Christian Leadership



To Every Man His Special Line of Service—In 1903, I wrote to the President of a Conference: “By means of one agency, Christ Jesus, God has mysteriously linked all men together. To every man He has assigned some special line of service; and we should be quick to comprehend that we are to guard against leaving the work given us in order that we may interfere with other human agencies who are doing a work not precisely the same as our own. To no man has been assigned the work of interfering with the work of one of his fellow-laborers, trying to take it in hand himself; for he would so handle it that he would spoil it. To one, God gives a work different from the work that He gives another.”—Manuscript 29, 1907, pp. 9, 10 (January 1907, Individual Responsibility and Christian Unity). ChL 39.1

Respect Each Other—Each one is to stand in his lot and in his place, doing his work. Every individual among you must before God do a work for these last days that is great and sacred and grand. Every one must bear his weight of responsibility. The Lord is preparing each one to do his appointed work, and each one is to be respected and honored as a brother chosen of God, and precious in His sight. One man is not to be selected to whom all plans and methods shall be confided, while the others are left out. If this is done, errors will be made; wrong moves will be taken. Harm, rather than good will be done. No one of you needs to be afraid of the other, lest the other shall have the highest place. Without partiality and without hypocrisy each is to be treated. ChL 39.2

The same line of work is not to be given to each worker; and for this reason you need to counsel together in that freedom and confidence that should exist among the Lord's workmen. All need to have less confidence in self, and far greater confidence in the One who is mighty in counsel who knoweth the end from the beginning. ChL 39.3

When you respect each other, you will respect Jesus Christ. You are to show no preferences; for the Lord does not show preferences to his chosen ones. He says, “I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his Lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.” This is the confidence that the Lord would have you cherish in each other. Unless you do this more than you have done in your past experience, you will not walk and work under the dictates of the Spirit of God. God would have you united in pleasant cords of companionship. As the Lord's workmen, you are to open your plans one to another. These plans must be carefully and prayerfully considered; for the Lord will leave those who do not do this to stumble in their own supposed wisdom and superior greatness.... ChL 39.4

One person must not suppose that his wisdom is beyond making any mistake. God would have the greatest cherish that humility that will lead him to be the servant of all, if duty thus orders it. ChL 40.1

But while you are to love as brethren, and think soul to soul, heart to heart, life to life, you are individually to lean your whole weight on God. He will be your support. He is not pleased when you depend on each other for light and wisdom and direction. The Lord must be our wisdom. Individually we must know that He is our sanctification and our redemption. To Him we may look; in Him we may trust. He will be to us a present help in every time of need. ChL 40.2

Whatever our duties in the various lines of work may be, remember that God is the General over all. You must not withdraw from Him to make flesh your arm. You have been too much inclined to measure yourselves among yourselves and compare yourselves one with another, estimating the importance of your work. Will you remember that your comparisons may fall wide of the mark? It is not position or rank by which the Lord estimates. He looks to see how much of the Spirit of the Master you cherish and how much of the likeness of Christ your work reveals.—Letter 49, 1897 (September 1897, To Brn. Daniells, Colcord, Faulkhead, Palmer, Salisbury). ChL 40.3

No One Man to Control—In counseling for the advancement of the work, no one man is to be a controlling power, a voice for the whole. Proposed methods and plans are to be carefully considered, so that all the brethren may weigh their relative merits and decide which should be followed. In studying the fields to which duty seems to call us, it is well to take into account the difficulties that will be encountered in these fields.—Testimonies for the Church 7:259. ChL 41.1

Draw Closer Together in Councils—As brethren located where you must be more or less connected, you must draw closer together in your councils, in your association, in spirit, and in all your works. One man among you is not to be made the counselor for all.—Letter 49, 1897 (September 1897, Workers in our Institutions). ChL 41.2

Responsibilities Divided—God's service is not committed to one man's judgment and option, but is divided among those who are found willing to labor interestedly and self-sacrificingly. Thus all, according to the skill and ability God has given them, bear the responsibilities that He has appointed to them. ChL 41.3

The important interests of a great nation were entrusted to men whose talents fitted them to handle these responsibilities. Some were chosen to direct the business affairs; others were chosen to look after spiritual matters connected with the worship of God. All the religious service and every branch of the business was to bear the signature of heaven. “Holiness unto the Lord” was to be the motto of the laborers in every department. It was regarded as essential that everything be conducted with regularity, propriety, fidelity, and dispatch.—Manuscript 81, 1900, p. 6 (Diary, Solomon's Reign). ChL 41.4

No One Mind Equal to Conference Management—When a worker is selected for the presidency of a conference, that office of itself does not bring to him power of capability that he did not have before. ChL 41.5

A high position does not give to the character Christian virtues. The man who supposes that his individual mind is capable of planning and devising for all branches of the work, reveals a great lack of wisdom. No one human mind is capable of carrying the many and varied responsibilities of a conference embracing thousands of people and many branches of work. ChL 42.1

But a greater danger than this has been revealed to me in the feeling that has been growing among our workers that ministers and other laborers in the cause should depend upon the mind of certain leading workers to define their duties. One man's mind and judgment is not to be considered capable of controlling and molding a conference. ChL 42.2

The individual and the church have responsibilities of their own. God has given to every man some talent or talents to use and improve. In using these talents he increases his capability to serve.—Letter 340, 1907, pp. 1, 2 (October 3, 1907 Workers in Southern California). ChL 42.3

Shun Desire to Become Great Leaders-It is those who accept the warnings and cautions given them who will walk in safe paths. Let not men yield to the burning desire to become great leaders, or to the desire independently to devise and lay plans for themselves and for the work of God. It is easy for the enemy to work through some who, having themselves need of counsel at every step, undertake the guardianship of souls without having learned the lowliness of Christ. These need counsel from the One who says, “Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden.” ChL 42.4

Our ministers and leaders need to realize the necessity of counseling with their brethren who have been long in the work, and who have gained deep experience in the ways of the Lord. The disposition of some to shut themselves up to themselves, and to feel competent to plan and execute according to their own judgment and preferences, brings them into strait places. Such an independent way of working is not right, and should not be followed. The ministers and teachers in our conferences are to work unitedly with their brethren of experience, asking them for their counsel, and paying heed to their advice.—Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 501, 502. ChL 42.5