Colporteur Ministry

Chapter 5—Our Students and Colporteur Evangelism

A Divine Plan for Our Students—The Lord has instituted a plan whereby many of the students in our schools can learn practical lessons needful to success in afterlife. He has given us the privilege of handling precious books that have been dedicated to the advancement of our educational and sanitarium work. In the very handling of these books, the youth will meet with many experiences that will teach them how to cope with problems that await them in the regions beyond. During their school life, as they handle these books, many learn how to approach people courteously, and how to exercise tact in conversing with them on different points of present truth. As they meet with a degree of success financially, some will learn lessons of thrift and economy, which will be of great advantage to them when they are sent out as missionaries.—The Review and Herald, June 4, 1908. CM 30.1

Schools to Prepare Colporteur Evangelists—Our schools have been established by the Lord; and if they are conducted in harmony with His purpose, the youth sent to them will quickly be prepared to engage in various branches of missionary work. Some will be trained to enter the field as missionary nurses, some as canvassers, some as evangelists, some as teachers, and some as gospel ministers.—The Review and Herald, October 15, 1903. CM 30.2

Opportunity for Student Colporteurs—When school closes, there will be opportunity for many to go out into the field as evangelistic canvassers. The faithful colporteur finds his way into many homes, where he leaves precious reading matter containing the truth for this time.—The Review and Herald, August 27, 1903. CM 31.1

Learn in the School of Christ—As students, you are ever to be learning in the school of Christ; you are to bring your entrusted capital of physical and mental energy into your work. God will not accept of a divided heart. There are men and women who should be educating themselves for canvassers, and for Bible readers [Bible instructors]. They should put away every unholy thought and corrupting practice, that they may be sanctified through the truth. They should be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. Nothing less than the power of God will make and keep you right. You are to offer to God nothing less than your best. You should do better and better work as you put in practice what you learn.—The Review and Herald, May 20, 1890. CM 31.2

A Means of Education—I have had special light in regard to the canvassing work, and the impression and burden does not leave me. This work is a means of education. It is an excellent school for those who are qualifying themselves to enter the ministry. Those who take up this work as they should place themselves where they learn of Christ and follow His example. Angels are commissioned to go forth with those who take up this work in true humility.—Manuscript 26, 1901. CM 31.3

The very best education young men can obtain is by entering the canvassing field and working from house to house. In this work they will find opportunity to speak the words of life. Thus they will sow the seeds of truth. Let young men show that they have resting on them a burden from the Lord. The only way for them to prove that they can stand firm in God, having on the whole armor, is by doing faithfully the work God has given them to do.—Manuscript 75, 1900. CM 32.1

True “Higher Education”—We must not discourage our brethren, weakening their hands so that the work which God desires to accomplish through them shall not be done. Let not too much time be occupied in fitting up men to do missionary work. Instruction is necessary, but let all remember that Christ is the Great Teacher and the Source of all true wisdom. Let young and old consecrate themselves to God, take up the work, and go forward, laboring in humility under the control of the Holy Spirit. Let those who have been in school go out into the field and put to a practical use the knowledge they have gained. If canvassers will do this, using the ability which God has given them, seeking counsel from Him, and combining the work of selling books with personal labor for the people, their talents will increase by exercise, and they will learn many practical lessons which they could not possibly learn in school. The education obtained in this practical way may properly be termed higher education.—Testimonies for the Church 6:330, 331 (1900). CM 32.2

An Invaluable Experience—All who desire an opportunity for true ministry, and who will give themselves unreservedly to God, will find in the canvassing work opportunities to speak upon many things pertaining to the future, immortal life. The experience thus gained will be of the greatest value to those who are fitting themselves for the ministry. It is the accompaniment of the Holy Spirit of God that prepares workers, both men and women, to become pastors to the flock of God. As they cherish the thought that Christ is their Companion, a holy awe, a sacred joy, will be felt by them amid all their trying experiences and all their tests. They will learn how to pray as they work. They will be educated in patience, kindness, affability, and helpfulness. They will practice true Christian courtesy, bearing in mind that Christ, their Companion, cannot approve of harsh, unkind words or feelings. Their words will be purified. The power of speech will be regarded as a precious talent, lent them to do a high and holy work. The human agent will learn how to represent the divine Companion with whom he is associated. To that unseen Holy One he will show respect and reverence because he is wearing His yoke and is learning His pure, holy ways. Those who have faith in this divine Attendant will develop. They will be gifted with power to clothe the message of truth with a sacred beauty.—Testimonies for the Church 6:322 (1900). CM 33.1

A Preparation for the Ministry—Some men whom God was calling to the work of the ministry have entered the field as canvassers. I have been instructed that this is an excellent preparation if their object is to disseminate light, to bring the truths of God's word directly to the home circle. In conversation the way will often be opened for them to speak of the religion of the Bible. If the work is entered upon as it should be, families will be visited, the workers will manifest Christian tenderness and love for souls, and great good will be the result. This will be an excellent experience for any who have the ministry in view. CM 34.1

Those who are fitting for the ministry can engage in no other occupation that will give them so large an experience as will the canvassing work.—Testimonies for the Church 6:334 (1900). CM 34.2

There are more difficulties in this work than in some other branches of business; but the lessons learned, the tact and discipline acquired, will fit you for other fields of usefulness, where you can minister to souls. Those who poorly learn their lesson, and are careless and abrupt in approaching persons, would show the same want of tact and skill in dealing with minds, should they enter the ministry.... CM 34.3

In evangelistic canvassing, young men may become better prepared for ministerial labor than by spending many years in school.—Manual for Canvassers, 41, 42 (1902). CM 34.4

The Essential Knowledge—To those who are attending school that they may learn how to do the work of God more perfectly, I would say: Remember that it is only by a daily consecration to God that you can become soul winners. There have been those who were unable to go to school because they were too poor to pay their way. But when they became sons and daughters of God they took hold of their work where they were, laboring for those around them. Though destitute of the knowledge obtained in school, they consecrated themselves to God, and God worked through them. Like the disciples when called from their nets to follow Christ, they learned precious lessons from the Saviour. They linked themselves with the Great Teacher, and knowledge they gained from the Scriptures qualified them to speak to others of Christ. Thus they became truly wise, because they were not too wise in their own estimation to receive instruction from above. The renewing power of the Holy Spirit gave them practical, saving energy. CM 34.5

The knowledge of the most learned man, if he has not learned in Christ's school, is foolishness so far as leading souls to Christ is concerned. God can work with those only who will accept the invitation: “Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30.—Testimonies for the Church 6:318 (1900). CM 35.1