Welfare Ministry


Chapter 11—How to Visit and What to Do

Come Close to Your Neighbors—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 for 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.—The Review and Herald, March 13, 1888. WM 87.1

Help Where Help is Needed Most—There are those all around you who have woes, who need words of sympathy, love, and tenderness, and our humble, pitying prayers. Some are suffering under the iron hand of poverty, some with disease, and others with heartaches, despondency, and gloom. Like Job, you should be eyes to the blind and feet to the lame, and you should inquire into the cause which you know not and search it out with the object in view to relieve their necessities and help just where they most need help.—Testimonies for the Church 3:530. WM 87.2

First meet the temporal necessities of the needy and relieve their physical wants and sufferings, and you will then find an open avenue to the heart, where you may plant the good seeds of virtue and religion.—Testimonies for the Church 4:227. WM 87.3

A Persuasive Approach—Approach the people in a persuasive, kindly manner, full of cheerfulness and love for Christ.... No human tongue can express the preciousness of the ministration of the Word and the Holy Spirit. No human expression can portray to the finite mind the value of understanding and by living faith receiving the blessing that is given as Jesus of Nazareth passes by.—Letter 60, 1903. WM 87.4

Maintain Proper Attitude Toward People—It is a delicate matter to deal with minds. Only He who reads the heart knows how to bring men to repentance. Only His wisdom can give us success in reaching the lost. You may stand up stiffly, feeling, “I am holier than thou,” and it matters not how correct your reasoning or how true your words; they will never touch hearts. The love of Christ, manifested in word and act, will win its way to the soul, when the reiteration of precept or argument would accomplish nothing.—The Ministry of Healing, 163, 164. WM 88.1

Show Heartfelt Sympathy—We need more of Christlike sympathy; not merely sympathy for those who appear to us to be faultless, but sympathy for poor, suffering, struggling souls, who are often overtaken in fault, sinning and repenting, tempted and discouraged. We are to go to our fellow men, touched, like our merciful High Priest, with the feeling of their infirmities.—The Ministry of Healing, 164. WM 88.2

Work in a Way That Will Remove Prejudice—My brethren and sisters, visit those who live near you, and by sympathy and kindness seek to reach their hearts. Be sure to work in a way that will remove prejudice instead of creating it. And remember that those who know the truth for this time and yet confine their efforts to their own churches, refusing to work for their unconverted neighbors, will be called to account for unfulfilled duties.—Testimonies for the Church 9:34, 35. WM 88.3

Get Into the Home When You Can—Come close to the people; get into the families when you can; do not wait for the people to hunt up the shepherd.—Letter 8, 1895. WM 89.1

The Three Important Steps in House-to-House Ministry—The burden now is to convince souls of the truth. This can best be done by personal efforts, by bringing the truth into their houses, praying with them, and opening to them the Scriptures.—The Review and Herald, December 8, 1885. WM 89.2

Importance of the Handshake—Much depends upon the manner in which you meet those whom you visit. You can take hold of a person's hand in greeting in such a way as to gain his confidence at once, or in so cold a manner that he will think you have no interest in him.—Gospel Workers, 189. WM 89.3

Christian Politeness Needed—There are enough who want to be Christians, and if we will let the leaven begin to work, it will take one and then another, just as the spirit of God will work with us and we will see that we can reach the people, not by our own smartness, but by the Spirit of God. Yet we want the ability and power that God has given us to be brought into use. We do not want to be novices forever; we want to know how to conduct ourselves properly; we want Christian politeness. And we want to carry it with us in all our work. We do not want any of the sharp corners which may be in our character to be made prominent, but we want to work in humility, so we will forget them, and better characteristics will come in. We want cheerfulness in our work.—Manuscript 10, 1888. WM 89.4

Power of Courtesy—The cultivation of a uniform courtesy, a willingness to do to others as we would wish them to do to us, would annihilate half the ills of life. The spirit of self-aggrandizement is the spirit of Satan; but the heart in which the love of Christ is cherished, will possess that charity which seeketh not her own.—Patriarchs and Prophets, 133. WM 90.1

Proper Attitude Toward Poor—You don't want to hold yourselves as though it were a condescension to come in contact with poor families. Talk as though they were as good a piece of humanity as you are. They have little enough light and joy, and why not carry additional joy and light to shine in upon them and fill their hearts. What we want is the tender sympathy of Jesus Christ, and then we can melt our way right into their hearts. We want to clothe ourselves, not with pomposity, but with plain simple dress, so that they will feel that we are an equal with them and as though we considered that they were worth saving, and we can melt our way into their hearts. WM 90.2

Now, brethren and sisters, we want the iron taken out of our souls, and we want it taken out of our manner of work. We can educate workers in every church.—Manuscript 10, 1888. WM 90.3

Tactful as Was Christ—He had tact to meet the prejudiced minds, and surprise them with illustrations that won their attention. Through the imagination He reached the heart.—The Desire of Ages, 254. WM 90.4

Talk Courage—Do not utter one despondent word, for such words please Satan. Talk of Christ's goodness and tell of His power. Words of hope and trust and courage are as easily spoken as words of complaint. “Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.”—The Review and Herald, April 7, 1904. WM 90.5

Come to the Point—Now, when we go into the house we should not begin to talk of frivolous things, but come right to the point and say, I want you to love Jesus, for He has first loved you.... Take along the publications and ask them to read. When they see that you are sincere they will not despise any of your efforts. There is a way to reach the hardest hearts. Approach in the simplicity, and sincerity, and humility that will help us to reach the souls of them for whom Christ died.—Manuscript 10, 1888. WM 91.1

Present Christ by the Fireside—To all who are working with Christ I would say, Wherever you can gain access to the people by the fireside, improve your opportunity. Take your Bible, and open before them its great truths. Your success will not depend so much upon your knowledge and accomplishments as upon your ability to find your way to the heart. By being social and coming close to the people, you may turn the current of their thoughts more readily than by the most able discourse. The presentation of Christ in the family, by the fireside, and in small gatherings in private houses is often more successful in winning souls to Jesus than are sermons delivered in the open air, to the moving throng, or even in halls or churches.—Gospel Workers, 193. WM 91.2

Tell How You Found Jesus—Visit your neighbors and show an interest in the salvation of their souls. Arouse every spiritual energy to action. Tell those whom you visit that the end of all things is at hand. The Lord Jesus Christ will open the door of their hearts and will make upon their minds lasting impressions. WM 91.3

Strive to arouse men and women from their spiritual insensibility. Tell them how you found Jesus and how blessed you have been since you gained an experience in His service. Tell them what blessing comes to you as you sit at the feet of Jesus and learn precious lessons from His Word. Tell them of the gladness and joy that there is in the Christian life. Your warm, fervent words will convince them that you have found the pearl of great price. Let your cheerful, encouraging words show that you have certainly found the higher way. This is genuine missionary work, and as it is done, many will awake as from a dream.—Testimonies for the Church 9:38. WM 92.1

Present Christ and His Melting Love—There are many souls yearning unutterably for light, for assurance and strength beyond what they have been able to grasp. They need to be sought out and labored for patiently, perseveringly. Beseech the Lord in fervent prayer for help. Present Jesus because you know Him as your personal Saviour. Let His melting love, His rich grace, flow forth from human lips. You need not present doctrinal points unless questioned. But take the Word, and with tender, yearning love for souls, show them the precious righteousness of Christ, to whom you and they must come to be saved.—Manuscript 27, 1895. WM 92.2

In all your labor let it appear that you know Jesus. Present His purity and saving grace, so that those for whom you labor may, by beholding, be changed into the divine image. The chain that is let down from the throne of God is long enough to reach to the lowest depths of sin. Hold up a sin-pardoning Saviour before the lost and lonely, for Jesus has made divine intercession in their behalf. He is able to lift them from the pit of sin, that they may be acknowledged as the children of God, heirs with Christ to an immortal inheritance. They may have the life that measures with the life of God.—The Review and Herald, April 11, 1912. WM 92.3

The Power of Sacred Songs—Those who have the gift of song are needed. Song is one of the most effective means of impressing spiritual truth upon the heart. Often by the words of sacred song the springs of penitence and faith have been unsealed. Church members, young and old, should be educated to go forth to proclaim this last message to the world. If they go in humility, angels of God will go with them, teaching them how to lift up the voice in prayer, how to raise the voice in song, and how to proclaim the gospel message for this time.—The Review and Herald, June 6, 1912. WM 93.1

Hearts Touched by Simple Songs—Learn to sing the simplest of songs. These will help you in house-to-house labor, and hearts will be touched by the influence of the Holy Spirit. Christ was often heard singing hymns of praise; and yet I have heard persons say, “Christ never smiled.” How mistaken their ideas in regard to the Saviour! There was joy in His heart. We learn from the Word that there is joy among the heavenly angels over one repentant sinner, and that the Lord Himself rejoices over His church with singing.—The Review and Herald, November 11, 1902. WM 93.2

Talk Familiarly and Make Personal Appeals—Personal, individual effort and interest for your friends and neighbors will accomplish more than can be estimated. It is for the want of this kind of labor that souls for whom Christ died are perishing.... Your work may accomplish more real good than the more extensive meetings, if they lack in personal effort. When both are combined, with the blessing of God, a more perfect and thorough work may be wrought; but if we can have but one part done, let it be the individual labor of opening the Scriptures in households, making personal appeals, and talking familiarly with the members of the family, not about things of little importance, but of the great themes of redemption. Let them see that your heart is burdened for the salvation of souls.—The Review and Herald, March 13, 1888. WM 93.3

Effectiveness of the Question Technique—My ministering brethren, do not think that the only work you can do, the only way you can labor for souls, is to give discourses. The best work you can do is to teach, to educate. Whenever you can find an opportunity to do so, sit down with some family, and let them ask questions. Then answer them patiently, humbly. Continue this work in connection with your more public efforts. Preach less, and educate more, by holding Bible readings and by praying with families and little companies.—Gospel Workers, 193. WM 94.1

With a Voice Full of Pathos—Let the voice express sympathy and tenderness. Christ's voice was full of pathos. By persevering effort we can cultivate the voice, ridding it of all harshness. Let us ask in faith for a converted voice, a converted tongue, and for Christlike sympathy and tenderness, that we may win souls to the truth we teach.—The Review and Herald, November 11, 1902. WM 94.2

If They Shut the Door in Your Face, What Then?—“But,” says one, “suppose we cannot gain admittance to the homes of the people; and if we do suppose they rise up against the truths that we present. Shall we not feel excused from making further efforts for them?” By no means. Even if they shut the door in your face, do not hasten away in indignation, and make no further effort to save them. Ask God in faith to give you access to those very souls. Cease not your efforts, but study and plan until you find some other means of reaching them. If you do not succeed by personal visits, try sending them the silent messenger of truth. There is so much pride of opinion in the human heart that our publications often gain admittance where the living messenger cannot.—Historical Sketches, 150. WM 94.3

How Christ Met the People—We shall gain much instruction for our work from a study of Christ's methods of labor and His manner of meeting the people. In the gospel story we have the record of how He worked for all classes, and of how as He labored in cities and towns thousands were drawn to His side to hear His teaching. The words of the Master were clear and distinct and were spoken in sympathy and tenderness. They carried with them the assurance that here was truth. It was the simplicity and earnestness with which Christ labored and spoke that drew so many to Him.—The Review and Herald, January 18, 1912. WM 95.1

Not Mechanical in Labor—All who engage in this personal labor should be just as careful not to become mechanical in their manner of working as should the minister who preaches the Word. They should be constantly learning.—Gospel Workers, 193. WM 95.2

Devise New Methods—I address Christians who live in our large cities: God has made you depositories of truth, not that you may retain it, but that you may impart it to others. You should visit from house to house as faithful stewards of the grace of Christ. As you work, devise, and plan, new methods will continually present themselves to your mind, and by use the powers of your intellect will be increased. A lukewarm, slack performance of duty is an injury to the soul for whom Christ has died. If we would find the pearls buried in the debris of the cities, we should go forth ready to do the work required by the Master.—The Review and Herald, June 11, 1895. WM 95.3

New Life and New Plans—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.—Manuscript 117, 1907. WM 96.1

In the Power of Persuasion, Prayer, and Love—The poor are to be relieved, the sick cared for, the sorrowing and the bereaved comforted, the ignorant instructed, the inexperienced counseled. We are to weep with those that weep and rejoice with those that rejoice. Accompanied by the power of persuasion, the power of prayer, the power of the love of God, this work will not, cannot, be without fruit.—The Ministry of Healing, 143, 144. WM 96.2