Platform Decorum, Announcements, and Preliminaries

Dignity of the Messenger—Decorum is necessary in the desk. A minister of the gospel should not be regardless of his attitude. If he is the representative of Christ, his deportment, his attitude, his gestures, should be of such a character as will not strike the beholder with disgust. Ministers should possess refinement. They should discard all uncouth manners, attitudes, and gestures, and should encourage in themselves humble dignity of bearing. They should be clothed in a manner befitting the dignity of their position. Their speech should be in every respect solemn and well chosen.—Testimonies For The Church 1:648, 649 (1868). Ev 145.1

Platform Conduct—But things that are wrong often transpire in the sacred desk. One minister conversing with another in the desk before the congregation, laughing and appearing to have no burden of the work, or lacking a solemn sense of their sacred calling, dishonors the truth, and brings the sacred down upon the low level of common things.—Testimonies For The Church 2:612, 613 (1871). Ev 145.2

An Offense to God—Sometimes the assemblies of God's people have been treated with a commonness which has been an offense to God and has robbed the sacred work of its holiness and purity.—Letter 155, 1900. Ev 145.3

Waste No Time With Apologies—Many speakers waste their time and strength in long preliminaries and excuses. Some use nearly half an hour in making apologies; thus time is wasted, and when they reach their subject and try to fasten the points of truth in the minds of their hearers, the people are wearied out and cannot see their force. Ev 145.4

Instead of apologizing because he is about to address the people, the minister should begin as if he knew that he was bearing a message from God.—Gospel Workers, 168 (1915). Ev 146.1

The Public Prayer—The prayers offered in public should be short and to the point. God does not require us to make the season of worship tedious by lengthy petitions....A few minutes is long enough for any ordinary public petition.—Gospel Workers, 175 (1915). Ev 146.2

Pray With Heartfelt Simplicity—We need not make long public prayers. With heartfelt simplicity we should state our needs to the Lord, and claim His promises with such faith and confidence that the congregation will know that we have learned to prevail with God in prayer. They will be encouraged to believe that the Lord's presence is in the meeting, and they will open their hearts to receive His rich blessing. Their faith in your sincerity will be increased, and they will be ready to listen with willing ears to the instruction given by the speaker.—Manuscript 127, 1902. Ev 146.3

Hurried, Rushed Movements—The Lord gave you your work, not to be done in a rush, but in a calm, considerate manner. The Lord never compels hurried, complicated movements.—Testimonies For The Church 8:189 (1904). Ev 146.4

Avoiding the Grotesque—We cannot be shepherds of the flock unless we are divested of our own peculiar habits, manners, and customs, and come into Christ's likeness. When we eat His flesh and drink His blood, then the element of eternal life will be found in the ministry. There will not be a fund of stale, oft-repeated ideas. There will be a new perception of truth. Ev 146.5

Some who stand in the pulpit make the heavenly messengers in the audience ashamed of them. The precious gospel, which it has cost so much to bring to the world, is abused. There is common, cheap talk; grotesque attitudes and workings of the features. There is, with some, rapid talking, with others a thick, indistinct utterance. Everyone who ministers before the people should feel it a solemn duty to take himself in hand. He should first give himself to the Lord in complete self-renunciation, determined that he will have none of self, but all of Jesus.—Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 339 (1896). Ev 147.1

Discard Uncomely Gestures and Uncouth Speech—The workman for God should make earnest efforts to become a representative of Christ, discarding all uncomely gestures and uncouth speech. He should endeavor to use correct language. There is a large class who are careless in the way they speak; yet by careful, painstaking attention, these may become representatives of the truth. Every day they should make advancement. They should not detract from their usefulness and influence by cherishing defects of manner, tone, or language.—Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 238 (1913). Ev 147.2

Evangelist's Personality—The position of our ministers calls for health of body and discipline of mind. Good sound sense, strong nerves, and a cheerful temper will recommend the gospel minister anywhere. These should be sought for, and perseveringly cultivated.—Testimonies For The Church 3:466 (1875). Ev 147.3