Appeal and Suggestions to Conference Officers

Appeal and Suggestions to Conference Officers

Selections from “Gospel Workers”

“There are but few preachers among us. And because the cause of God seemed to need help so much, some have been led to think that almost any one claiming to be a minister would be acceptable. Some have thought that because persons could pray and exhort with a degree of freedom in meeting, they were qualified to go forth as laborers. And before they were proved, or could show any good fruit of their labors, men whom God has not sent have been encouraged and flattered by some brethren lacking experience. But their work shows the character of the workman. They scatter and confuse, but do not gather in and build up. A few may receive the truth as the fruit of their labors; but these generally rise no higher than those from whom they learned the truth. The same lack which marked their own course is seen in their converts. PH002 13.1

“The success of this cause does not depend upon our having a large number of ministers; but it is of the highest importance that those who do labor in connection with the cause of God should be men who really feel the burden and sacredness of the work to which he has called them. A few self-sacrificing, godly men, small in their own estimation, can do a greater amount of good than a much larger number, if a part of these are unqualified for the work, yet self-confident and boastful of their own talents.”—Gospel Workers, 141. PH002 13.2

“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. Many are not 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.”—Gospel Workers, 72. PH002 13.3

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“The duties of a pastor are often shamefully neglected because the minister lacks strength to sacrifice his personal inclinations for seclusion and study. The pastor should visit from house to house among his flock, teaching, conversing, and praying with each family, and looking out for the welfare of their souls. Those who have manifested a desire to become acquainted with the principles of our faith should not be neglected, but thoroughly instructed in the truth. No opportunity to do good should be lost by the watchful and zealous minister of God. PH002 14.1

“Certain ministers who have been invited to houses by the heads of families, have spent the few hours of their visit in secluding themselves in an unoccupied room to indulge their inclination for reading and writing. PH002 14.2

The family that entertained them derived no benefit from their visit. The ministers accepted the hospitality extended them without giving an equivalent in the labor that was so much needed. PH002 14.3

“People are easily reached through the avenues of the social circle. But many ministers dread the task of visiting; they have not cultivated social qualities, have not acquired that genial spirit that wins its way to the hearts of the people. It is highly important that a pastor should mingle much with his people, that he may become acquainted with the different phases of human nature, readily understand the workings of the mind, adapt his teachings to the intellect of his people, and learn that grand charity, possessed only by those who closely study the nature and needs of man. PH002 14.4

“Those who seclude themselves from the people are in no condition to help them. A skillful physician must understand the nature of various diseases, and must have a thorough knowledge of the human structure. He must be prompt in attending to the patients. He knows that delays are dangerous. When his experienced hand is laid upon the pulse of the sufferer, and he carefully notes the peculiar indication of the malady, his previous knowledge enables him to determine concerning the nature of the disease and the treatment necessary to arrest its progress. As the physician deals with physical disease, so does the pastor minister to the sin-sick soul. And his work is as much more important than that of the former, as eternal life is more valuable than temporal existence. The pastor meets with an endless variety of temperaments; and it is his duty to become acquainted with the members of families that listen to his teachings, in order to determine what means will best influence them in the right direction.”Gospel Workers, 76. PH002 15.1

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“Those who have been most successful in winning souls, were men and women who did not pride themselves in their ability, but who went in humility and faith, and the power of God worked with their efforts in convicting and converting the hearts of those to whom they appealed. Jesus did this very work. He came close to those whom he desired to benefit. How often, with a few gathered about him, he began the precious lessons, and one by one the passers-by paused to listen, until a great multitude heard with wonder and awe the words of God through the heaven-sent Teacher. He did not wait for congregations to assemble. The grandest truths were spoken to single individuals. The woman at the well in Samaria heard the wonderful words, ‘Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. ’”—Gospel Workers, 337. PH002 15.2

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“While in the midst of a religious interest, some neglect the most important part of the work. They fail to visit and become acquainted with those who have shown an interest to present themselves night after night to listen to the explanation of the Scriptures. Conversation upon religious subjects, and earnest prayer with such at the right time, might balance many souls in the right direction. Ministers who neglect their duty in this respect are not true shepherds of the flock. At the very time when they should be the most active in visiting, conversing, and praying with these interested ones, some are employed in writing unnecessarily long letters to persons at a distance. O, what are we doing for the Master! When probation shall end, how many will see the opportunities they have neglected to render service to their dear Lord who died for them. And even those who were accounted most faithful will see much more that they might have done, had not their minds been diverted by worldly surroundings.”—Gospel Workers, 38. PH002 16.1