A pilot project intended to provide The Ministry magazine to the approximately 25,000 non-Adventist clergymen within the geographical limits of the Columbia Union has been approved by the General Conference and Columbia Union committees. This project, given the acronym PREACH, is slated to begin in the fall of 1975 and will provide these clergymen with a twelve-issue introductory gift subscription to our Seventh-day Adventist professional ministerial journal.
For many years denominational leaders have been concerned about the instruction given to the church that "mistakes have been made in not seeking to reach ministers and the higher classes with the truth" (Testimonies, vol. 5, p. 580). "Teachers of the gospel whose minds have not been called to the special truths for this time . . . should be the first to hear the call." --Christ's Object Lessons, p. 230. (Italics supplied.)
Unfortunately, comparatively little has been done in following through on this counsel. Recently, how ever, a special General Conference subcommittee gave careful study to the implementation of these divine instructions and finally came to the conclusion that, as one means of making favorable contact with clergymen not of our faith, we attempt to meet a real need by sharing our professional ministerial journal with them.
W. B. Quigley, president of the Columbia Union Conference, immediately and enthusiastically responded to our invitation to field test this project in his union. Recently, the union committee unanimously agreed that the Columbia Union would join the General Conference in supporting this project in a strong financial way.
Not only is this project designed to provide material that will be helpful to non-Adventist clergymen in their work, but it is also intended to help them better understand Adventists and their teachings. This contact will be followed up with offers of gift books, professional seminars, and other programs that will increase their understanding of the Adventist message.
Some have wondered whether doing this will in any way dilute the content of The Ministry magazine. Actually, we believe it will strengthen it by enabling us to spend more time and money in developing the sharpest material available. The plan is to make every other issue available to non-Adventist clergymen, using alternate months to publish those items that are specifically designed to meet the needs of the Adventist worker.
We believe that our present format, which incorporates an emphasis on health evangelism, science and archeology, regularly scheduled features on church music, and the Shepherdess section, besides the usual evangelistic, pastoral, Biblical, and theological features, will be particularly attractive to our non- Adventist clergymen friends. We will invite them to "look over our shoulders" and see what Adventists are doing, with the hope that much of what is of inter est to us will be helpful to them.
Although the pilot project is officially limited to the geographical confines of the Columbia Union, several Adventist ministers who have learned of this project have asked whether they could order subscriptions to the PREACH issues for their non- Adventist clergymen friends. We, of course, have no objection to this being done on an individual and personal basis. It is anticipated that, if the PREACH program proves successful during this field test, it will be expanded to the North American Division and, if there is a demand, to the world field.
This is an ecumenical age, and the climate should be riper than ever before for ministers of other faiths to respond favorably to this kind of presentation. There are not very many good professional journals available to ministers today. In surveying this field we were surprised that The Ministry is already reaching a larger circulation than most professional ministerial journals.
We recognize, of course, that the journal itself cannot substitute for the personal face-to-face contact of Adventist ministers with their professional brethren. Many are already involved in local ministerial associations. We need to do much more in the way of making such one-to-one contacts. "Our ministers are to make it their special work to labor for ministers. They are not to get into a controversy with them, but, with their Bible in their hand, urge them to study the Word. If this is done, there are many ministers now preaching error, who will preach the truth for this time." --Evangelism, p. 562.
The PREACH project is designed as an entering wedge, better to foster the kind of relationship described in the statement quoted above. Its ultimate success will depend on your use of the tool now being provided. In order to make it useful, we need your interest, support, and prayers in this project. We need articles that will be especially practical and helpful to our non-Adventist friends. We need your hearts and hands and feet to reach out to them in an expression of brotherly interest and concern. The PREACH project is not our project, it is yours.