Pointers for Preachers

Power in the word, The people's choice, Clean-out touch-up day

POWER IN THE WORD

Dr. Martin Niemoller recently addressed a group of Bible Soci­ety patrons in Britain, using his wartime experiences to illustrate the strength de­rived from God's Word. Martin Niemoller was ar­rested in 1935 for publicly opposing Nazi paganism. In 1938 he was imprisoned. He spent seven years in a concentration camp.

In a tunnel leading to the German court a Chris­tian policeman shouted a text of scripture as this godly man was led before his accusers. When he was transferred to a concentration camp he was somehow allowed to retain his Bible. In gratitude for this he regularly stood under his cell window and repeated aloud texts of scripture for unseen passing prisoners to hear.

On one occasion a Nazi S.S. guard was court-martialed on a capital charge. Dr. Niemoller went to him, and after the condemned man had con­fessed his sins and found forgiveness, the two men celebrated a unique communion. The only avail­able elements were water in a tin cup and a crust of bread saved because of the pastor's having a toothache.

After relating several experiences Dr. Niemoller, speaking in quiet, searching tones, asked his Bible Society audience: (1) "Do we read the Bible regu­larly day by day?" More than fifty-five years ago his father had told him: "The Bible doesn't belong on the shelf but in your hand, under your eye, and in your heart." (2) "Do we need Jesus in our heart? If we live with the Book and expound to others our inner convictions and experiences, we shall have Jesus in the heart."

Dr. Niemoller said he was disappointed that Christians everywhere were frightened of commu­nism, whereas it is communism that ought to be afraid of Christianity. "If only we Christians would listen to the witness and be what we ought to be —the salt of the earth and the light of the world!"

H. W. L.

THE PEOPLE'S CHOICE

Favor with the people is no sure index to the value of a minister. As is often the case, a good personality, oratorical and executive ability, does not necessarily keep one in permanent good favor. Popularity is fine when not purchased at the expense of principle. There is a tendency in some quarters to "let things slide" or "leave it to the next man" if someone's feelings are involved. Men who, though not hasty, are faithful in the discharge of responsibility may not win a popular­ity contest at the end of a tenure, but their de­parture is indeed with clean conscience. There is more to faithful ministry than "holding things together" and "keeping everybody happy."

The watchman must take care lest his charge become the home of every unclean and hateful bird. To be sure, this phase of his work will tarnish his glamour, but it will nourish the famishing flock, restoring their confidence in the church and its ideals. Happy is that man who is concerned less with being the people's choice than with receiving the approval of the Almighty.

E. E. C.

CLEAN-OUT TOUCH-UP DAY

Strange as it may seem, a church edifice may often be­come the catchall of every sort of refuse, dust-covered literature, old Quarter­lies and Ingathering magazines, broken chairs, stools and tables, torn or backless hymnals, out-dated goal charts, clothing, and other archaic oddities. This situation often obtains where there is no official custodian to bring such matters to the attention of church leaders. The unsightly accumulation of years reflects neglect rather than deliberate littering —a lack of someone having authority to clean out all valueless and antiquated articles in corners, closets, basement, children's rooms, storerooms, and behind closed cabinet doors. The church is God's house even in these out-of-sight places.

Gather the elders, deacons, department heads, yes, even the church board if necessary, and ex­plain what needs to be accomplished. Take them on a tour of the church building—in and out of hidden recesses. Suggest to these leaders that they make a survey of materials not being used and for which they do not see immediate future use. If too good to discard, it may be that some other de­partment or some other church could use them. Observe the little jobs that need to be done, such as repairing worn carpets, replacing old hinges and locks, tightening wobbly chairs, repairing and re-finishing pews, filling cracks in plaster, and paint­ing where necessary. Most of the men in the church will be happy to serve and demonstrate their handy­man talents.

Call a special day, an official day, so everyone can be in on the profitable enjoyment. Promote it weeks in advance by way of your church bulletin, personal letters, and from the pulpit. Have each work section well organized and a leader chosen who has been briefed and prepared for his particular responsibil­ity. Have brooms, mops, brushes, paints, and all necessary tools on hand for the big day. Have a conveyance ready for hauling away the trash.

Make it a day of special fellowship for the workers. The women could prepare a good noon meal. Obviously, this is essential not only for the social time but to maintain happy workers for a full dedi­cated day. As a by-product of the day the pastor will find members suggesting ideas of value for improving methods, correcting faults, and enhancing the physical aspect of the church. Be appreciative of all that is done. Warm Thank-you notes to each worker will enrich the accomplishment and assure a ready response to another clean-out day you may wish to have at some future time.

A. C. F.


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

December 1960

Download PDF
Ministry Cover

More Articles In This Issue

Taking the Sacred Vows

The conclusion of an 8-part story of a young minister's wife.

Bible Work Well on the March

God is helping our missionaries teach our doctrines to the people for whom they labor, and then to select for the Bible work those who indicate special ability.

The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Uniqueness of Christianity

SOME time ago a rather astonished church member handed me a little book the avowed message of which was to prove by reference to the Dead Sea scrolls that Jesus Christ was not the divine Son of God! This book was sup­posed to demonstrate scholarship, and its author undoubtedly produced what to many would seem a rather plausible case. But in reality how sound is the claim, even from the purely critical standpoint?

The babe that changed the world

Christmas is more than a date on a calendar; it is a spirit. Once a year we are reminded anew that God so loved that He gave. And only as we give can we be like Him. Let us encourage the spirit of good will in our communities.

A Beloved Dominie and His Hymns

More than two hundred years have passed since Dr. Philip Doddridge was a preacher in the Calvinist church at Northampton, Eng­land. His hearers were composed mostly of hum­ble shoemakers in the town's mills, and not many could read or write. But they listened attentively to their beloved dominie, and after the sermon he would repeat, line by line, a hymn he had just written, which they would sing with devout fervor.

North American Regional Department

The following historical outline of the development of our North American Re­gional Department was used by F. L. Peter­son in a report at the General Conference worship, and was of such interest that we requested him to share it with our workers in the field.

"My Meat"

This article concerns itself with the effects of flesh eating on the minister's physical, moral, and mental health. To eat or not to eat, that is the question.

The Investigative or Pre-Advent Judgment: Does the Bible Reveal the Time for This Phase of the Judgment to Begin?

An Answer to Walter Martin's Criticism of Seventh-day Adventism. If the Holy Scriptures declare that such a judgment is to take place, could we not expect that God would also reveal the time for this phase of the judgment to begin?

How to handle hostility

A minister's professional success will be determined to an extent by his abil­ity to deal wisely with hostility. Most vet­eran ministers would admit that the maxi­mum or the minimum of a minister's use­fulness is related to this problem.

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