Our Silver Jubilee, What Is Success?

two Separate articles

Our Silver Jubilee

This issue concludes volume 25. This year has been the silver jubilee of THE MINISTRY magazine, and we take this opportunity of expressing our appreciation to our worker body around the world and especially to our leaders for the excellent support you have given us through this quarter of a century.

This journal was born out of a real need. Before its publication mimeographed reports were sent to different groups of our workers to evangelists, pastors, college Bible teachers, Bible instructors, evangelistic singers, sanitarium chaplains, and others. Those who received certain manuscripts soon learned that other groups were receiving manuscripts in other fields, and so letters began to pour in to the secretary's desk asking for copies of each of the materials. This led to the recognition of a real need for a journal that would become a true exchange among the workers. W. A. Spicer, who recently passed to his rest, was at that time General Conference president, and the General Conference secretary was A. G. Daniells, who became the first Ministerial Association secretary.

LeRoy E. Froom was appointed editor of the new journal, and the first issue came off the press in January, 1928. It consisted of twenty-four pages about half the page size of the present issue. Soon it was increased to thirty-two, and later to forty-eight pages. The journal was growing not only in size but also in popularity and service, and today almost every ministerial worker in the world field who handles the English language receives a copy of THE MINISTRY. Furthermore, journals in other languages patterned after this parent magazine are also being published in some divisions.

For twenty-three of these twenty-five years Elder Froom was the able editor, and what the journal is today is largely the result of his clear vision and experienced leadership. We gladly pay tribute to this able friend and colleague in service, with whom I worked closely as an associate editor for nine years. His work as an editor and in the field of research is too well known to need comment.

But now the future is before us. With the new inspiration that has come to our world work as a result of the Bible Conference, we can confidently look forward to greater and speedier advances in the cause of God than we have ever known in our history. We are on the very verge of the kingdom. The Lord is pouring out His Spirit upon all flesh, and we are already witnessing the beginnings of the fulfillment of His promises. As editors we pledge ourselves under God to keep this journal both informative and inspirational. To do that, we need the prayers and the cooperation of every reader. We remind you again that this is a journal of method. Other journals report the news of the advances; THE MINISTRY gives the news behind the news that which makes success possible. We exist to share methods and techniques used by our workers which bring about certain results. For such reports and instruction our workers around the world are waiting.

So whether you are a pastor, a musician, an administrator, a doctor, a nurse, an evangelist, a teacher, or a Bible instructor we solicit your help in keeping the world field aware of methods that are calculated to advance the cause of God under all the varied circumstances that our workers en counter in their service around the world.

And so we say, Thank you once again, and God richly bless you all. We are counting on you.

What Is Success?

Once before we quoted from Simeon Stylites. We do so again, feeling that his forthright analysis of a problem he discerns within the Christian church is too wholesome for us to pass by. Writing under a nom de plume, Halford E. Luccock says some very courageous things that we do well to notice. He is professor of homiletics at Yale University Divinity School, a charter member of the editorial advisory board of Pastoral Psychology, and a contributor to a number of religious journals as well as he author of some eighteen books in the field of ministerial literature. We quote from his column in The Christian Century:

Nightmare

EDITOR THE CHRISTIAN CENTURY:

Sir: On a Sunday evening radio program "Our Miss Brooks," which is rather a bright spot compared to the usual fare served up on radio serials a remark was recently made which seems to be related to a lot of things in America. A high school principal exclaimed in tones of terror, "I had a horrible nightmare last night. It was awful. I dreamed I was teaching in a classroom."

It is easy to see that to an educational executive the lowly, menial business of actually teaching pupils would be a horrible nightmare. Think of being reduced to the essential job which is the basis of the whole towering educational structure!

Perhaps this remark could be blown up to the size of a generalization. Well, here's a try. One great trouble in many areas of work, in professions and callings, is that success is so commonly measured by the distance one gets away from the basic work of his profession. The inevitable result is a vicious sort of Hindu caste system in which the person with the least actual contact with the job to be done is up on the higher rungs of the ladder. Thus, by a common measurement, the farmer, who grows the food, is on a lower rung than the processor or jobber; the retailer is lower than the wholesaler; the auto worker is lower than the salesman.

This is sadly true in education. The schools of a city are largely directed by officials in downtown offices who have not done any classroom teaching in fifteen or twenty years. Dr. Mary Smith, who weaves schedules arid tests in her office, is of the nobility. Miss Mary Jones, poor soul, who has done practically nothing for twenty years except very effective teaching, is a commoner. Thus the top brass loses touch with the real job. Bliss Perry tells of crossing the Harvard Yard and pausing before the administration building to say, reverently, "Tread softly. There are teachers buried under those roll-top desks!"

The same perverse yardstick works harm in another profession the ministry of the church. There is a widespread illusion that the farther a man gets away from the face-to-face, first-hand contact with people in a parish, the greater his success. To many a secretary of this or superintendent of that, to be reduced to the rank of a parish parson would be like a general of the army being sent to boot camp.

Of course, this generalization does not hold everywhere, thank heaven! There persists among a host of people the feeling that the pastor has the top job. There was more sense than nonsense in Mr. Chesterton's saying that in the church young men should be started as archbishops and then allowed to work their way up to the high office of parish priest. The same insight is found in the observation of Somerset Maugham that when a writer does a real book, followed by a dreary succession of potboilers, it does not mean that he gets a swelled head, but just that he has moved away from his original material.

How about this as a help? (It is drastic.) How about assigning once in a while, the superintendent of schools and the principal of the high school to a classroom of forty children? Or the president of the university to a class in freshman mathematics?

How about a sabbatical year for the force at general church headquarters, spent on a four-point circuit? And promoting teachers in a theological seminary to a year at a down-at-the-heels church? It might be tough on the church but good for the classroom. That would give a hair-raising night mare to a lot of folks, including

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Yours, SIMEON STYLITES.

(Copyrighted by The Christian Century Foundation and used by permission.)

Need we say more?

It is well for us all to remember that we are workers together in one great common cause, and whatever the particular line of work assigned us, we are nevertheless members one with another as we move forward in the joyful service of our Lord.

The forthright challenge from the pen of Robert H. Pierson in this issue draws Stylites' pertinent observations into focus and really re-echoes some thoughts from the excellent talk he gave at the Autumn Council. Our vision must be kept clear as we move forward together in our world task.

 


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December 1952

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