Interest-Holding Features

Truth Should Charm—Let not your efforts be to follow the world's way but to follow God's way. Outward display will not do the work the Lord desires to have done to arouse the higher classes to a conviction that they have heard the truth. Do not divest the truth of its dignity and impressiveness by preliminaries that are more after the order of the world than after the order of heaven. Let your hearers understand that you do not hold Sunday evening meetings to charm their senses with music and other things, but to preach the truth in all its solemnity, that it may come to them as a warning, arousing them from their deathlike sleep of self-indulgence. It is the naked truth that, like a sharp, two-edged sword, cuts both ways.... Ev 148.1

Those who in their work for God depend on worldly plans for gaining success will make a failure. The Lord calls for a change in your manner of labor. He desires you to practice the lessons taught in the life of Christ. Then the mold of Christ will be seen on all the meetings that you hold.—Letter 48, 1902. Ev 148.2

Creative Teaching—The Prince of teachers sought access to the people by the pathway of their most familiar associations. He presented the truth in such a way that ever after it was to His hearers intertwined with their most hallowed recollections and sympathies. He taught in a way that made them feel the completeness of His identification with their interests and happiness. His instruction was so simple, His illustrations so appropriate, His words so sympathetic and so cheerful, that His hearers were charmed. Ev 148.3

Christ drew many of his illustrations and lessons from the great treasure house of nature. He plucked a lily and pointed His hearers to its simplicity and marvelous beauty. He pointed to the grass of the field, saying, “If God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall He not much more clothe you?” He desires us to see that the things of nature are an expression of the love of God, and that, though marred by sin, they still speak to us of the Eden home in which Adam and Eve were placed. He desires us to be reminded by them of the time when this home shall be restored, and the earth shall be filled with the praise of the Lord.—Letter 213, 1902. Ev 148.4

He Held Their Interest—The people listened to the words of mercy flowing so freely from the lips of the Son of God. They heard the gracious words, so simple and so plain that they were as the balm of Gilead to their souls. The healing of His divine hand brought gladness and life to the dying, and ease and health to those suffering with disease. The day seemed to them like heaven upon earth, and they were utterly unconscious of how long it had been since they had eaten anything.... Ev 149.1

He who taught the people the way to secure peace and happiness was just as thoughtful of their temporal necessities as of their spiritual need. The people were weary and faint. There were mothers with babes in their arms, and little children clinging to their skirts. Many had been standing for hours. They had been so intensely interested in Christ's words that they had not once thought of sitting down, and the crowd was so great that there was danger of their trampling on one another. Jesus would give them a chance to rest, and He bade them sit down. There was much grass in the place, and all could rest in comfort.—The Desire of Ages, 365, 366 (1898). Ev 149.2

An Effective Interest-holding Program—There was given me another sight. Tents were taken to different places during camp meeting season. Camp meetings were held in different locations. These were conducted by able, God-fearing men, having suitable helpers. There were children's meetings and revival meetings and an earnest effort to bring the people to a decision. A Paul may plant, an Apollos water, but God giveth the increase.... Ev 150.1

Let the talent of singing be brought into the work. The use of musical instruments is not at all objectionable. These were used in religious services in ancient times. The worshipers praised God upon the harp and cymbal, and music should have its place in our services. It will add to the interest. Ev 150.2

But hold the attention of the people by presenting before them the truth as it is in Jesus. Keep before them the cross of Calvary. What called for the death of Christ? The transgression of the law. Christ died to give men an opportunity to become loyal subjects of His kingdom. Ev 150.3

Let there be short discourses, short and fervent prayers. Educate, educate in regard to thorough, whole-souled service. Thorough consecration, much prayer, an intense earnestness, will make an impression; for angels of God will be present to move upon the hearts of the people.—Letter 132, 1898. Ev 150.4

Variety of Evangelistic Attractions—At these meetings are gathered high and low, rich and poor, sinners of all degrees, and all hear the message of mercy given by the Lord's delegated servants. There is a variety of Bible subjects presented, and a variety of exercises during the meeting. Ev 150.5

Old and young are called, and the Lord impresses the hearts of the hearers. By this means the call to the supper, as presented in the parable, is given to all. Some who, according to their own confession, have not entered a church for twelve, fourteen, and even sixteen years, are convicted and converted. Church members are deeply stirred, and listen with astonishment to the sermons and Bible readings explaining the Scriptures; and in the social meetings there is found something appropriate for every case.—Manuscript 7, 1900. Ev 150.6

Great Themes—Up-to-Date Message—Those who stand before the people as teachers of truth are to grapple with great themes. They are not to occupy precious time in talking of trivial subjects. Let them study the Word, and preach the Word. Let the Word be in their hands as a sharp, two-edged sword. Let it testify to past truths and show what is to be in the future. Ev 151.1

Christ came from heaven to give to John the great, wonderful truths that are to shape our lives and that by us are to be proclaimed to the world. We are to keep abreast of the times, bearing a clear, intelligent testimony, guided by the unction of the Holy Spirit.—The Review and Herald, April 19, 1906. Ev 151.2