The Publishing Ministry


Chapter 24—Teaching Literature Evangelism

The Ability to Teach Literature Evangelism—The Lord has given you a special and important gift in your experience as a canvasser and your ability to teach others how to engage successfully in this work. You are not to become discouraged when you find that many do not see in all points as you do and that there is a diversity of plans. The Lord has not given you the responsibility of governing the work, but He has given you wisdom as a teacher, and He will help you to help others to learn how to carry the canvassing work forward to success.... PM 265.1

He will help you to make a success of the canvassing work. That which the Lord has fitted you to do in the education of canvassers is a much-needed work.... PM 265.2

Place yourself, if possible, where you will have little cause to worry over the work of others. As a teacher of canvassers you have talents that will make you very useful in the cause of God. But you are not to stand as a dictator.—Letter 92, 1903. PM 265.3

Individual Attention Essential to Success—In all true teaching the personal element is essential. Christ in His teaching dealt with men individually. It was by personal contact and association that He trained the Twelve. It was in private, often to but one listener, that He gave His most precious instruction. To the honored rabbi at the night conference on the Mount of Olives, to the despised woman at the well of Sychar, He opened His richest treasures; for in these hearers He discerned the impressible heart, the open mind, the receptive spirit. Even the crowd that so often thronged His steps was not to Christ an indiscriminate mass of human beings. He spoke directly to every mind and appealed to every heart. He watched the faces of His hearers, marked the lighting up of the countenance, the quick, responsive glance, which told that truth had reached the soul; and there vibrated in His heart the answering chord of sympathetic joy. PM 265.4

Christ discerned the possibilities in every human being. He was not turned aside by an unpromising exterior or by unfavorable surroundings. He called Matthew from the toll booth, and Peter and his brethren from the fishing boat, to learn of Him.—Education, 231, 232. PM 266.1

Force and Enthusiasm Required—An important element in educational work is enthusiasm. On this point there is a useful suggestion in a remark once made by a celebrated actor. The archbishop of Canterbury had put to him the question why actors in a play affect their audiences so powerfully by speaking of things imaginary, while ministers of the gospel often affect theirs so little by speaking of things real. “With due submission to your grace,” replied the actor, “permit me to say that the reason is plain: It lies in the power of enthusiasm. We on the stage speak of things imaginary as if they were real, and you in the pulpit speak of things real as if they were imaginary.” PM 266.2

The teacher in his work is dealing with things real, and he should speak of them with all the force and enthusiasm which a knowledge of their reality and importance can inspire.—Education, 233. PM 266.3

The Power of Jesus’ Example—What He taught, He lived. “I have given you an example,” He said to His disciples, “that ye should do as I have done.” “I have kept my Father's commandments.” John 13:15; 15:10. Thus in His life, Christ's words had perfect illustration and support. And more than this; what He taught, He was. His words were the expression, not only of His own life experience, but of His own character. Not only did He teach the truth, but He was the truth. It was this that gave His teaching power. PM 266.4

Christ was a faithful reprover. Never lived there another who so hated evil; never another whose denunciation of it was so fearless. To all things untrue and base His very presence was a rebuke. In the light of His purity, men saw themselves unclean, their life's aims mean and false. Yet He drew them. He who had created man understood the value of humanity. Evil He denounced as the foe of those whom He was seeking to bless and to save. In every human being, however fallen, He beheld a son of God, one who might be restored to the privilege of his divine relationship.—Education, 78, 79. PM 267.1

Jesus Discerned Man's Infinite Possibilities—“God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” John 3:17. Looking upon men in their suffering and degradation, Christ perceived ground for hope where appeared only despair and ruin. Wherever there existed a sense of need, there He saw opportunity for uplifting. Souls tempted, defeated, feeling themselves lost, ready to perish, He met, not with denunciation, but with blessing.... PM 267.2

In every human being he discerned infinite possibilities. He saw men as they might be, transfigured by His grace—in “the beauty of the Lord our God.” Psalm 90:17. Looking upon them with hope, He inspired hope. Meeting them with confidence, he inspired trust. Revealing in Himself man's true ideal, He awakened, for its attainment, both desire and faith. In His presence souls despised and fallen realized that they still were men, and they longed to prove themselves worthy of His regard. In many a heart that seemed dead to all things holy, were awakened new impulses. To many a despairing one there opened the possibility of a new life. PM 267.3

Christ bound men to His heart by the ties of love and devotion; and by the same ties He bound them to their fellow men. With Him love was life, and life was service. “Freely ye have received,” He said, “freely give.” Matthew 10:8.—Education, 79, 80. PM 267.4

Instruction by Personal Association—The most complete illustration of Christ's methods as a teacher is found in His training of the twelve first disciples. Upon these men were to rest weighty responsibilities. He had chosen them as men whom He could imbue with His Spirit, and who could be fitted to carry forward His work on earth when He should leave it. To them, above all others, He gave the advantage of His own companionship. Through personal association He impressed Himself upon these chosen colaborers. “The Life was manifested,” says John the beloved, “and we have seen it, and bear witness.” 1 John 1:2. PM 268.1

Only by such communion—the communion of mind with mind and heart with heart, of the human with the divine—can be communicated that vitalizing energy which it is the work of true education to impart. It is only life that begets life. PM 268.2

In the training of His disciples the Saviour followed the system of education established at the beginning. The Twelve first chosen, with a few others who through ministry to their needs were from time to time connected with them, formed the family of Jesus. They were with Him in the house, at the table, in the closet, in the field. They accompanied Him on His journeys, shared His trials and hardships, and, as much as in them was, entered into His work. PM 268.3

Sometimes He taught them as they sat together on the mountainside, sometimes beside the sea, or from the fisherman's boat, sometimes as they walked by the way.—Education, 84, 85. PM 268.4

Jesus’ Voice Was Melodious and Impressive—The teachings of Christ were impressive and solemn; His voice was melodious. And should not we, as well as Christ, study to have melody in our voices?—Testimonies for the Church 2:617. PM 268.5

Jesus met the people on their own ground, as one who was acquainted with their perplexities. He made truth beautiful by presenting it in the most direct and simple way. His language was pure, refined, and clear as a running stream. His voice was as music to those who had listened to the monotonous tones of the rabbis. But while His teaching was simple, He spoke as one having authority.—The Desire of Ages, 253. PM 268.6

Let the voice express sympathy and tenderness. Christ's voice was full of pathos.—Welfare Ministry, 94. PM 269.1

But if the voice is toned right, if it has solemnity, and is so modulated as to be even pathetic, [The words Pathos and Pathetic have the same etymological root (see Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary).] it will produce a much better impression. This was the tone in which Christ taught His disciples. He impressed them with solemnity; He spoke in a pathetic manner.—Testimonies for the Church 2:615. PM 269.2

Had he raised His voice to an unnatural key ... the pathos and melody of the human voice would have been lost, and much of the force of the truth destroyed.—Evangelism, 56. PM 269.3

Then Christ was presented before me, and His manner of talking; and there was a sweet melody in His voice. His voice, in a slow, calm manner, reached those who listened, and His words penetrated their hearts, and they were able to catch on to what He said before the next sentence was spoken.—Evangelism, 670. PM 269.4

He Used the Parable Method of Teaching—In parables and comparisons He found the best method of communicating divine truth. In simple language using figures and illustrations drawn from the natural world, He opened spiritual truth to His hearers.—Fundamentals of Christian Education, 236. PM 269.5

Jesus’ Teaching Transformed the Disciples—By the work of Christ these disciples had been led to feel their need of the Spirit; under the Spirit's teaching they received their final preparation and went forth to their lifework. PM 269.6

No longer were they ignorant and uncultured. No longer were they a collection of independent units or of discordant and conflicting elements. No longer were their hopes set on worldly greatness. They were of “one accord,” of one mind and one soul. Christ filled their thoughts. The advancement of His kingdom was their aim. In mind and character they had become like their Master; and men “took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.” Acts 4:13. PM 269.7

Then was there such a revelation of the glory of Christ as had never before been witnessed by mortal man. Multitudes who had reviled His name and despised His power confessed themselves disciples of the Crucified. Through the cooperation of the divine Spirit the labors of the humble men whom Christ had chosen stirred the world. To every nation under heaven was the gospel carried in a single generation. PM 270.1

The same Spirit that in His stead was sent to be the instructor of His first co-workers, Christ has commissioned to be the instructor of His co-workers today. “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world” (Matthew 28:20), is His promise.—Education, 95, 96. PM 270.2