Welfare Ministry


Chapter 7—Visitation—The New Testament Plan

Christ's Methods of Labor—From Christ's methods of labor we may learn valuable lessons. He did not follow merely one method; in various ways He sought to gain the attention of the multitude, that He might proclaim to them the truths of the gospel. WM 59.1

Christ's chief work was in ministering to the poor, the needy, and the ignorant. In simplicity He opened before them the blessing they might receive, and thus aroused a soul hunger for the bread of life. Christ's life is an example to all His followers. It is the duty of all who have learned the way of life to teach others what it means to believe in the Word of God. There are many now in the shadow of death who need to be instructed in the truths of the gospel. Nearly the whole world is lying in wickedness. Yet we have words of hope for those who sit in darkness.—The Review and Herald, May 9, 1912. WM 59.2

The Scope of Christ's House-to-House Ministry—Our Saviour went from house to house, healing the sick, comforting the mourners, soothing the afflicted, speaking peace to the disconsolate. He took the little children in His arms and blessed them and spoke words of hope and comfort to the weary mothers. With unfailing tenderness and gentleness He met every form of human woe and affliction. Not for Himself, but for others, did He labor. He was the servant of all. It was His meat and drink to bring hope and strength to all with whom He came in contact.—Gospel Workers, 188. WM 59.3

Christ's Method Brings True Success—Christ's method alone will give true success in reaching the people. The Saviour mingled with men as one who desired their good. He showed His sympathy for them, ministered to their needs, and won their confidence. Then He bade them, “Follow Me.”—The Ministry of Healing, 143. WM 60.1

This was the way the Christian Church was established. Christ first selected a few persons and bade them follow Him. They then went in search of their relatives and acquaintances, and brought them to Christ. This is the way we are to labor. A few souls brought out and fully established on the truth will, like the first disciples, be laborers for others.—The Review and Herald, December 8, 1885. WM 60.2

The Divine Example of Personal Evangelism—Jesus came in personal contact with men. He did not stand aloof and apart from those who needed His help. He entered the homes of men, comforted the mourner, healed the sick, aroused the careless, and went about doing good. And if we follow in the footsteps of Jesus, we must do as He did. We must give men the same kind of help that He gave.—The Review and Herald, April 24, 1888. WM 60.3

It is not preaching that is the most important; it is house-to-house work, reasoning from the Word, explaining the Word. It is those workers who follow the methods that Christ followed who will win souls for their hire.—Gospel Workers, 468. WM 60.4

The Lord desires that His word of grace shall be brought home to every soul. To a great degree this must be accomplished by personal labor. This was Christ's method. His work was largely made up of personal interviews. He had a faithful regard for the one-soul audience. Through that one soul the message was often extended to thousands. Christ's Object Lessons, 229. WM 60.5

The Twelve Sent Forth in House-to-House Labor—On this first tour the disciples were to go only where Jesus had been before them and had made friends.... Nothing must be allowed to divert their minds from their great work or in any way excite opposition and close the door for further labor. They were not to adopt the dress of the religious teachers, nor use any guise in apparel to distinguish them from the humble peasants. They were not to enter into the synagogues and call the people together for public service; their efforts were to be put forth in house-to-house labor.... They were to enter the dwelling with the beautiful salutation, “Peace be to this house.” That home would be blessed by their prayers, their songs of praise, and the opening of the Scriptures in the family circle.—The Desire of Ages, 351, 352. WM 61.1

The Seventy Likewise—Calling the twelve about Him, Jesus bade them go out two and two through the towns and villages. None were sent forth alone, but brother was associated with brother, friend with friend. Thus they could help and encourage each other, counseling and praying together, each one's strength supplementing the other's weakness. In the same manner He afterward sent forth the seventy. It was the Saviour's purpose that the messengers of the gospel should be associated in this way. In our own time evangelistic work would be far more successful if this example were more closely followed.—The Desire of Ages, 350. WM 61.2

Paul Went From House to House—Paul, as well as laboring publicly, went from house to house preaching repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. He met with men at their homes and besought them with tears, declaring unto them the whole counsel of God.—The Review and Herald, April 24, 1888. WM 61.3

The Secret of Paul's Power and Success—On one occasion Paul said: “Ye know, from the first day that I came into Asia, after what manner I have been with you at all seasons, serving the Lord with all humility of mind, and with many tears, and temptations, which befell me by the lying in wait of the Jews: and how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publickly, and from house to house.” ... WM 62.1

These words explain the secret of Paul's power and success. He kept back nothing that was profitable for the people. He preached Christ publicly, in the market places and the synagogues. He taught from house to house, availing himself of the familiar intercourse of the home circle. He visited the sick and sorrowing, comforting the afflicted, and lifting up the oppressed. And in all that he said and did he preached a crucified and risen Saviour.—The Youth's Instructor, November 22, 1900. WM 62.2

Paul Also Found Access to Others Through His Trade—During the long period of his ministry in Ephesus, where for three years he carried forward an aggressive evangelistic effort throughout that region, Paul again worked at his trade.... WM 62.3

There were some who objected to Paul's toiling with his hands, declaring that it was inconsistent with the work of a gospel minister. Why should Paul, a minister of the highest rank, thus connect mechanical work with the preaching of the Word? Was not the laborer worthy of his hire? Why should he spend in making tents time that to all appearance could be put to better account? WM 62.4

But Paul did not regard as lost the time thus spent. As he worked with Aquila he kept in touch with the Great Teacher, losing no opportunity of witnessing for the Saviour and of helping those who needed help. His mind was ever reaching out for spiritual knowledge. He gave his fellow workers instruction in spiritual things, and he also set an example of industry and thoroughness. He was a quick, skillful worker, diligent in business, “fervent in spirit, serving the Lord.” As he worked at his trade, the apostle had access to a class of people that he could not otherwise have reached.... WM 63.1

Paul sometimes worked night and day, not only for his own support, but that he might assist his fellow laborers. He shared his earnings with Luke, and he helped Timothy. He even suffered hunger at times, that he might relieve the necessities of others. His was an unselfish life.—The Acts of the Apostles, 351, 352. WM 63.2

Paul's Practical Example to Self-supporting Laymen—Paul set an example against the sentiment, then gaining influence in the church, that the gospel could be proclaimed successfully only by those who were wholly freed from the necessity of physical toil. He illustrated in a practical way what might be done by consecrated laymen in many places where the people were unacquainted with the truths of the gospel. His course inspired many humble toilers with a desire to do what they could to advance the cause of God, while at the same time they supported themselves in daily labor. WM 63.3

Aquila and Priscilla were not called to give their whole time to the ministry of the gospel, yet these humble laborers were used by God to show Apollos the way of truth more perfectly. The Lord employs various instrumentalities for the accomplishment of His purpose; and while some with special talents are chosen to devote all their energies to the work of teaching and preaching the gospel, many others, upon whom human hands have never been laid in ordination, are called to act an important part in soulsaving. WM 63.4

There is a large field open before the self-supporting gospel worker. Many may gain valuable experiences in ministry while toiling a portion of the time at some form of manual labor, and by this method strong workers may be developed for important service in needy fields.—The Acts of the Apostles, 355. WM 64.1

Go in the Spirit That Endued Paul—Go to your neighbors one by one, and come close to them till their hearts are warmed by your unselfish interest and love. Sympathize with them, pray with them, watch for opportunities to do them good, and as you can, gather a few together and open the Word of God to their darkened minds. Keep watching as he who must render an account for the souls of men, and make the most of the privileges that God gives you of laboring with Him in His moral vineyard. WM 64.2

Do not neglect speaking to your neighbors and doing them all the kindness in your power, that you “by all means may save some.” We need to seek for the spirit that constrained the apostle Paul to go from house to house, pleading with tears and teaching “repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.”—The Review and Herald, March 13, 1888. WM 64.3

The First Works of the New Testament Church—The first works of the church were seen when the believers sought out friends, relatives, and acquaintances, and with hearts overflowing with love, told the story of what Jesus was to them.—Special Testimonies, Series A 2a:17. WM 64.4

Success of the New Testament Plan—The more closely the New Testament plan is followed in missionary labor, the more successful will be the efforts put forth. We should work as did our divine Teacher, sowing the seeds of truth with care, anxiety, and self-denial. We must have the mind of Christ if we would not become weary in well-doing. His was a life of continual sacrifice for others’ good. We must follow His example.—Testimonies for the Church 3:210. WM 65.1