Colporteur Ministry


Chapter 15—Co-operating with Other Gospel Workers

Combine Work of Press and Preacher The press is a powerful instrumentality which God has ordained to be combined with the energies of the living preacher to bring the truth before all nations, kindreds, tongues, and peoples.—Life Sketches, 217 (1915). CM 100.1

Mission of the “Silent Messengers”—I have been instructed that even where the people hear the message from the living preacher, the canvasser should carry on his work in co-operation with the minister; for though the minister may faithfully present the message, the people are not able to retain it all. The printed page is therefore essential, not only in awakening them to the importance of the truth for this time, but in rooting and grounding them in the truth and establishing them against deceptive error. Papers and books are the Lord's means of keeping the message for this time continually before the people. In enlightening and confirming souls in the truth the publications will do a far greater work than can be accomplished by the ministry of the word alone. The silent messengers that are placed in the homes of the people through the work of the canvasser will strengthen the gospel ministry in every way; for the Holy Spirit will impress minds as they read the books, just as He impresses the minds of those who listen to the preaching of the word. The same ministry of angels attends the books that contain the truth as attends the work of the minister.—Testimonies for the Church 6:315, 316 (1900). CM 100.2

Co-operate With Gospel Minister—The work of co-operating with the gospel minister in carrying the present truth to all nations, tongues, and peoples, is indeed a most essential one. It should be conducted in a manner in keeping with the exalted truth which we profess to love. Through the canvassing work, the minds of many who are now absorbed in iniquity and error, may be enlightened. Through this agency a people may be prepared to stand in the great day of God which is just before us.—The Review and Herald, May 20, 1890. CM 101.1

Part of Medical Work and of Ministry—The preaching of the word is a means by which the Lord has ordained that His warning message shall be given to the world. In the Scriptures the faithful teacher is represented as a shepherd of the flock of God. He is to be respected and his work appreciated. Genuine medical missionary work is bound up with the ministry, and the canvassing work is to be a part both of the medical missionary work and of the ministry. To those who are engaged in this work I would say: As you visit the people, tell them that you are a gospel worker and that you love the Lord.—Testimonies for the Church 6:323 (1900). CM 101.2

The Colporteur and Bible Work.—Letters have been received by me, making inquiries in regard to the duties of the canvasser. Some have said that in visiting the people they have found favorable opportunities for presenting the truth for this time, and have almost been forced into giving Bible readings. These opportunities they could not conscientiously neglect. On the other hand, letters come saying that our canvassers are neglecting their work in order to give Bible readings upon doctrinal subjects, and that the prejudice aroused by these readings has made it difficult for the canvasser to deliver his books; and some are asking counsel in regard to these matters. CM 102.1

Not to Dwell Upon Doctrinal Subjects—We think that there is truth in both the statements,—that canvassers find favorable opportunities for leading the people to a better understanding of the Bible, and that, because of the way in which they meet these opportunities, prejudice is aroused, and the work hindered. When the canvasser enters upon his work, he should not allow himself to be diverted, but should intelligently keep to the point with all diligence. And yet while he is faithful in his canvassing, he should not neglect opportunities to help those who are seeking for light and who need the consolation of the Scriptures. If the canvasser walks with God, if he prays for heavenly wisdom that he may do good and only good in his labor, he will be quick to discern the needs of those with whom he comes in contact. He will make the most of his opportunities to draw souls to Christ, not dwelling upon doctrinal subjects, but upon the love of God, upon His mercy and goodness in the plan of salvation. In the spirit of Christ he will be ready to speak a word in season to him that is weary. CM 102.2

The great need of the soul is to know God and Jesus Christ, whom He has sent. The Bible abounds in practical lessons, which the canvasser may safely present. If he can by this means impart a knowledge of practical religion, he will be feeding the people, who need just such precious food.—Manual for Canvassers, 35, 36 (1902). CM 103.1

Be Bible Students—We have a grand work to do for the Master, to open the word of God to those who are in the darkness of error. Young friends, act as though you had a sacred charge. You should be Bible students, ever ready to give to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you. By your true Christian dignity give evidence that you know you have a truth that it is for the interest of the people to hear. If this truth is inwrought in the soul, it will manifest itself in the countenance and demeanor, in a calm, noble self-possession and peace which the Christian alone can possess.—Testimonies for the Church 5:401 (1885). CM 103.2

Hold Bible Readings—As the canvasser visits the people at their homes, he will often have opportunity to read to them from the Bible or from books that teach the truth. When he discovers those who are searching for truth he can hold Bible readings with them. These Bible readings are just what the people need. God will use in His service those who thus show a deep interest in perishing souls. Through them He will impart light to those who are ready to receive instruction.—Testimonies for the Church 6:324 (1900). CM 103.3