The sublime objective of both is to lead men and women to Christ and into an accept­ance of His message.

In the great program of world evangelism that has been committed to the Advent church the colporteur evangelist is indispensable. Ex­perience through the years has demonstrated that when there is a wider circulation of our message-filled literature, there follows almost immediately a larger ingathering of souls; and that when there is a decline in the amount of literature sold, this almost immediately results in a falling off in the number of souls won to the message. One of the great needs of our movement today is the strengthening of the ranks of those who will go out into the high­ways and byways and hedges of earth to place our publications in the homes of the people. Scattering our literature "like the leaves of au­tumn" is absolutely essential to the completion of our task.

Just as a general sometimes fails to use his troops to the best advantage, so, unfortunately, our colporteurs are at times not directed in a way that results in their work being as effective as it might be in the advancement of God's cause. Conference committees and publishing department secretaries should give careful con­sideration to, and plan wisely for, the work of these men and women. Thought should be given to the question as to where and how they can make their greatest contribution to our evange­listic program. The particular book or books that each one handles should also be a matter of earnest study.

Two suggestions follow as to how the col­porteur evangelist might be effectively used to support our evangelistic endeavors.

  1. Prepare the way for the preacher. When it is intended to launch an evangelistic cam­paign in a city, town, or rural area, the wise, tactful, Christlike colporteur can do much to prepare the way. Plans should be laid early, and a strong force of colporteurs should be sent in advance of the preacher. The area that is to be covered by the evangelistic effort should be virtually saturated with our literature. The contacts made with the people by the colpor­teurs and the books left in their homes will cre­ate a psychological attitude on the part of the people that will prepare the way for the public presentation of the message. Then, too, the col­porteurs will discover interested people. When the names of these are banded to the evangelist, he and his team will be enabled to begin per­sonal work immediately instead of having to wait until interests are created through the meetings. Following this plan enables every member of the team to be busy from the outset of the campaign, and thus valuable time is saved. Furthermore, those interested in this way might form a substantial part of the evan­gelistic audience, and also be the means of bringing many others to the meetings.
  2. Be a part of the evangelistic team. While supporting themselves through the sale of lit­erature, colporteurs can, nevertheless, advan­tageously be linked with an evangelistic team, and be considered part of it. As they call at the people's homes in connection with their work, they can advertise the services, direct the peo­ple to them, discover those who are interested, and put them in contact with the evangelist and his Bible instructors. A faithful colporteur car­rying a burden for souls will discover many an interest and open the way for the message into homes that would not be otherwise found.

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By ERWIN E. ROENFELT, Associate Secretary of the General Conference

July 1949

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