Arresting Public Attention

By Extraordinary Methods—In the cities of today, where there is so much to attract and please, the people can be interested by no ordinary efforts. Ministers of God's appointment will find it necessary to put forth extraordinary efforts in order to arrest the attention of the multitudes. And when they succeed in bringing together a large number of people, they must bear messages of a character so out of the usual order that the people will be aroused and warned. They must make use of every means that can possibly be devised for causing the truth to stand out clearly and distinctly.—Testimonies For The Church 9:109 (1909). Ev 122.3

Devise New and Unusual Plans—Let every worker in the Master's vineyard, study, plan, devise methods, to reach the people where they are. We must do something out of the common course of things. We must arrest the attention. We must be deadly in earnest. We are on the very verge of times of trouble and perplexities that are scarcely dreamed of.—Letter 20, 1893. Ev 122.4

Christ Used Various Methods—From Christ's methods of labor we may learn many valuable lessons. He did not follow merely one method; in various ways He sought to gain the attention of the multitude; and then He proclaimed to them the truths of the gospel.—The Review and Herald, January 17, 1907. Ev 123.1

Simple Sincerity Attracted Large Numbers—His messages of mercy were varied to suit His audience. He knew “how to speak a word in season to him that is weary”; for grace was poured upon His lips, that He might convey to men in the most attractive way the treasures of truth. He had tact to meet the prejudiced minds, and surprise them with illustrations that won their attention. Through the imagination He reached the heart. His illustrations were taken from the things of daily life, and although they were simple, they had in them a wonderful depth of meaning. The birds of the air, the lilies of the field, the seed, the shepherd and the sheep,—with these objects Christ illustrated immortal truth; and ever afterward, when His hearers chanced to see these things of nature, they recalled His words. Christ's illustrations constantly repeated His lessons. Ev 123.2

Christ never flattered men. He never spoke that which would exalt their fancies and imaginations, nor did He praise them for their clever inventions; but deep, unprejudiced thinkers received His teaching, and found that it tested their wisdom. They marveled at the spiritual truth expressed in the simplest language. The most highly educated were charmed with His words, and the uneducated were always profited. He had a message for the illiterate; and He made even the heathen to understand that He had a message for them. Ev 123.3

His tender compassion fell with a touch of healing upon weary and troubled hearts. Even amid the turbulence of angry enemies He was surrounded with an atmosphere of peace. The beauty of His countenance, the loveliness of His character, above all, the love expressed in look and tone, drew to Him all who were not hardened in unbelief. Had it not been for the sweet, sympathetic spirit that shone out in every look and word, He would not have attracted the large congregations that He did. The afflicted ones who came to Him, felt that He linked His interest with theirs as a faithful and tender friend, and they desired to know more of the truths He taught. Heaven was brought near. They longed to abide in His presence, that the comfort of His love might be with them continually.—The Desire of Ages, 254 (1898). Ev 124.1

Attracting and Holding Large Numbers—Those who will study the manner of Christ's teaching, and educate themselves to follow His way, will attract and hold large numbers now, as Christ held the people in His day.... When the truth in its practical character is urged upon the people because you love them, souls will be convicted, because the Holy Spirit of God will impress their hearts. Ev 124.2

Arm yourselves with humility; pray that angels of God may come close to your side to impress the mind; for it is not you that work the Holy Spirit, but the Holy Spirit must work you. It is the Holy Spirit that makes the truth impressive. Keep practical truth ever before the people.—Testimonies For The Church 6:57 (1900). Ev 124.3

Advantage of Surprise Approach in Some Places—Light was given me by the Lord that it was not the best plan to make a display of what we were going to do; for just as soon as our intentions were made known, our enemies would be roused to block the way. Ministers would be called into the field to resist the message of truth. Warnings from the pulpit would be given to the congregations, ... telling them the things that the Adventists designed to do. Ev 125.1

From the light given me by the Lord, I have a warning to present to our brethren. Do not wise generals keep their movements strictly secret, lest the enemy shall learn their plans, and work to counteract them? If the enemy has no knowledge of their movements, they have an advantage. Ev 125.2

We are to study the field carefully and are not to think that we must follow the same methods in every place. If we move wisely, without one tinge of boasting, without stopping to challenge the enemy, if we advance one line of truth after another, crowding in the most important and soul-testing [truths], the Lord will take care of the result.... Ev 125.3

Wait; pitch the tents when the time for camp meeting comes. Put them up rapidly, and then give notice of the meetings. Whatever may have been your former practice, it is not necessary to repeat it again and again in the same way. God would have new and untried methods followed. Break in upon the people—surprise them.—Manuscript 121, 1897. Ev 125.4

Tactful Methods, Not Deception—You need not feel that all the truth is to be spoken to unbelievers on any and every occasion. You should plan carefully what to say and what to leave unsaid. This is not practicing deception; it is to work as Paul worked. He says, “Being crafty, I caught you with guile.” You must vary your labor, and not have one way which you think must be followed at all times and in all places. Your ways may seem to you a success, but if you used more tact, more of the wisdom of the serpent, you would have seen much more real results of your work.—Letter 12, 1887. Ev 125.5

Poor Hall Advertises Defeat—I am convinced that we might have had a good hearing if our brethren had secured a suitable hall to accommodate the people. But they did not expect much, and therefore did not receive much. We cannot expect people to come out to hear unpopular truth when the meetings are advertised to be held in a basement, or in a small hall that will seat only a hundred persons.... By their lack of faith our laborers sometimes make the work very hard for themselves.—Historical Sketches, p. 200. (1886). Ev 126.1

In God's Own Way—It is not by outward display that men and women are to learn what is comprehended by present truth. Our workers are to practice strict economy. God forbids all extravagance. Every dollar at our command is to be expended with economy. No great display is to be made. God's money is to be used to carry forward in His own way the work that He has declared must be done in our world.—Letter 107, 1905. Ev 126.2

Display Is Poor Advertising—The large cities are to be warned, but, my brother, not all the methods that you follow in this work are right. You think that you are at liberty to spend all the money that you please to gain the attention of the people. But remember that in the Lord's vineyard there are many, many places to be worked, and that every dollar is needed. Ev 126.3

God is not pleased by your large outlay of means to advertise your meetings, and by the display made in other features of your work. The display is out of harmony with the principles of the Word of God. He is dishonored by your expensive preparations. At times you do that which is represented to me as the shredding of wild gourds into the pot. This display makes the truth taste too strongly of the dish. Man is exalted. The truth is not advanced, but hindered. Sensible men and women can see that the theatrical performances are not in harmony with the solemn message that you bear.—Letter 190, 1902. Ev 127.1

Disappointing Results From Expensive Methods—Cut down the expense of advertising your meetings, and if a large amount of money is given in the collections made at the meeting, use this money to carry on your efforts in new places. Ev 127.2

Do not hire worldly musicians if this can possibly be avoided. Gather together singers who will sing with the spirit and with the understanding also. The extra display which you sometimes make entails unnecessary expense, which the brethren should not be asked to meet; and you will find that after a time unbelievers will not be willing to give money to meet these expenses.... Ev 127.3

I beg of you not to continue to follow such expensive methods of labor. I must tell you that the Lord does not endorse these methods. And they do not accomplish what you suppose they do.—Letter 51, 1902. Ev 127.4

Must Depend on God—There is far more being done by the universe of Heaven than we have any idea of, in preparing the way so that souls shall be converted. We want to work in harmony with the messengers of Heaven. We want more of God; we do not want to feel that it is our talking and our sermonizing that is to do the work; we want to feel that unless the people are reached through God, they never will be reached.—Manuscript 19b, 1890. Ev 127.5

Study Method of Approach—The work of winning souls to Christ demands careful preparation. Man cannot enter the Lord's service without the needed training, and expect the highest success.... The architect will tell you how long it took him to understand how to plan a tasteful, commodious building. And so it is in all the callings that men follow. Should the servants of Christ show less diligence in preparing for work infinitely more important? Should they be ignorant of the ways and means to be employed in winning souls? It requires a knowledge of human nature, close study, careful thought, and earnest prayer, to know how to approach men and women on the great subjects that concern their eternal welfare.—Gospel Workers, 92 (1915). Ev 128.1