We should seek to follow more closely the example of Christ, the great Shepherd, as He worked with His little company of disciples, studying with them and with the people the Old Testament Scriptures. His active ministry consisted not merely in sermonizing but in educating the people. As He passed through villages, He came in personal contact with the people in their homes, teaching, and ministering to their necessities. As the crowds that followed Him increased, when He came to a favorable place, He would speak to them, simplifying His discourses by the use of parables and symbols.
You have given much study to the matter of how to make the truth interesting, and the charts you have made are in perfect accord with the work to be carried forward. These charts are object lessons to the people. You have put intensity of thought into the work of getting out these striking illustrations. And they have a marked effect as they are presented to the people in vindication of truth. The Lord uses them to impress minds. Instruction has been given me clearly and distinctly that charts should be used in the presentation of truth. And these illustrations should be made still more impressive by words showing the importance of obedience.
The Innovative Tactics of Brother S
Brother S dwells especially upon the prophecies in the books of Daniel and the Revelation. He has large representations of the beasts spoken of in these books. These beasts are made of papier-mache, and by an ingenious invention, they may be brought at the proper time before the congregation. Thus he holds the attention of the people, while he preaches the truth to them. Through this effort hundreds will be led to a better understanding of the Bible than they ever had before, and we trust that there will be many conversions.
The labors of Elder S remind me of the labors put forth in 1842 to 1844. He uses the Bible, and the Bible alone, to prove the truth of his arguments. He presents a plain “Thus saith the Lord.” Then if any oppose his words, he makes it plain that they must have their controversy not with him. He has large lifelike representations of the beasts and symbols in Daniel and the Revelation, and these are brought forward at the proper time to illustrate his remarks. Not one careless or unnecessary word escapes his lips. He speaks forcibly and solemnly. Many of his hearers have never before heard discourses of so solemn a nature. They manifest no spirit of levity, but a solemn awe seems to rest upon them.
Elder S is arousing a good interest by his meetings. People of all classes come out to hear, and to see the life-size images that he has of the beasts of Revelation. A great many Catholics come to hear him.
I am pleased with the manner in which our brother [Elder S] has used his ingenuity and tact in providing suitable illustrations for the subjects presented—representations that have a convincing power. Such methods will be used more and more in this closing work.
The Lord has been working with Elder S, teaching him how to give to the people this last warning message. His method of making the words of the Bible prove the truth for this time, and his use of the symbols presented in Revelation and Daniel, are effective. Let the young men learn as for their lives what is truth and how it should be presented. We are living in the last days of the great conflict; the truth alone will hold us securely in this time of trouble. The way should be prepared for Elder S to give the message, and our young men should attend his evening meetings.
Let the workers for God manifest tact and talent, and originate devices by which to communicate light to those who are near and to those who are afar off…. Time has been lost, golden opportunities have been unimproved, because men have lacked clear, spiritual eyesight, and have not been wise to plan and devise means and ways whereby they might preoccupy the field before the enemy had taken possession.
By the use of charts, symbols, and representations of various kinds, the minister can make the truth stand out clearly and distinctly. This is a help, and in harmony with the Word of God. But when the worker makes his labors so expensive that others are unable to secure from the treasury sufficient means to support them in the field, he is not working in harmony with God’s plan. The work in the large cities is to be done after Christ’s order, not after the order of a theatrical performance. It is not a theatrical performance that glorifies God, but the presentation of the truth in the love of Christ.
Adapted from Evangelism 203-206
Allowing More than One Man’s Method
Let not one man feel that his gift alone is sufficient for the work of God; that he alone can carry through a series of meetings, and give perfection to the work. His methods may be good, and yet varied gifts are essential; one man’s mind is not to mold and fashion the work according to his special ideas. In order for the work to be built up strong and symmetrical, there is need of varied gifts and different agencies, all under the Lord’s direction; He will instruct the workers according to their several ability.
Co-operation and unity are essential to a harmonious whole, each laborer doing his God-given work, filling his appropriate position, and supplying the deficiency of another. One worker left to labor alone is in danger of thinking that his talent is sufficient to make a complete whole. Where there is a union of workers, there is opportunity for them to consult together, to pray together, to co-operate in labor. None should feel that they cannot link up with their brethren because they do not work in exactly the same line as they themselves do.
There are some minds which do not grow with the work but allow the work to grow far beyond them…. Those who do not discern and adapt themselves to the increasing demands of the work, should not stand blocking the wheels, and thus hindering the advancement of others. There must be no fixed rules; our work is a progressive work, and there must be room left for methods to be improved upon. But under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, unity must and will be preserved. Means will be devised to reach hearts. Some of the methods used in this work will be different from the methods used in the work in the past; but let no one, because of this, block the way by criticism.
Men are needed who pray to God for wisdom, and who, under the guidance of God, can put new life into the old methods of labor and can invent new plans and new methods of awakening the interest of church members and reaching the men and women of the world.
God’s workmen must labor to be many-sided men; that is, to have a breadth of character, not to be one-idea men, stereotyped in one manner of working, getting into a groove, and unable to see and sense that their words and their advocacy of truth must vary with the class of people they are among, and the circumstances that they have to meet. Let us not forget that different methods are to be employed to save different ones. You have a hard field to handle, but the gospel is the power of God. The classes of people you meet with decide for you the way in which the work should be handled.
On Criticizing New Ideas
I am bidden to say to my aged brethren, walk humbly with God. Be not accusers of the brethren. You are to do your appointed work under the direction of the God of Israel. The inclination to criticize is the greatest danger of many. The brethren whom you are tempted to criticize are called to bear responsibilities which you could not possibly carry; but you can be their helpers. You can do great service to the cause if you will, by presenting your experience in the past in connection with the labors of others. The Lord has not given to any of you the work of correcting and censuring your brethren
Adapted from Evangelism 104-106
Careful Planning, Analysis, and Creativity Needed
In the cities of today, where there is so much to attract and please, the people can be interested by no ordinary efforts. Ministers of God’s appointment will find it necessary to put forth extraordinary efforts in order to arrest the attention of the multitudes. And when they succeed in bringing together a large number of people, they must bear messages of a character so out of the usual order that the people will be aroused and warned. They must make use of every means that can possibly be devised for causing the truth to stand out clearly and distinctly.
Let every worker in the Master’s vineyard, study, plan, devise methods, to reach the people where they are. We must do something out of the common course of things. We must arrest the attention. We must be deadly in earnest. We are on the very verge of times of trouble and perplexities that are scarcely dreamed of. From Christ’s methods of labor we may learn many valuable lessons. He did not follow merely one method; in various ways He sought to gain the attention of the multitude; and then He proclaimed to them the truths of the gospel.
The work of winning souls to Christ demands careful preparation. Man cannot enter the Lord’s service without the needed training, and expect the highest success…. The architect will tell you how long it took him to understand how to plan a tasteful, commodious building. And so it is in all the callings that men follow. Should the servants of Christ show less diligence in preparing for work infinitely more important? Should they be ignorant of the ways and means to be employed in winning souls? It requires a knowledge of human nature, close study, careful thought, and earnest prayer, to know how to approach men and women on the great subjects that concern their eternal welfare.
Adapted from Evangelism 122-128
Successful and Impressive Advertising Methods
Workers with clear minds are needed to devise methods for reaching the people. Something must be done to break down the prejudice existing in the world against the truth.
Men will misrepresent the doctrines we believe and teach as Bible truth, and it is necessary that wise plans should be laid to secure the privilege of inserting articles into the secular papers; for this will be a means of awakening souls to see the truth. God will raise up men who will be qualified to sow beside all waters. God has given great light upon important truths, and it must come to the world.
With intense interest God is looking on this world. He has noted the capacity of human beings for service…Truth will be made so prominent that he who runs may read. Means will be devised to reach hearts. Some of the methods used in this work will be different from the methods used in the work in the past; but let no one, because of this, block the way by criticism.
We must take every justifiable means of bringing the light before the people. Let the press be utilized, and let every advertising agency be employed that will call attention to the work. This should not be regarded as nonessential. On every street corner you may see placards and notices calling attention to various things that are going on, some of them of the most objectionable character; and shall those who have the light of life be satisfied with feeble efforts to call the attention of the masses to the truth?
Adapted from Evangelism 129-130
Not to Ape the World
We are handling subjects which involve eternal interests, and we are not to ape the world in any respect. We are to follow closely the footsteps of Christ. He is a satisfying portion and can meet all our wants and necessities. Our success will depend on carrying forward the work in the simplicity in which Christ carried it forward, without any theatrical display.
Let not your efforts be to follow the world’s way but to follow God’s way. Outward display will not do the work the Lord desires to have done to arouse the higher classes to a conviction that they have heard the truth. Do not divest the truth of its dignity and impressiveness by preliminaries that are more after the order of the world than after the order of heaven.
Let your hearers understand that you do not hold Sunday evening meetings to charm their senses with music and other things, but to preach the truth in all its solemnity, that it may come to them as a warning, arousing them from their deathlike sleep of self-indulgence. It is the naked truth that, like a sharp, two-edged sword, cuts both ways…. Those who in their work for God depend on worldly plans for gaining success will make a failure. The Lord calls for a change in your manner of labor. He desires you to practice the lessons taught in the life of Christ. Then the mold of Christ will be seen on all the meetings that you hold.
Burden of Conviction Lost by Cheap Nonsense
After a good work has been done, the ones who have been awakened to a sense of sin should be taught how to take hold of the arm of the Lord. But if the good impressions made are not followed up with true, earnest efforts, no permanent good is accomplished. The result might be very different, did not a desire for amusement divert the mind from the contemplation of serious things… Amusement is not to be interwoven with instruction in the Scriptures. When this is done, the hearers, amused by some cheap nonsense, lose the burden of conviction. The opportunity passes away, and no one is drawn by the cords of love to the Saviour.
Adapted from Evangelism 210-211