Welfare Ministry


Chapter 9—Types of Work in Neighborhood Evangelism

A Large Work Before Our Churches—There is a work to be done by our churches that few have any idea of.... We shall have to give of our means to support laborers in the harvest field, and we shall rejoice in the sheaves gathered in. But while this is right, there is a work, as yet untouched, that must be done. The mission of Christ was to heal the sick, encourage the hopeless, bind up the brokenhearted. This work of restoration is to be carried on among the needy suffering ones of humanity. WM 71.1

God calls not only for your benevolence but for your cheerful countenance, your hopeful words, the grasp of your hand. Relieve some of God's afflicted ones. Some are sick, and hope has departed. Bring back the sunlight to them. There are souls who have lost their courage; speak to them, pray for them. There are those who need the bread of life. Read to them from the Word of God. There is a soul sickness no balm can reach, no medicine heal. Pray for these, and bring them to Jesus Christ. And in all your work Christ will be present to make impressions upon human hearts.—Manuscript 105, 1898. WM 71.2

Visit Every Family and Know Their Spiritual Condition—Wherever a church is established, all the members should engage actively in a missionary work. They should visit every family in the neighborhood and know their spiritual condition. If professed Christians had engaged in this work from the time when their names were first placed on the church books, there would not now be such widespread unbelief, such depths of iniquity, such unparalleled wickedness, as is seen in the world at the present time. If every church member had sought to enlighten others, thousands upon thousands would today stand with God's commandment-keeping people. WM 71.3

And not only in the world do we see the result of the church's neglect to work in Christ's lines. By this neglect a condition of things has been brought into the church that has eclipsed the high and holy interests of the work of God. A spirit of criticism and bitterness has come into the church, and the spiritual discernment of many has been dimmed. Because of this the cause of Christ has suffered great loss. Heavenly intelligences have been waiting to cooperate with human agencies, but we have not discerned their presence. WM 72.1

It is now high time that we repent. All the people of God should interest themselves in the work of doing good. They should unite heart and soul in earnest endeavor to uplift and enlighten their fellow men.—Testimonies for the Church 6:296, 297. WM 72.2

Finding Those Who Will Hear—Several years ago, during a former visit to the South, while out on long drives, I sometimes asked who occupied the homes we passed, and I learned that in many of the larger Southern houses were men who bear important responsibilities in the care of great estates. Upon further inquiry, I learned that no one had sought to bring before these men the Word of Life. None had gone to them, with Bible in hand, and said, “We have something precious for you, and we want that you should hear it.” Now it has been presented before me repeatedly that this is a line of work that must be done. We are to go out into the highways and into the hedges and carry to the people the message of truth that Christ has given us. We are to compel many to come in.—Manuscript 15, 1909. WM 72.3

Making Contacts Count for Christ—There are many from whom hope has departed. Bring back the sunshine to them. Many have lost their courage. Speak to them words of cheer. Pray for them. There are those who need the bread of life. Read to them from the Word of God. Upon many is a soul sickness which no earthly balm can reach or physician heal. Pray for these souls. Bring them to Jesus. Tell them that there is a balm in Gilead and a Physician there.—Prophets and Kings, 719. WM 73.1

Working for All Classes—Everywhere there is a work to be done for all classes of society. We are to come close to the poor and the depraved, those who have fallen through intemperance. And, at the same time, we are not to forget the higher classes—the lawyers, ministers, senators, and judges, many of whom are slaves to intemperate habits. We are to leave no effort untried to show them that their souls are worth saving, that eternal life is worth striving for.—Testimonies for the Church 7:58. WM 73.2

Called to Different Lines of Service—The Lord is calling upon His people to take up different lines of missionary work, to sow beside all waters. We do but a small part of the work that He desires us to do among our neighbors and friends. By kindness to the poor, the sick, or the bereaved we may obtain an influence over them, so that divine truth will find access to their hearts. No such opportunity for service should be allowed to pass unimproved. It is the highest missionary work that we can do. The presentation of the truth in love and sympathy from house to house is in harmony with the instruction of Christ to His disciples when He sent them out on their first missionary tour.—The Review and Herald, June 6, 1912. WM 73.3

Help Humanity as Did Christ—As He [Christ] passed through the towns and cities, He was like a vital current, diffusing life and joy wherever He went. The followers of Christ are to labor as He did. We are to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and comfort the suffering and afflicted. We are to minister to the despairing and inspire hope in the hopeless.—The Desire of Ages, 350. WM 74.1

The Work Every Church Should Have Been Doing—The work of gathering in the needy, the oppressed, the suffering, the destitute, is the very work which every church that believes the truth for this time should long since have been doing. We are to show the tender sympathy of the Samaritan in supplying physical necessities, feeding the hungry, bringing the poor that are cast out to our homes, gathering from God every day grace and strength that will enable us to reach to the very depths of human misery and help those who cannot possibly help themselves. In doing this work we have a favorable opportunity to set forth Christ the crucified One.—Testimonies for the Church 6:276. WM 74.2

Sermons Cannot Do It—By personal labor reach the people where they are. Become acquainted with them. This work cannot be done by proxy. Money loaned or given cannot accomplish it. Sermons from the pulpit cannot do it.—Gospel Workers, 188. WM 74.3

Sunshine Bands—There is power in 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. WM 75.1

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. WM 75.2

A Wide Field of Practical Service—There is a wide field for service for women as well as for men. The efficient cook, the seamstress, the nurse—the help of all is needed. Let the members of poor households be taught how to cook, how to make and mend their own clothing, how to nurse the sick, how to care properly for the home. Even the children should be taught to do some little errand of love and mercy for those less fortunate than themselves. WM 75.3

Other lines of usefulness will open before those who are willing to do the duty nearest them. It is not learned, eloquent speakers that are needed now, but humble, Christlike men and women. WM 75.4

Work disinterestedly, lovingly, patiently, for all with whom you are brought in contact. Show no impatience. Utter not one unkind word. Let the love of Christ be in your hearts, the law of kindness on your lips.—The Review and Herald, August 7, 1913. WM 76.1

Using Our Holidays to Run Errands for the Lord—There are other lines of work. Some are capable of reading the Scriptures and communicating to others that which we believe. These may be channels of light and a precious comfort to some poor discouraged souls who seem to be unable to grasp hope and exercise faith. Others should search and study how they can be doing errands for the Lord. If those whose employment takes the most of their time, excepting Sundays or holidays, instead of spending this time in their own pleasure, use it in blessing others, they will be of service in the cause of God. Your example will help others to do something that will tell to the glory of God. Heed the words of the inspired apostle, “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” Thus a living principle will be brought into your daily active life, of being good and doing good.... WM 76.2

It will not be possible for all to give their whole time to the work, because of the labor they must do to earn their daily living. Yet these have their holidays and times that they can devote to Christian work, and do good in this way if they cannot give much of their means.—Letter 12, 1892. WM 76.3

The hours so often spent in amusement that refreshes neither body nor soul should be spent in visiting the poor, the sick, and the suffering, or in seeking to help someone who is in need.—Testimonies for the Church 6:276. WM 76.4

Welfare Ministry on the Sabbath—According to the fourth commandment the Sabbath was dedicated to rest and religious worship. All secular employment was to be suspended, but works of mercy and benevolence were in accordance with the purpose of the Lord. They were not to be limited to time or place. To relieve the afflicted, to comfort the sorrowing, is a labor of love that does honor to God's holy day.—Redemption: or the Teachings of Christ, 4:46. WM 77.1

Early-Day Methods of Visitation—Let those who feel the burden of souls resting upon them go out and do house-to-house work, and teach the people precept upon precept, here a little, and there a little, gradually leading them into the full light of Bible truth. This is what we had to do in the early days of the message. As earnest efforts are put forth, the Lord will let His blessing rest upon the workers and upon those who are seeking for an understanding of the truth as it is in the Word of God. WM 77.2

There are precious truths, glorious truths, in God's Word, and it is our privilege to bring these truths before the people. In those parts of the field where many cannot attend meetings far away from their homes, we can bring the truth to them personally and can work with them in simplicity. WM 77.3

What light there is in the Word! In Isaiah we read, “Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew My people their transgressions.” This is the work we are to do. Note the expression, “My people.” Why should the prophet say, “My people”? They were not walking in accordance with the light of truth, but God desired to save them from their sins. The truth was to be brought to them anew in its simplicity. WM 77.4

The message of the third angel must go to all people, and Christ has declared that it is to be proclaimed in the highways and in the byways. “Cry aloud, spare not,” He commands. This means that wherever they shall present the truth, whether before a public congregation or from house to house, they are to present it as it is revealed in God's Word.—Manuscript 15, 1909. WM 77.5

Not to Wait for Souls to Come to Us—We are not to wait for souls to come to us; we must seek them out where they are. When the Word has been preached in the pulpit, the work has but just began. There are multitudes who will never be reached by the gospel unless it is carried to them.—Christ's Object Lessons, 229. WM 78.1

Labor from house to house, not neglecting the poor, who are usually passed by. Christ said, “He hath anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor,” and we are to go and do likewise.—The Review and Herald, June 11, 1895. WM 78.2

“I Am Lost! and You Never Warned Me!”—Go to the homes of those even who manifest no interest. While mercy's sweet voice invites the sinner, work with every energy of heart and brain, as did Paul, “who ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.” In the day of God how many will confront us and say, “I am lost! I am lost! And you never warned me; you never entreated me to come to Jesus. Had I believed as you did, I would have followed every Judgment-bound soul within my reach with prayers and tears and warnings.”—The Review and Herald, June 24, 1884. WM 78.3

Relationship of Visitation Evangelism to Our Own Spirituality—Visit your neighbors in a friendly way, and become acquainted with them....Those who do not take up this work, those who act with the indifference that some have manifested, will soon lose their first love and will begin to censure, criticise, and condemn their own brethren.—The Review and Herald, May 13, 1902. WM 78.4

The Work Not Dull or Uninteresting—All who commune with God will find abundance of work to do for Him. Those who go forth in the spirit of the Master, seeking to reach souls with the truth, will not find the work of drawing souls to Christ a dull, uninteresting drudgery. They are charged with a work as God's husbandmen, and they will become more and more vitalized as they give themselves to the service of God. It is a joyous work to open the Scriptures to others.—Testimonies for the Church 9:118. WM 79.1

Make Others Happy—Be joyful in God. Christ is light, and in Him is no darkness at all. Look toward the light. Accustom yourselves to speak the praise of God. Make others happy. This is your first work. It will strengthen the best traits of character. Throw the windows of the soul wide open heavenward, and let the sunshine of Christ's righteousness in. Morning, noon, and night your hearts may be filled with the bright rays of heaven's light.—The Review and Herald, April 7, 1904. WM 79.2

Rekindle the Spirit of Evangelism of 1844[This, Ellen G. White's last message to the General Conference in session in 1913, was read to the Conference by the president, A. G. Daniells, Tuesday morning, May 27.]—Recently in the night season my mind was impressed by the holy spirit with the thought that if the Lord is coming as soon as we believe he is, we ought to be even more active than we have been in years past in getting the truth before the people. WM 79.3

In this connection my mind reverted to the activity of the Advent believers in 1843 and 1844. At that time there was much house-to-house visitation, and untiring efforts were made to warn the people of the things that are spoken in God's Word. We should be putting forth even greater effort than was put forth by those who proclaimed the first angel's message so faithfully. We are rapidly approaching the end of this earth's history; and as we realize that Jesus is indeed coming soon, we shall be aroused to labor as never before. We are bidden to sound an alarm to the people.—The General Conference Bulletin, May 27, 1913, p. 164. WM 79.4

Bring This Work Into Practice Again—As, like the disciples, you go from place to place, telling the story of the Saviour's love, you will make friends and will see the fruit of your labor. All true, humble, loving, faithful workers will be sustained and strengthened by power from on high. They will win their way to the hearts of the people as they follow Christ's example. The sick will be ministered to, the afflicted prayed for. There will be heard the voice of singing and the voice of prayer. The Scriptures will be opened to testify of truth. And with signs following, the Lord will confirm the word spoken. WM 80.1

This class of work has gone out of fashion. Let it be once more brought into practice. The fields are white all ready to harvest. The Lord desires many more to go out into the harvest field. He will be with those who study His Word and obey His commands. He will impart to them His grace. Go forth in the name of Christ, remembering that He is your companion, that every prayer, every word, every song, is heard by Him. The message of the soon coming of the Lord with power and great glory will bring conviction to many hearts.—The Review and Herald, February 4, 1904. WM 80.2