Colporteur Ministry


Chapter 4—Selection of Colporteur Evangelists

Those Who Feel Burden of Service—Since canvassing for our literature is a missionary work, it should be conducted from a missionary standpoint. Those selected as canvassers should be men and women who feel the burden of service, whose object is not to get gain, but to give light to the people. All our service is to be done to the glory of God, to give the light of truth to those who are in darkness. Selfish principles, love of gain, dignity, or position, should not be once named among us.—Testimonies for the Church 6:317 (1900). CM 26.1

Care in Selecting Workers—The canvassing work is more important than many have regarded it, and as much care and wisdom must be used in selecting the workers as in selecting men for the ministry. Young men can be trained to do much better work than has been done and on much less pay than many have received. Lift up the standard and let the self-denying and the self-sacrificing, the lovers of God and of humanity, join the army of workers. Let them come, not expecting ease, but to be brave and of good courage under rebuffs and hardships. Let those come who can give a good report of our publications because they themselves appreciate their value.—Testimonies for the Church 5:405, 406 (1885). CM 26.2

Our brethren should show discretion in selecting canvassers and colporteurs, unless they have made up their minds to have the truth misapprehended and misrepresented. They should give all real workers good wages; but the sum should not be increased to buy canvassers, for this course hurts them. It makes them selfish and spendthrifts. Seek to impress them with the spirit of true missionary work and with the qualifications necessary to ensure success. The love of Jesus in the soul will lead the canvasser to feel it a privilege to labor to diffuse light. He will study, plan, and pray over the matter.—Testimonies for the Church 5:403 (1885). CM 27.1

Some Better Adapted Than Others—Some are better adapted than others for doing a certain work; therefore it is not correct to think that everyone can be a canvasser. Some have no special adaptability for this work; but they are not, because of this, to be regarded as faithless or unwilling. The Lord is not unreasonable in His requirements. The church is as a garden in which is a variety of flowers, each with its own peculiarities. Though in many respects all may differ, yet each has a value of its own. CM 27.2

God does not expect that with their different temperaments His people will each be prepared for any and every place. Let all remember that there are varied trusts. It is not the work of any man to prescribe the work of any other man contrary to his own convictions of duty. It is right to give counsel and suggest plans; but every man should be left free to seek direction from God, whose he is and whom he serves.—Testimonies for the Church 6:333, 334 (1900). CM 27.3

Young men and young women who should be engaged in the ministry, in Bible work, and in the canvassing work should not be bound down to mechanical employment.—The Review and Herald, May 16, 1912. CM 28.1

Men of Good Address, Tact, and Foresight—Missionaries are wanted everywhere. In all parts of the field canvassers should be selected, not from the floating element in society, not from among men and women who are good for nothing else and have made a success of nothing, but from among those who have good address, tact, keen foresight, and ability. Such are needed to make a success as colporteurs, canvassers, and agents. Men suited to this work undertake it, but some injudicious minister will flatter them that their gift should be employed in the desk instead of simply in the work of the colporteur. Thus this work is belittled. They are influenced to get a license to preach; and the very ones who might have been trained to make good missionaries to visit families at their homes and talk and pray with them are caught up to make poor ministers; and the field where so much labor is needed, and where so much good might be accomplished for the cause, is neglected. The efficient colporteur, as well as the minister, should have a sufficient remuneration for his services if his work is faithfully done.—Testimonies for the Church 4:389, 390 (1880). CM 28.2

Those of the Best Talent—Everyone is not fitted for this work. Those of the best talent and ability, who will take hold of the work understandingly and systematically, and carry it forward with persevering energy, are the ones who should be selected. There should be a most thoroughly organized plan; and this should be faithfully carried out. Churches in every place should feel the deepest interest in the tract and missionary work.—Testimonies for the Church 4:390 (1880). CM 28.3

Religious Experience Needed—Let Christian youth be selected to circulate the books containing present truth. Youth who have no religious experience should not be accepted as canvassers for our books, because they cannot properly represent the precious truth to be presented. To send such youth into the canvassing field is unjust to them and to the Lord's work. This is a sacred work, and those who enter it should be able to bear witness for Christ.—The Review and Herald, October 7, 1902. CM 29.1

Canvassing is the best way in which to obtain experience. Be sure that these souls are soundly converted before encouraging them to labor in any line. Then let them work, and God will work with them.—Manuscript 126, 1899. CM 29.2

A Sacred Work—The canvassing work should be considered as sacred, and those who have unclean hands and defiled hearts should not be encouraged to enter upon it. The angels of God cannot accompany the unconsecrated to the homes of the people; therefore all those who are not converted, whose thoughts are corrupt, who will leave the taint of their imperfections upon everything they touch, should refrain from handling the truth of God.—The Review and Herald, May 20, 1890. CM 29.3