Pointers for Preachers


RELIGIOUS ADVERTISING  We have all seen the skilled Knights of Columbus adver­tising in leading magazines and newspapers during recent years. The October, 1959, Churchman comments that "this skillfully written advertising copy has no doubt irked many Protestants but no Protestant organization has had the wisdom to carry on an equally potent cam­paign."

Evidently the continuation of these advertise­ments indicates the satisfaction of the Roman church with their results. From January 1 to July 1, 1959, in the United States, inquiries from these ads were 3,141,334, and enrollments for religious in­struction 296,362, reports the Churchman. World figures were (63 countries): inquiries 3,352,733, in­struction enrollments 339,917.

Then the Churchman adds: "The apathy of Prot­estants in this field does not include the Seventh-day Adventists. We congratulate them on their use of well-written half-page advertisements in Editor and Publisher, a trade journal which reaches most newspaper offices in the United States."

h. w. l.

FED OR FED UP?  The injunction "Feed my sheep" reflects the philosophy of the apostolic ministry. The shepherd of a flock was not to be an engineer running a machine, but one who understood the needs of those under his care, one who would nourish the flock and "have com­passion ... on them that are out of the way."

In recent years medical science has discovered much about the effect of certain foods upon per­sonality development. And what is true in the physical realm is equally true in the spiritual realm. Regular meals are important; but even more im­portant is the content of those meals. Important as it is for one to have sufficient nourishment for his daily needs, it is equally important that he not over­indulge. This needs no comment, especially in Adventist circles, for we have been charged by God to emphasize the importance of real health reform.

However, it is not physical health that we are emphasizing, but rather spiritual health. Too much of any one thing, or too much at any one time, can be a detriment to real spiritual growth. The ability to adapt oneself to the immediate situation is a quality every preacher should develop. Although it is true that a large congregation may often inspire the preacher to deliver his message in a strong, forthright way. yet the smaller meeting is also im­portant, requiring that one adapt his method to the immediate needs.

To illustrate: An inexperienced preacher worked hard on his sermon. When he reached the church only one man turned up to hear him. Crestfallen, the young preacher said to this one-man audience, "What am I supposed to do now?" The reply he got encouraged him to go ahead: "I am just a simple cowhand, but if I took a load of hay to the pasture and only one cow showed up, I sure would feed her."

So the preacher went through his long sermon, trying all the while to be enthusiastic. It was quite a task. Having delivered his soul he stepped to the door to say good night. Then he ventured the ques­tion, "How did I do?"

"Well," the man replied, "like I said, I am only just a cowhand, but if I took a load of hay to a herd of cows and only one showed up, I sure would not give her the whole load."

Could it be that we could be charged sometimes with serving up the whole load when it would be much better if we adapted ourselves to the situa­tion. It is a good thing to be fed, but to be fed up is tragic. Let us put the slide rule on ourselves, brother preachers, or better still, encourage some­body else to help us make a real evaluation of our ministry.

Our people need to be fed but not overfed, much less fed up. The same great evangelist that said, "Feed the flock of God" (1 Peter 5:2) also said, "Take heed unto thyself" (1 Tim. 4:16). His coun­sel is just as pertinent today.

r. a. a.

THE ARCHITECTURE OF PRAYER  Recognized leaders in the Christian church, whose names are household words, have emphasized again and again the importance of the public prayer in our meetings for worship. In preaching one speaks to the congregation for God, but in the pastoral prayer we speak to God for the congregation. That is what makes this part of the service so important. To seize upon it as an occasion for unfolding sys­tems of theology, or to emphasize on certain doc­trines, is entirely out of place. More unfortunate still is it when the prayer becomes an opportunity for paying a compliment to the preacher. Its pur­pose is not to inform, but rather to inspire the wor­shipers—to lift them into the very presence of God. It bridges the distance between the Creator and the creature.

It is an august exercise demanding as much prep­aration as the sermon. The Spirit of Prophecy says, "All should feel it a Christian duty to pray short. . . . Some deliver a discourse to the Lord in the mode of prayer." When one realizes the importance of the responsibility of carrying the congregation to the throne of grace he will bow in humility.

Spontaneous prayer that comes from the depths of the soul of the one who has already taken hold of the arm of Omnipotence can and will do as much for the congregation as the most impressive ser­mon. It has been well said that "if men are un­moved by our prayers, they are not likely to be profoundly stirred by our preaching."

The high point of the whole worship service should be when the Lord is being addressed on be­half of the congregation. And the one expressing praise, confession, and the needs of the people is speaking not only for himself but for every wor­shiper present. Moreover, he himself is one of the worshipers. It is always regrettable and reveals a lack of true understanding when we hear expres­sions such as, "My Father, I pray Thee to bless these Thy people." Such an expression, though supplica­tory, lacks an essential quality—a recognition that with the people for whom he speaks he also needs the blessing of God.

How different was the prayer of Daniel. And what a pattern for intercession was set by this great leader. Nowhere else, except in the experience of our Lord, is the principle of intercessory prayers set forth. The ancient prophet Daniel was three times called "greatly beloved" of God. But see how he takes his people on his heart as he prays, "We have sinned . . . : neither have we hearkened unto thy servants the prophets. . . . O Lord, right­eousness belongeth unto thee, but unto us confu­sion of faces, as at this day. . . . We have sinned . . . and have done wickedly." Thirty-three times in this prayer we find him using the first person pro­nouns "we," "us," and "our," showing how closely he identified himself with his people. It would have been true had he said, "O Lord, our fathers sinned, they did wickedly and they have deserved what has come upon them." But not so. He identi­fied himself with the people and voiced their heart cries to God—a true example of intercessory prayer.

Let us think through the implications of our public prayers and guard every expression that would separate us from the people. Those who lead in our services of worship must be careful to identify themselves with the worshipers—in praise, prayer, song, and sermon.

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

January 1960

Download PDF
Ministry Cover

More Articles In This Issue

The Challenge of the New Year

What are we to do about the past? What of the future? What are the possibilities that challenge us as we face the new year?

I Changed My Mind About Sunday School!

This article will stimulate the thinking of our ministers in relation to the soul-winning possibilities in our own Sabbath schools.

The Discipline of the Church

How, then, can the church be the salt of the earth? How can she be the light of the world? What is her moral responsibility to the community?

The Philosophy of Administration

MANY workers in the Advent cause are engaged in some form of administration... It is vital that each worker... should develop a sound philosophy of administration

Daniel 8—Its Relationship to the Kingdom of God

we present this article as a stimulus to deeper study of some familiar prophecies

An Introduction to Paul's Teaching on the Holy Spirit

An Introduction to Paul's Teaching on the Holy Spirit. The modern Bible student must recap­ture that truth of the Old Testament, which is also a truth of the New Testa­ment, that the Spirit of God is always ac­tive, that His action is rarely concerned with anything aside from men...

The Minister and the Home

A MINISTER'S HOME in­fluences more people than his pulpit. A good family is of inestimable value to the minister.

Hospital Visitation

Visiting the sick forms an important part of the minister's work. Hospital visitation with its varied opportunities is a form of evangelism that demands the very best of the pastor.

Step by Step Through a Short Evangelistic Campaign

FOR many decades Seventh-day Adventists have been proclaiming a positive message with definite views concerning world conditions and the fulfillment of Bible prophecy. Today we see many of these prophecies being fulfilled. These developments challenge us to a real­ization of the greatness of the task that is ours of presenting the coming of a Saviour to a lost and dying world.

Evangelism of Tomorrow

Let me present a few thoughts concerning some of the fun­damental aspects of the situation that I believe the evangelist of tomorrow will see.

The Minister's Wife, Home, and Family

In view of her high responsibilities, what sort of woman should a minister's wife strive to be? Let us hear an answer from a successful min­ister's wife...

"She Hath Wrought a Good Work"

A eulogy Ena Alger Ferguson, a teacher and Bi­ble instructor of rare ability.

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 - NAD Stewardship (160x600)