Gospel Workers (1915 ed.)


Defective Methods

There are many men of good minds, intelligent in regard to the Scriptures, whose usefulness is greatly hindered by their defective method of labor. Some who engage in the work of saving souls, fail to secure the best results because they do not carry out with thoroughness the work that they began with much enthusiasm. Others cling tenaciously to preconceived notions, making these prominent, and thereby fail to conform their teaching to the actual needs of the people. Many do not realize the necessity of adapting themselves to circumstances, and meeting the people where they are. They do not identify themselves with those whom they wish to help to reach the Bible standard of Christianity. Some fail of success because they trust to the strength of argument alone, and do not cry earnestly to God for His wisdom to direct them and His grace to sanctify their efforts. GW 381.1

Ministers should be careful not to expect too much from those who are still groping in the darkness of error. They should do their work well, relying upon God to impart to inquiring minds the mysterious, quickening influence of His Holy Spirit, knowing that without this their labors will be unsuccessful. They should be patient and wise in dealing with minds, remembering how manifold are the circumstances that have developed such different traits in individuals. They should strictly guard themselves also, lest self get the supremacy, and Jesus be left out of the question. GW 381.2

Some ministers fail of success because they do not give their undivided interest to the work, when very much depends upon persistent, well-directed labor. They are not true laborers; they do not pursue their work outside of the pulpit. They shirk the duty of going from house to house and laboring wisely in the home circle. They need to cultivate that rare Christian courtesy which would render them kind and considerate toward the souls under their care, working for them with true earnestness and faith, teaching them the way of life. GW 382.1


There are in the ministry men who gain apparent success by swaying minds through human influence. They play upon the feelings at will, making their hearers weep, and in a few minutes laugh. Under labor of this kind, many are moved by impulse to profess Christ, and there is thought to be a wonderful revival; but when the test comes, the work does not endure. Feelings are stirred, and many are borne along by the tide that seems to be setting heavenward; but in the strong current of temptation they quickly float back as driftwood. The laborer is self-deceived, and he misleads his hearers. GW 382.2


Ministers should be guarded, lest they thwart the purposes of God by plans of their own. Many are in danger of narrowing down the work of God, and confining their labor to certain localities, and not cultivating a special interest for the cause in all its various departments. GW 382.3

There are some who concentrate their minds upon one subject, to the exclusion of others which may be of equal importance. They are one-idea men. All the strength of their being is concentrated upon the subject on which the mind is exercised for the time. This one favorite theme is the burden of their thoughts and conversation. Every other consideration is lost sight of. All the evidence that has a bearing upon that subject is eagerly appropriated, and dwelt upon at so great length that minds are wearied in following them. GW 383.1


Some ministers make the mistake of supposing that success depends on drawing a large congregation by outward display, and then delivering the message of truth in a theatrical style. But this is using common fire instead of the sacred fire of God's kindling. The Lord is not glorified by this manner of working. Not by startling notices and expensive display is His work to be carried to completion, but by following Christlike methods. “Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.” [Zechariah 4:6.] It is the naked truth which, like a sharp, two-edged sword, cuts both ways, arousing to spiritual life those who are dead in trespasses and sins. Men will recognize the gospel when it is brought to them in a way that is in harmony with God's purposes. GW 383.2