Pointer's to Progress

Monthly pulpit pointer's by the Ministry staff

By the Ministry staff. 


The preacher's function is to witness to the change­less truth in these chang­ing times, to speak of eternal verities to those who are buffeted by the shifting and stormy scenes of life's drama. The voice of surety is needed now amid earth's heartbreaking experiences. Men need a vision of the permanent, surrounded as they are by the perishable.

The men who have moved their age have been men alive to the trends and needs of their own era. They saw its dangers and its possibilities. They were neither its slaves nor its favorites, but truly served their generation by the will of God (Acts 13:36).

Truth must never be suppressed out of deference to the prejudice of our age, but it must be pro­claimed with the fullest compassion for all our contemporaries. When dealing with prejudice we must ever remember that to insult prejudice does not dispel it. Constructive, not destructive, preaching is the need of these times. Everything else is headed for destruction—at least our preaching ought to be geared to salvation and. the ultimate triumph of divine love. Never should we speak in an offensive fashion. Never knock the crutch out from under the lame until you have brought him healing.

Above all, do not preach because you have to say something, but speak because you have something vital to say.

While it is important to understand the spirit of the age, it is of still greater importance to minister to this age in the spirit of Jesus.

Study the language that reaches the hearts of the people. The obsolete phraseology of days of yore must give way to the living language of today. Be abreast of the times. Living sympathy finds ex­pression in simple and natural language. J. A. B.


One of the great arts of speaking or writing is the ability to make one­self understood. It is of vital importance for the speaker to keep his audience in mind, and to em­ploy clear picturesque language. Such language em­ploys coSete, specific words and avoids all empty phraseology. The expression of ideas by metaphors and similes clarifies meaning by comparison. The use of simple sentences, concrete words, and the human touch clarifies truth by readily understood meaning and feeling. A sentence of from eight to ten words of common usage is very easily under­stood. Sentences of from eleven to fourteen words are fairly easily understood, provided, of course, well-known and concrete words are used. But difficulty in understanding grows when the words in the sentence are multiplied beyond fifteen.

To achieve clarity in preaching or writing be direct, simple, vigorous, and lucid. Remember active verbs are live words, and sentences as a rule should not be crowded with adjectives. Employ the familiar in place of the farfetched, the concrete word instead of the abstract, the short word in preference to the long one, and the pointed sentence rather than circumlocution.

J. A. B.


How important they are! Letters can be either heralds of peace or harbingers of ill will. Sometimes a short letter may be the easiest way of meeting a problem; but unless it is carefully and tactfully worded it may have just the opposite effect. Nothing is more discouraging to one bowed down with care than to open a letter and get the impression that the writer feels little or no interest in his problem, or that he is too busy with other things to take time to be kind and courteous.

Returning from a few weeks' itinerary, I picked up a pile of correspondence on my desk and began to read. Soon I came to a kindly message from a friend. Attached to the outside were these lines:

Friendly letter go your way;

Hearts have need of you today.

Bless the folks who speed your trip—

On land or air or sailing ship.

Make the home in which you stay

A happy, healthy one each day;
Bless the one whose name you bear

And bless their loved ones everywhere!

What a wealth of thought these verses contain! To be able to say the right thing in the right way at the right time is an art that can be cultivated by all. Gospel workers especially need to study how to write and say things that build confidence rather than create discouragement. People all around us, and among them some of our workers, have much in their lives to depress them, and as ambassadors of the kingdom of peace we should study how to bear the burdens of others and cheer them on with kind­ness. Great decisions are not always made in the atmosphere of logic and reason, but sometimes be­cause of a kindly word, or a smile.

Letter writing is an art, but an art worth cul­tivating. Even if reproof seems necessary, let us learn to express such counsel in words that com­mend rather than condemn. The Spirit of Him of whom it was prophesied that He would not break a bruised reed or quench a smoking flax awaits our demand and reception, that we each may learn to do the Lord's work in the Lord's way.

R. A. A.

Ministry reserves the right to approve, disapprove, and delete comments at our discretion and will not be able to respond to inquiries about these comments. Please ensure that your words are respectful, courteous, and relevant.

comments powered by Disqus

By the Ministry staff. 

September 1958

Download PDF
Ministry Cover

More Articles In This Issue

Creative Preaching and Teaching

To what extent is the total effect of our methods of preaching and teaching upon the personal­ity and the life of our people a genuinely Christian effect?

Is Hypnotism Dangerous?

Much confusion abounds regarding hyp­nosis, one of the oldest mental techniques known to man. But how is it dangerous?

Spirits Like Frogs

An exploration of John's record of a worldwide spiritual conspiracy led and inspired by evil spirits.

Ecclesiastical Bird Watching

The following is a summary of the annual report of the Ornithological Society of Ec­clesia.

Helps for Busy Pastors and Evangelists

Study resources for understanding the scriptures better.

The Soils of the Soul

Recent chapel talk at our Theological Seminary.

Facing Our Real Problem

How can the work of God be finished and the return of Jesus hastened?

The Challenge of Cleveland

The forty-eighth session of the General Conference is now history, but the inspi­ration of it all lingers in our hearts. It was indeed a great meeting. Everything seemed to combine to make this session one that will long be remembered. The weather was excellent, and the appointments and buildings left little to be desired.

Music in Evangelism

The power of music has a potency for good or evil that few of us realize.

The Evangelistic Preaching Wheel Part II

There should not be a sermon given unless a por­tion of that discourse is to especially make plain the way that sinners may come to Christ and be saved.

The School Bell Rings!

The monthly shepherdess column by Louise C. Kleuser

Sayings of Sir James Baillie

Reflections on life and religion.

Baptism in the New Testament

Research into the history of the concept of baptism and its distinctive features in the New Testament.

The Three Tithes of the Old Testament

A look at the sacred tithe, the tithe of feasts, and the tithe for the poor.

View All Issue Contents

Digital delivery

If you're a print subscriber, we'll complement your print copy of Ministry with an electronic version.

Sign up
Advertisement - Southern Adv Univ 180x150 - Animated

Recent issues

See All
Advertisement - Healthy and Happy Family - Skyscraper 160x600