Specialists and the Church

Living among medical specialists has its reward in mental peace

ERNEST PERRY, Evangelist, White Memorial Church, Los Angeles, California

Living among medical specialists has its reward in mental peace. When the pe­diatrician asks that we take our child to the orthopedist for certain diagnosis or therapy, we say, "How wonderful to have every problem cared for by the best pro­fessional talent." The same pursuit of specialists exists in the fields of mechanics, landscaping, bookkeeping, and that of pre­dicting the eye irritation in our Los Ange­les basin.

When this same kind of thinking is ap­plied to the work the church must do, cer­tain problems arise. Will every interested person be found by the professional col­porteur or the polished television program which reaches into the home? Will every Bible study be given by a trained instructor? Will discouraged members be visited only by the minister of pastoral care? Will visi­tors be made to feel welcome only by a com­mittee chosen for their exceptional ability in this field? We think your answer will be a consistent No. But we also think these questions touch upon an area worthy of careful thought.

The work of the church has largely been a do-it-yourself process throughout his­tory. Joseph, David, or Amos of the Old Testament, or the twelve apostles of the New, remind us that great contributions have been made to the cause of God by persons without formal training in the areas to which they were called. The church must have its specialists and we would not minimize what God can do through highly trained persons. Our con­cern, however, is that each member find a place in which to be involved—a place within the range of his talents but not necessarily within the area of his formal training. "Where there is no active labor for others, love wanes, and faith grows dim."—The Desire of Ages, p. 825.

If we might be allowed a few observa­tions after two decades of ministerial serv­ice, they would be these: Members who are bored with their church are never those who have a special interest in solving the needs of others. Those whose spiritual life is alive and happy are interested in the spiritual welfare of someone else. A clergy-centered church is a weak church; a pro­gram carried by lay members is a healthy one. Remember, the Acts is a New Testa­ment book that does not close as do other books. The recording of the story ends, but the story goes on. It continues even today.

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ERNEST PERRY, Evangelist, White Memorial Church, Los Angeles, California

June 1964

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