Chapter 6—Students to Do Missionary Work While in Training
Object of Education
True education is missionary training. Every son and daughter of God is called to be a missionary; we are called to the service of God and our fellow men; and to fit us for this service should be the object of our education.—The Ministry of Healing, 395.It is to fortify the youth against the temptations of the enemy that we have established schools where they may be qualified for usefulness in this life and for the service of God throughout eternity.—Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 495.He who strives to obtain knowledge in order that he may labor for the ignorant and perishing, is acting his part in fulfilling God's great purpose for mankind. In unselfish service for the blessing of others he is meeting the high ideal of Christian education.—Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 545.The Lord calls for strong, devoted, self-sacrificing young men and women, who will press to the front, and who, after a short time spent in school, will go forth prepared to give the message to the world.—Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 549.
Learning by Doing
It is necessary to their complete education that students be given time to do missionary work—time to become acquainted with the spiritual needs of the families in the community around them. They should not be so loaded down with studies that they have no time to use the knowledge they have acquired. They should be encouraged to make earnest missionary effort for those in error, becoming acquainted with them, and taking to them the truth. By working in humility, seeking wisdom from Christ, praying and watching unto prayer, they may give to others the knowledge that has enriched their lives.—Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 545, 546.Wherever possible, students should, during the school year, engage in city mission work. They should do missionary work in the surrounding towns and villages. They can form themselves into bands to do Christian help work. Students should take a broad view of their present obligations to God. They are not to look forward to a time, after the school term closes, when they will do some large work for God, but should study how, during their student life, to yoke up with Christ in unselfish service for others.—Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 547.It is not enough to fill the minds of the youth with lessons of deep importance; they must learn to impart what they have received.—Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 545.From our colleges and training schools missionaries are to be sent forth to distant lands. While at school, let the students improve every opportunity to prepare for this work. Here they are to be tested and proved, that it may be seen what their adaptability is, and whether they have a right hold from above.—Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 549.
Encourage a Missionary Spirit
The teachers and students in our schools need the divine touch. God can do much more for them than He has done, because in the past His way has been restricted. If a missionary spirit is encouraged, even if it takes some hours from the program of regular study, much of Heaven's blessing will be given, provided there is more faith and spiritual zeal, more of a realization of what God will do.—Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 546.
When School Closes
When school closes, there is opportunity for many to go out into the field as evangelistic canvassers. The faithful colporteur finds his way into many homes, where he leaves reading matter containing the truth for this time. Our students should learn how to sell our books. There is need of men of deep Christian experience, men of well-balanced minds, strong, well-educated men, to engage in this branch of the work. Some have the talent, education, and experience that would enable them to educate the youth for canvassing work in such a way that much more would be accomplished than is now being done. Those who have this experience have a special duty to perform in teaching others.—Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 546, 547.
The Ministry of Song
Students who have learned to sing sweet gospel songs with melody and distinctness, can do much good as singing evangelists. They will find many opportunities to use the talent that God has given them in carrying melody and sunshine into many lonely places darkened by sorrow and affliction, singing to those who seldom have church privileges.Students, go out into the highways and hedges. Endeavor to reach the higher as well as the lower classes. Enter the homes of the rich as well as the poor, and as you have opportunity, ask, “Would you be pleased to have us sing some gospel hymns?” Then as hearts are softened, the way may open for you to offer a few words of prayer for the blessing of God. Not many will refuse to listen. Such ministry is genuine missionary work.—Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 547, 548.
Chapter 7—Co-operation of Ministers and Laymen
Unitedly Enter the Field of Service
Let ministers and lay members go forth into the ripening fields. They will find their harvest wherever they proclaim the forgotten truths of the Bible. They will find those who will accept the truth, and who will devote their lives to winning souls to Christ.—Australasian Signs of the Times, August 3, 1903 (The Review and Herald, July 14, 1903).It is not the Lord's purpose that ministers should be left to do the greatest part of the work of sowing the seeds of truth. Men who are not called to the ministry are to be encouraged to labor for the Master according to their several ability. Hundreds of men and women now idle could do acceptable service. By carrying the truth into the homes of their friends and neighbors, they could do a great work for the Master.—Testimonies for the Church 7:21.God has given His ministers the message of truth to proclaim. This the churches are to receive, and in every possible way to communicate, catching the first rays of light and diffusing them.—Testimonies for the Church 6:425.The people must lift where the minister lifts, thus seconding his efforts and helping him bear his burdens, and then he will not be overworked and become discouraged. There is no influence that can be brought to bear on a church that will be enduring unless the people shall move intelligently, from principle, to do all they can to forward the work.—The Review and Herald, August 23, 1881.
A Convincing Combination
The world will be convinced, not by what the pulpit teaches, but by what the church lives. The minister in the desk announces the theory of the gospel; the practical piety of the church demonstrates its power.—Testimonies for the Church 7:16.The work of God in this earth can never be finished until the men and women comprising our church membership rally to the work, and unite their efforts with those of ministers and church officers.—Gospel Workers, 352.Preaching is a small part of the work to be done for the salvation of souls. God's Spirit convicts sinners of the truth, and He places them in the arms of the church. The ministers may do their part, but they can never perform the work that the church should do.—Testimonies for the Church 4:69.The dissemination of the truth of God is not confined to a few ordained ministers. The truth is to be scattered by all who claim to be disciples of Christ. It must be sown beside all waters.—The Review and Herald, August 22, 1899.Ministers may preach pleasing and forcible discourses, and much labor may be put forth to build up and make the church prosperous; but unless its individual members shall act their part as servants of Jesus Christ, the church will ever be in darkness and without strength. Hard and dark as the world is, the influence of a really consistent example will be a power for good.—Testimonies for the Church 4:285, 286.
A Fatal Mistake
It is a fatal mistake to suppose that the work of soulsaving depends alone upon the ministry. The humble, consecrated believer upon whom the Master of the vineyard places a burden for souls, is to be given encouragement by the men upon whom the Lord has laid larger responsibilities. Those who stand as leaders in the church of God are to realize that the Saviour's commission is given to all who believe in His name. God will send forth into His vineyard many who have not been dedicated to the ministry by the laying on of hands.—The Acts of the Apostles, 110.The idea that the minister must carry all the burdens and do all the work, is a great mistake. Overworked and broken down, he may go into the grave, when, had the burden been shared as the Lord designed, he might have lived. That the burden may be distributed, an education must be given to the church by those who can teach the workers to follow Christ and to work as He worked.—Testimonies for the Church 6:435.The minister should not feel that it is his duty to do all the talking and all the laboring and all the praying; he should educate helpers in every church. Let different ones take turns in leading the meetings, and in giving Bible readings; in so doing they will be calling into use the talents which God has given them, and at the same time be receiving a training as workers.—Gospel Workers, 197.Ministers should not do the work which belongs to the church, thus wearying themselves, and preventing others from performing their duty. They should teach the members how to labor in the church and in the community.—Historical Sketches, 291.When an effort is made to present our faith to unbelievers, the members of the church too often stand back, as if they were not an interested party, and let all the burden rest upon the minister. For this reason the labor of our most able ministers has been at times productive of little good.—Gospel Workers, 196.
The Minister's Duty
The best help that ministers can give the members of our churches is not sermonizing, but planning work for them. Give each one something to do for others. Help all to see that as receivers of the grace of Christ they are under obligation to work for Him. And let all be taught how to work. Especially should those who are newly come to the faith be educated to become laborers together with God.—Testimonies for the Church 9:82.Ministers, preach the truths that will lead to personal labor for those who are out of Christ. Encourage personal effort in every possible way.—Testimonies for the Church 9:124.Let ministers teach church members that in order to grow in spirituality, they must carry the burden that the Lord has laid upon them,—the burden of leading souls into the truth. Those who are not fulfilling their responsibility should be visited, prayed with, labored for. Do not lead people to depend upon you as ministers; teach them rather that they are to use their talents in giving the truth to those around them. In thus working they will have the co-operation of heavenly angels, and will obtain an experience that will increase their faith, and give them a strong hold on God.—Gospel Workers, 200.In laboring where there are already some in the faith, the minister should at first seek not so much to convert unbelievers, as to train the church members for acceptable co-operation. Let him labor for them individually, endeavoring to arouse them to seek for a deeper experience themselves, and to work for others. When they are prepared to sustain the minister by their prayers and labors, greater success will attend his efforts.—Gospel Workers, 196.In some respects the pastor occupies a position similar to that of the foreman of a gang of laboring men or the captain of a ship's crew. They are expected to see that the men over whom they are set, do the work assigned to them correctly and promptly, and only in case of emergency are they to execute in detail. The owner of a large mill once found his superintendent in a wheel-pit, making some simple repairs, while a half-dozen workmen in that line were standing by, idly looking on. The proprietor, after learning the facts, so as to be sure that no injustice was done, called the foreman to his office and handed him his discharge with full pay. In surprise the foreman asked for an explanation. It was given in these words: “I employed you to keep six men at work. I found the six idle, and you doing the work of but one. Your work could have been done just as well by any one of the six. I cannot afford to pay the wages of seven for you to teach the six how to be idle.”This incident may be applicable in some cases, and in others not. But many pastors fail in not knowing how, or in not trying, to get the full membership of the church actively engaged in the various departments of church work. If pastors would give more attention to getting and keeping their flock actively engaged at work, they would accomplish more good, have more time for study and religious visiting, and also avoid many causes of friction.—Gospel Workers, 197, 198.
A Good Example
The apostle [Paul] felt that he was to a large extent responsible for the spiritual welfare of those converted under his labors. His desire for them was that they might increase in a knowledge of the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom He had sent. Often in his ministry he would meet with little companies of men and women who loved Jesus, and bow with them in prayer, asking God to teach them how to maintain a living connection with Him. Often he took counsel with them as to the best methods of giving to others the light of gospel truth. And often, when separated from those for whom he had thus labored, he pleaded with God to keep them from evil, and help them to be earnest, active missionaries.—The Acts of the Apostles, 262.
Jesus showed His disciples through His daily life how to maintain a connection with His Heavenly Father. What He taught them is also vitally important for us today. We pray that you are blessed by this short devotional sharing time with Elder Wilson.
Total Member Involvement
Listen to this amazing and inspiring story, shared by Cami Oetman, and others in Adventist World Radio, of how God inspired the start of a massive cell phone evangelism effort. This initiative really is a great way to get involved. It's practical, relevant, and anyone, anywhere can participate. Watch this story and pray about how God might want you to take part.
Total Member Involvement
Find out how a blind woman and the most introverted person in a church are using cell phone evangelism to reach out and share with others. This second part of a testimony series, hosted by Cami Oetman, is sure to inspire you to get more involved in sharing the good news of Jesus soon coming. If there's a will, there's a way, and there are plenty of ways to get involved in Total Member Involvement.