Our Minister

Our preacher knew just what to say to soothe the hurt in our hearts and to encourage us to faithfulness in the face of taunts and sneers on the part of our non-Adventist classmates.

C. L. TORREY, Treasurer, General Conference

When I was a boy my parents lived in a little town sixty miles from the nearest Seventh-day Adventist church, and those were the horse-and-buggy days, when people didn't travel far from home.

A minister used to visit us about once in one or two years and it was an outstanding event in our home. We talked about this godly man for weeks after he left, recount­ing his words and his actions, and his deep interest in us. We also began to count the days until he would return on his next visit.

Later on, a minister moved to our town and began a series of evangelistic meetings. Of course, we attended them all. "Our minister," as we called him, and his wife were self-sacrificing people. They talked sacrifice and they practiced it in their own lives.

Everyone liked our minister except the preachers of other denominations, who lost some of their members to our church. Then our minister would be denounced, and Adventists in general would be ridi­culed and derided. Of course, all this had its effect on my life, as I had to attend pub­lic school until a church school could be opened. Our preacher knew just what to say to soothe the hurt in our hearts and to encourage us to faithfulness in the face of taunts and sneers on the part of our non-Adventist classmates.

I have since analyzed the character of our minister, who baptized me and who had such an important part in encouraging me in the Christian way. First of all, he loved the Lord. One didn't have to be with him long to learn this. He gave all he could to the cause—his heart, his time, and all the money he could possibly spare beyond ac­tual living expenses. He and his wife lived simply and frugally, not only because he needed to in view of his small salary but because he wanted to give all he could to the Lord to help finish the work.

He loved the people and saw in each one a soul for whom Christ died. He worked untiringly, visiting and praying with all who would listen to him. He had no side lines, but rather gave himself fully to his evangelistic and pastoral work. I am sure his motto was "This one thing I do."

The light in his house burned late as he studied and prayed. His sermons were prac­tical, and they helped us much as we ap­plied them to our daily living. His sermons were always in the field of reality—the re­ality of Christ, the reality of sin, the real­ity of forgiveness, the reality of the earth made new, et cetera. Christ was the theme in all his sermons, and I remember how our hearts burned within us as he spoke to us regarding Matthew 24:14, and of his faith that the work of God would be fin­ished according to His plan. It is true that our membership was small back in those days. We had only a few thousand in all the world, but his confidence was strong and abiding for the gospel conquest on a world scale.

He made a deep and lasting impression on his hearers because he lived as he preached. I never heard him argue with people about the truth he proclaimed. He was challenged to debate, especially on the Sabbath truth, but he said there was noth­ing to be gained in debates, for the peo­ple only became angry and bitter afterward. I am sure, however, had he accepted the challenge, he could have won the debate be­cause of his outstanding personality and his knowledge of the Bible.

Our minister was not eloquent as we think of eloquence, but when he preached, it was with power, and the people thought he was speaking to them personally. By his sincerity and knowledge of the Word he won souls to Christ. There is an eloquence far more powerful than the eloquence of words in the quiet, consistent life of a true Christian. What a man is has more influ­ence than what he says. Eloquence may be a gift or it can be acquired. If a preacher has this gift and is humble and consecrated, and uses it to the glory of God, it surely can become a powerful instrument in the hands of God to proclaim the message. On the other hand, I believe that a preacher who may not be gifted so far as eloquence is concerned but whose heart is dedicated to God's work, who is consecrated and sin­cere, will have the power of God rest upon him, and he will have success in his soul-winning work.

Our minister had a well-balanced pro­gram. He preached the Word, studied with the people, won them to the message, bap­tized them, encouraged them to be faith­ful and to win others. And he placed upon their hearts the financial responsibil­ity of supporting the cause with tithes and freewill offerings. He instilled into our lives the joy of giving, and the members understood their duty and privilege to re­turn to the Lord a portion of what had been entrusted to them, and they gave freely and willingly.

Satan is continually working to divert the minds of God's people from the responsi­bility of supporting the evangelistic en­deavors of the church and the finishing of the work in all the world, and he directs their minds to the material things of life. Sometimes ministers, if not alert and watchful, become entangled in the tempt­er's wiles.

It is encouraging to study the growth of our work in the light of the consecrated efforts of our ministers in all the world. They are laboring in nearly every coun­try of earth in hundreds of languages and dialects. We are now a mature organization over one hundred years old. Our mem­bership has grown rapidly during the past few years in particular. What took sixty-three years to accomplish, with reference to our membership during the years 1863 to 1927, took only five years between the years 1950 and 1955, and the membership continues to grow until it now exceeds one million.

It is true that we are working in nearly every country in the world, but the task within those countries is still very great. Think also of the many counties in the United States and Canada—home-base fields—where so many souls have not as yet heard our message. Surely, as a people we still have a great work to accomplish.

I learned back in the days of my youth that the Seventh-day Adventist denomina­tion had adopted the Bible tithing plan. Our preacher knew all about it, and he put it into operation in our church. The plan was unique in that the money was paid into the conference treasury and used solely for the support of the ministry. Min­isters of many denominations recognized, and still do, the value of the tithing plan, but they have not been able to secure the consent of their people to pay a tenth of their income to their church. Our ministers find it unnecessary to hold bazaars, raffles, et cetera, to provide money for their wages.

The freewill offerings that come from the Sabbath schools, Ingathering, and special offerings are sent through the regular chan­nels to the General Conference treasury. In turn, the General Conference at each Autumn Council appropriates funds for the world work, to provide for ministers' salaries and related expenses in mission lands. As new members are won to the church and the offerings increase, addi­tional funds become available for increase in appropriations. This enables the fields to strengthen and expand their work. Our system of finance as established by this people has proved a great blessing through the years.

I believe from my observations that the members of our church love to give to the cause. I heard a pastor express his fears that his members would become impoverished by giving too much, therefore they needed to be protected from what he termed "ex­cessive giving." I have not known of any of our people who have suffered because they contributed to the cause of God.

Ministers, or pastors, occupy most impor­tant positions in carrying out the great commission. The Lord has laid upon them heavy burdens. They are the keepers of the flock. We have a wonderful message; it reaches into every country, knows no bound­aries, has reached into hundreds and thou­sands of homes and touched and converted hearts, and won them to Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation.

I want to pay tribute to our ministering brethren. Their loyalty and devotion to this cause and to duty has been an inspira­tion to our people. It is through their con­secrated efforts and the blessings of God upon our work that the message has pro­gressed so rapidly.

Advertisement - Ministry in Motion 300x250

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

C. L. TORREY, Treasurer, General Conference

May 1959

Download PDF
Ministry Cover

More Articles In This Issue

"Adorn the Doctrine"

There is no element in the preacher's life that is of more importance than his example.

Convincing Evidences

Just now, forty years and more after Ellen White laid down her pen, new items of clear, confirming evidence of her gift of inspiration are being discovered and presented to the public in an unprecedented manner Newspapers, magazines, and books all around us pile up evidence regarding her veracity.

The Gift That Builds

To read all of Mrs. White's writings will indeed be a major task, but a spiritually profitable one.

Consecration

Essential Steps to Success in the Ministry-2

A Non-Adventist Leader Examines Our Beliefs

Book reviews on Questions on Doctrine continue to come to our desk.

What Kind of "Voice" Are You?

There is no doubt that John the Baptist was one of the most successful preachers the world has ever known

To "Every Nation . . ." The Divine Command to a Universal Church

A world-embracing task confronts God's people today.

The Middle East--Cradle of Strife!

Ever since Noah's ark docked somewhere in the vicinity of Mount Ararat, the leading na­tions of the world have managed to focus their sights on that ge­ographical area that is today commonly referred to as the Middle East.

The Evangelical World Prospect: An Interview with Billy Graham

Reprinted by permission, Christianity Today, Oct. 13, 1958

Evangelistic Techniques in Britain

The writer has recently had the privilege of conducting city-wide campaigns in two of Britain's largest cities, Bir­mingham and Manchester.

Planning an Evangelistic Campaign Part II

Revivalism and evangelism should not be confused. Both are indispensable, but they ought to be distinct in method of approach, in purpose, and in the type of sermons presented.

Ideals for Mothers

The monthly shepherdess column.

Socials for the Entire Church

Successful church entertainments can help us reach our goals. A presentation to the Texas Conference Shepherdess Group.

Basic Training for Personal Evangelism

The term "personal worker" requires a new emphasis in an hour when there is true need for this type of worker.

Are You a Breakfast Skipper?

"Eat a Good Breakfast—Start a Good Day."

The Highest Career

Does the spirit of ambition threaten to de­prive some of our workers of the joy that re­sults from humble and faithful work in God's cause?

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