The Publishing Ministry


Section 5—Successful Field Publishing Leadership


With the beginning of the subscription book sales program among Seventh-day Adventists in the 1870's, the need arose for capable canvassing agents to recruit colporteurs and train them for service. The pioneer in this important endeavor was George Albert King, our first literature evangelist. He had initiated the idea and demonstrated that Seventh-day Adventist books could be sold successfully from house to house. In 1882 he sallied forth with fifty new and attractive copies of Uriah Smith's Thoughts on Daniel and the Revelation and sold every one of them. PM 253.1

Church leaders were impressed by his success, and the die was cast. An enthusiasm for book sales to non-Seventh-day Adventists arose from King's faithful work in this field, and the fire kindled by his effort more than a century ago has never gone out. Indeed, today Seventh-day Adventist subscription book sales represent a bright flame, the light and warmth of which can be seen and felt around the world. More than fifty Seventh-day Adventist publishing houses now print more than $100 million worth of books and magazines every year, a considerable proportion of which is sold by nearly 20,000 literature evangelists. PM 253.2

This enormous sales program and soul-winning work is made possible mostly because of the well-organized sales program of the General Conference Publishing Department, working closely with church administration. Today hundreds of capable men and women acting as publishing secretaries and associates lead literature evangelists in their field work—teaching them in actual door-to-door sales contacts and providing helpful instruction in institutes for the study of successful literature evangelism. PM 253.3

In the development of this large denominational sales program Ellen White's counsels played a major role. Through her repeated written and oral testimonies she called for recruits from among the best men and women and youth of the church, intelligent, God-fearing, truth-loving, but not from among the floating element who had never succeeded in doing anything else. Often men and women of pleasing address and newly converted to God can be enlisted for service in the army of literature evangelists. PM 253.4

The spirit of prophecy counsels exalted the work of the literature evangelist to a place in the denomination equal to that of the gospel minister. Hundreds of pages of counsel poured forth from her pen, providing important sales instruction and inspiration, not alone for the colporteur but for the publishing leaders as well. (See Colporteur Ministry.) PM 254.1

This section of the present work offers to the publishing leaders of the denomination valuable and timely directions for the conduct of their important responsibilities in recruiting, training, and leadership. PM 254.2

Trustees, Ellen G. White Estate.