The Publishing Ministry


Chapter 25—Recruiting Literature Evangelists

Famine for the Pure Gospel—We are living in a time when a great work is to be done. There is a famine in the land for the pure gospel, and the bread of life is to be given to hungry souls. There is no better opportunity to do this work than that offered to the consecrated canvasser. Thousands of books containing the precious light of present truth should be placed in the homes of the people in our large cities.—Christian Service, 152. PM 271.1

Hunt Up and Train New Workers—Let each publisher and general agent work enthusiastically to encourage the agents now in the field and to hunt up and train new workers. Let each strengthen and build up the work as much as possible without weakening the work of others. Let all be done in brotherly love and without selfishness.—Testimonies for the Church 6:328. PM 271.2

Be Quick to Discern Talent—When we view the rise and progress of the publishing work from the beginning to the present time, we thank God and take courage. Yet our responsibility toward the unwarned multitudes urges us on to still greater and more systematic efforts to set in operation many agencies for the circulation of our papers, tracts, and books. Those who are acquainted with the possibilities of this branch of missionary work, and who are wise to teach, have much to do in the training of home workers. PM 271.3

Our numbers are constantly increasing, and the inexperienced must be patiently taught to share the burdens resting upon the entire body of believers. Many, too, of our brethren and sisters older in the faith, who have been active in the distribution of literature in the past, are still in need of systematic instruction in methods of labor. Those in responsibility should be quick to discern talent that can be used in the tract and missionary work; and they should do all in their power to develop this talent.—The Review and Herald, November 5, 1914. PM 272.1

The Need for Quality Recruits—Missionaries are wanted everywhere. In all parts of the field canvassers should be selected, not from the floating element in society, not from among men and women who are good for nothing else and have made a success of nothing, but from among those who have good address, tact, keen foresight, and ability. Such are needed to make a success as colporteurs, canvassers, and agents. Men suited to this work undertake it, but some injudicious minister will flatter them that their gift should be employed in the desk instead of simply in the work of the colporteur. Thus this work is belittled. They are influenced to get a license to preach; and the very ones who might have been trained to make good missionaries to visit families at their homes and talk and pray with them are caught up to make poor ministers; and the field where so much labor is needed, and where so much good might be accomplished for the cause, is neglected. The efficient colporteur, as well as the minister, should have a sufficient remuneration for his services if his work is faithfully done. PM 272.2

If there is one work more important than another, it is that of getting our publications before the public, thus leading them to search the Scriptures. Missionary work—introducing our publications into families, conversing, and praying with and for them—is a good work and one which will educate men and women to do pastoral labor. PM 272.3

Not everyone is fitted for this work. Those of the best talent and ability, who will take hold of the work understandingly and systematically, and carry it forward with persevering energy, are the ones who should be selected. There should be a most thoroughly organized plan; and this should be faithfully carried out. Churches in every place should feel the deepest interest in the tract and missionary work.—Testimonies for the Church 4:389, 390. PM 272.4

Farmers, Mechanics, to Be God's Agents—The Sun of Righteousness has risen upon the church, and it is the duty of the church to shine. Those who are connected with Christ will grow in grace, and in the knowledge of Jesus Christ, to the full stature of men and women. It is the privilege of every soul to make advancement. No one is to be an idler in the vineyard. If all who claim to believe the truth had made the most of their opportunities and ability to learn all that they were privileged to learn, they would have become strong in Christ. No matter what may have been their occupation, if farmers, mechanics, teachers, or pastors, if they had wholly consecrated themselves to God, they would have been efficient agents to work for the heavenly Master.—Manuscript 151, 1897. PM 273.1

Blacks to Be Trained as Canvassers—Of late, as the needs of this field [the South] have been pressed upon me, I have been able to sleep but little. Medical missionary work must be carried on among this [the colored] [When this was written the words colored and negro were more commonly used than black. Hundreds of able literature evangelists have sallied forth, selling such literature as Message Magazine and subscription books of special interest to black readers.] people, who must be given a training in nursing, cooking, and in other important lines of work. There are those among them who must be trained to labor as teachers, Bible workers, and canvassers.—Evangelism, 469. PM 273.2

Recruits for Unentered Areas—Many of God's people are to go forth with our publications into places where the third angel's message has never been proclaimed. Our books are to be published in many different languages. With these books, humble, faithful men are to go out as colporteur-evangelists, bearing the truth to those who would otherwise never be enlightened. Those who take up this line of work are to go prepared to do medical missionary work. The sick and suffering are to be helped. Many for whom this work of mercy is done will hear and accept the words of life. PM 273.3

The work of the canvasser-evangelist, whose heart is imbued with the Holy Spirit, is fraught with wonderful possibilities for good. The presentation of the truth, in love and simplicity, from house to house, is in harmony with the instruction that Christ gave His disciples when He sent them out on their first missionary tour. By songs of praise, by humble, heartfelt prayers, many will be reached. The divine Worker will be present to send conviction to hearts. “I am with you alway,” is His promise. With the assurance of the abiding presence of such a Helper we may labor with faith and hope and courage. PM 274.1

From city to city, from country to country, they are to carry the publications containing the promise of the Saviour's soon coming. These publications are to be translated into every language, for to all the world the gospel is to be preached. To every worker Christ promises the divine efficiency that will make his labors a success.—Testimonies for the Church 9:33, 34. (See Testimonies for the Church 8:40.) PM 274.2

Training and Recruiting at Camp Meeting—In connection with our camp meetings in past years, God's servants have improved many precious opportunities for instructing our people in practical methods of presenting the saving truths of the third angel's message to their friends and acquaintances. Many have been taught how to labor as self-supporting missionaries in their home communities. Many have returned home from these annual gatherings to labor with greater zeal and intelligence than hitherto. PM 274.3

It would be pleasing to God if far more of this practical instruction were given the church members who attend our camp meetings, than has usually been given in years past. Our general workers and our brethren and sisters in every conference should remember that one of the objects of our annual gatherings is that all may gain a knowledge of practical methods of personal missionary work.... PM 274.4

In some of our conferences the leaders have hesitated to introduce these practical methods of instruction. Some are naturally inclined to sermonize rather than to teach. But on such occasions as our annual camp meetings we must never lose sight of the opportunities afforded for teaching the believers how to do practical missionary work in the place where they may live. In many instances it would be well to set apart certain men to carry the burden of different lines of educational work at these meetings. Let some help the people to learn how to give Bible readings and to conduct cottage meetings. Let others bear the burden of teaching the people how to practice the principles of health and temperance, and how to give treatments to the sick. Still others may labor in the interests of our periodical and book work. [Such contacts provide opportunities to recruit new literature evangelists.] And let chosen workers take a special interest in teaching many how to handle Christ's Object Lessons and Ministry of Healing.—Testimonies for the Church 9:81-83. PM 274.5

Learning to Make a Wise Use of Literature—When we follow plans of the Lord's devising “we are laborers together with God.” Whatever our position—whether presidents of conferences, ministers, teachers, students, or lay members—we are held accountable by the Lord for making the most of our opportunities to enlighten those in need of present truth. And one of the principal agencies He has ordained for our use is the printed page. In our schools and sanitariums, in our home churches, and particularly in our annual camp meetings, we must learn to make a wise use of this precious agency. With patient diligence chosen workers must instruct our people how to approach unbelievers in a kindly, winning way and how to place in their hands literature in which the truth for this time is presented with clearness and power.—Testimonies for the Church 9:86, 87. PM 275.1

Ministers to Help Recruit Canvassers—This is a time when the conference should stand before the people in a better light than it has hitherto done. We shall call upon the people to help to the utmost of their ability just now. We shall call upon them to do a work which will be pleasing to God in purchasing the book. [Christ's Object Lessons.] We shall ask that every available means be used to help to circulate this book. We shall ask, if possible, that the whole field be supplied with canvassers. We shall call upon our ministers as they visit the churches to encourage men and women to go out as canvassers, to make a decided forward movement in the path of self-denial by giving part of their earnings to help our schools to get out of debt. Surely they can do this much to help the Master.—Manuscript 10, 1900. PM 275.2

One Well Trained Better Than Ten Untrained—One worker who has been trained and educated for the work, who is controlled by the Spirit of Christ, will accomplish far more than ten laborers who go out deficient in knowledge, and weak in the faith. One who works in harmony with the counsel of God, and in unity with the brethren, will be more efficient to do good, than ten will be who do not realize the necessity of depending upon God, and of acting in harmony with the general plan of the work.—Evangelism, 109. PM 276.1

Call for Men of Brains and Intellect—Who will put to use the talents lent them of God, be they great or small, and work in humility, learning daily in the school of Christ, and then imparting that precious knowledge to others? Who will see what ought to be done, and do it? And how many will make excuses, become tied up with worldly interests? Cut the cords that bind you, and go into the vineyard to work for the Master. PM 276.2

In every department of the cause of God, consecrated, God-fearing, willing helpers are needed; men of brains, men of intellect, who will go forth as ministers, canvassers, and colporteurs. Brethren and sisters, let the earnest prayer of faith ascend to God that He will raise up laborers, and send them into the harvest field; for the harvest is great, and the laborers are few.—Life Sketches of Ellen G. White, 277. PM 276.3

Men With Large Vision and Plans—The press is a power; but if its products fall dead for want of men who will execute plans to widely circulate them, its power is lost. While there has been a quick foresight to discern the necessity of laying out means in facilities to multiply books and tracts, plans to bring back the means invested so as to produce other publications, have been neglected. The power of the press, with all its advantages, is in their hands; and they can use it to the very best account, or they can be half asleep and through inaction lose the advantages which they might gain. By judicious calculation they can extend the light in the sale of books and pamphlets. They can send them into thousands of families that now sit in the darkness of error. PM 276.4

Other publishers have regular systems of introducing into the market books of no vital interest. “The children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light.” Golden opportunities occur almost daily where the silent messengers of truth might be introduced into families and to individuals; but no advantage is taken of these opportunities by the indolent, thoughtless ones. Living preachers are few. There is only one where there should be a hundred. Many are making a great mistake in not putting their talents to use in seeking to save the souls of their fellow men. Hundreds of men should be engaged in carrying the light all through our cities, villages, and towns. The public mind must be agitated. God says: Let light be sent out into all parts of the field. He designs that men shall be channels of light, bearing it to those who are in darkness.—Testimonies for the Church 4:389. PM 277.1

God's Means of Exalting Man—God has given man a part to act in accomplishing the salvation of his fellow men. He can work in connection with Christ by doing acts of mercy and beneficence. But he cannot redeem them, not being able to satisfy the claims of insulted justice. This the Son of God alone can do, by laying aside His honor and glory, clothing His divinity with humanity, and coming to earth to humiliate Himself and shed His blood in behalf of the human race. PM 277.2

In commissioning His disciples to go “into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature,” Christ assigned to men the work of spreading the gospel. But while some go forth to preach, He calls upon others to answer to His claims upon them for tithes and offerings with which to support the ministry and to spread the printed truth all over the land. This is God's means of exalting man. It is just the work which he needs, for it will stir the deepest sympathies of his heart and call into exercise the highest capabilities of the mind.—Testimonies for the Church 4:472. PM 277.3

The Call From Human to Divine Employment—I have repeatedly been instructed that no one should be advised to pledge himself to spend two, three, four, five, or six years under any man's tuition [direction].... Brethren, we have no time for this. Time is short. We are to hold out urgent inducements to the men who ought now to be engaged in missionary work for the Master. The highways and byways are yet unworked. The Lord calls for young men to labor as canvassers and evangelists, to do house-to-house work in places that have not yet heard the truth. God speaks to our young men, saying, “What? Know ye not that ... ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore, glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's” (1 Corinthians 6:19, 20). PM 278.1

The Lord must be given an opportunity to show men their duty and to work upon their minds. No one is to bind himself to serve under the direction of any human being, for the Lord Himself will call men, as of old He called the humble fishermen, and will Himself give them the education He desires them to have. He will call men from the plow and from other occupations to give the last note of warning to perishing souls. There are many ways in which to work for the Master, and the great Teacher will open the understanding of these workers, enabling them to see wondrous things in His Word. PM 278.2

The signs that show that Christ's coming is near are fast fulfilling. The Lord calls for canvassers and evangelists. Those who will go forth to this work under His direction will be wonderfully blessed.—Letter 169, 1903. PM 278.3

Helpers From the Common People—In this closing work of the gospel there is a vast field to be occupied; and, more than ever before, the work is to enlist helpers from the common people. Both the youth and those older in years will be called from the field, from the vineyard, and from the workshop, and sent forth by the Master to give His message. Many of these have had little opportunity for education; but Christ sees in them qualifications that will enable them to fulfill His purpose. If they put their hearts into the work, and continue to be learners, He will fit them to labor for Him.... Laborers from the common people, sharing the sorrows of their fellow men as their Master shared the sorrows of the whole human race, will by faith see Him working with them.—Education, 269, 270. PM 278.4

Every Believer Can Bear the Message—My heart is often burdened because so many who might work are doing nothing. They are the sport of Satan's temptations. Every church member who has a knowledge of the truth is expected to work while the day lasts; for the night cometh, wherein no man can work. Erelong we shall understand what that night means. The Spirit of God is being grieved away from the earth. The nations are angry with one another. Widespread preparations are being made for war. The night is at hand. Let the church arouse and go forth to do her appointed work. Every believer, educated or uneducated, can bear the message.—Testimonies for the Church 9:26. PM 279.1

Teach Singlemindedness in Literature Work—I have something to say to you. You indeed love the truth, but your affections have been manifestly divided between the service of God and the service of mammon. Some things stand as mighty barriers in the way of your being a man whom the Lord can use to advance His cause and correctly represent His faith. The plans you have used in your missionary work have not been for your spiritual good or for the moral health of those with whom you are brought in contact.... PM 279.2

With the work of scattering our publications and advocating the truth, you have mingled scheming, buying, and selling. This makes a poor combination. As you labor to obtain advantages for yourself, you are allured by the prospect of buying things below their value and selling them above their value. Therefore the world regards you as a sharper, a man who will gain advantage for himself without considering the case of others. You do not keep the commandments of God, for you do not love your neighbor as yourself. If you had loved God with all your heart, you would not have had these dishonest principles to contend against. This greed for advantage is greatly to your spiritual injury. By indulging it you are placing yourself where poverty will come to you unless you are thoroughly converted.—Letter 3, 1878. PM 279.3

Evangelistic Canvassers in Place of Living Preacher—Canvassing for our publications is an important and most profitable line of evangelistic work. Our publications can go to places where meetings cannot be held. In such places the faithful evangelistic canvasser takes the place of the living preacher. By the canvassing work the truth is presented to thousands who otherwise would never hear it. PM 280.1

I feel very sorry to know that so many of the books which should be finding ready sale are lying on the office shelves. These books contain the light that people need. May the Lord move upon many of our young people to enter His service as evangelistic canvassers. Our time for work is short. Many, very many, need the promptitude of the “quickly” in them, to lead them to arouse and go to work. The Lord calls for workers just now.... PM 280.2

Our commission is to let the light shine forth everywhere from the press. By the printed page the light reaches the isolated ones, who have no opportunity to hear the living preacher. This is most blessed missionary work. Canvassers can be the Lord's helping hand, opening doors for the entrance of truth.—The Review and Herald, October 7, 1902. PM 280.3

Canvassers to Warn the Cities While It Is Possible—Who can question that we are living in perilous times? When Christ portrayed the destruction of Jerusalem, He looked down the ages and included in His description the still more awful destruction of the world. And He declares, “As the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be” (Matthew 24:37-39). PM 280.4

The destroying angels are today executing their commission. Death will come in all places. This is why I am so anxious for our cities to be warned. There is a work to be done by canvassing in our cities that has not yet been done. PM 281.1

In His teaching Christ has given lessons of great value in regard to the last days. O that men and women would learn their danger before it is everlastingly too late! PM 281.2

The day of the Lord is coming as a thief, not on those who are spiritually awake, but on those who are half asleep, listless and indifferent. The blessing of God rests on the workers who warn those that are unready to meet Him. Holiness is connected with mercy, as the effect is connected with its cause.—Letter 176, 1903. PM 281.3

Many Places Reached Only by Publications—God expects His people living in this period of earth's history to proclaim with voice and with pen the last message of mercy to the world, working with the power of the Holy Spirit. There are many places in which the voice of the minister cannot be heard, places which can be reached only by our publications—the books, papers, and tracts filled with the Bible truths that the people need. PM 281.4

We are living in the closing days of earth's history. Many in the world are careless; to them the most momentous truths have become as idle tales, making no impression on their mind and heart, no change in the character. But there are some who will give heed to God's message and who will not rest until they understand His Word.—Manuscript 40, 1903. (See Testimonies for the Church 5:387, 388.) PM 281.5

Calebs Are Needed Now—The third angel, flying in the midst of heaven and heralding the commandments of God and the testimony of Jesus, represents our work. The message loses none of its force in the angel's onward flight, for John sees it increasing in strength and power until the whole earth is lightened with its glory. The course of God's commandment-keeping people in onward, ever onward. The message of truth that we bear must go to nations, tongues, and peoples. Soon it will go with a loud voice, and the earth will be lightened with its glory. Are we preparing for this great outpouring of the Spirit of God? PM 281.6

Human agencies are to be employed in this work. Zeal and energy must be intensified; talents that are rusting from inaction must be pressed into service. The voice that would say, “Wait; do not allow yourself to have burdens imposed upon you,” is the voice of the cowardly spies. We want Calebs now who will press to the front—chieftains in Israel who with courageous words will make a strong report in favor of immediate action. When the selfish, ease-loving, panic-stricken people, fearing tall giants and inaccessible walls, clamor for retreat, let the voice of the Calebs be heard, even though the cowardly ones stand with stones in their hands, ready to beat them down for their faithful testimony.—Testimonies for the Church 5:383. PM 282.1

Youth Diverted From the Canvassing Work—It [elocution] has caught up men to engage in a work that they cannot do wisely, and spoiled them for doing a work which, had they been humbly and modestly seeking to accomplish it in the fear of God, they would have made a glorious success. These youth might have been fitting for usefulness in the missionary field as canvassers and colporteurs, or as licentiates proving themselves for ministerial labor, doing work for time and for eternity. But they have been crazed with the thought of becoming teachers of elocution, and Satan stands and laughs that he has caught them in the net which he has laid for them.... PM 282.2

Satan is working to crowd himself in everywhere. He would put asunder very friends. There are men who are ever talking and gossiping and bearing false witness, who sow the seeds of discord and engender strife. Heaven looks upon this class as Satan's most efficient servants. But the man who is injured is in a far less dangerous position than when fawned upon and extolled for a few of his efforts which appear successful. The commendation of apparent friends is more dangerous than reproach.—Testimonies for the Church 4:605-607. PM 282.3

Present the Bible Just as It Reads—The light of truth is shedding its bright beams upon the world through missionary effort. The press is an instrumentality by which many are reached whom it would be impossible to reach by ministerial effort. A great work can be done by presenting to the people the Bible just as it reads. Carry the word of God to every man's door, urge its plain statements upon every man's conscience, repeat to all the Saviour's command: “Search the Scriptures.” Admonish them to take the Bible as it is, to implore divine enlightenment, and then, when the light shines, to gladly accept each precious ray and fearlessly abide the consequences.—Testimonies for the Church 5:388. PM 283.1

Value in Every Page of Literature—We should treat as a sacred treasure every line of printed matter that comes from our publishing houses. Even the fragments of a pamphlet or of a periodical should be regarded as of value. Who can estimate the influence that a torn page, containing the truths of the third angel's message, may have upon the heart of some seeker after truth? Every page that comes from the press is a ray of light from heaven, to shine into the byways and the hedges, shedding light upon the pathway of truth. Let us remember that somebody would be glad to receive every page that we can spare. PM 283.2

In the miracle of feeding the multitude with the few loaves and fishes, the food was increased as it passed from Christ to those who accepted it. Thus it will be in the distribution of our publications. God's truth, as it is passed out, will multiply greatly. And as Christ was careful to instruct the disciples to gather up the fragments that remained, that nothing should be lost, so we should treasure every fragment of literature containing the truth for this time.—Manuscript 67, 1903. PM 283.3

Memorials in Every City and Village—In the visions of the night a very impressive scene passed before me. I saw an immense ball of fire fall among some beautiful mansions, causing their instant destruction. I heard someone say: “We knew that the judgments of God were coming upon the earth, but we did not know that they would come so soon.” Others, with agonized voices, said: “You knew! Why then did you not tell us? We did not know.” On every side I heard similar words of reproach spoken. PM 283.4

In great distress I awoke. I went to sleep again, and I seemed to be in a large gathering. One of authority was addressing the company, before whom was spread out a map of the world. He said that the map pictured God's vineyard, which must be cultivated. As light from heaven shone upon anyone, that one was to reflect the light to others. Lights were to be kindled in many places, and from these lights still other lights were to be kindled.... PM 284.1

I saw jets of light shining from cities and villages, and from the high places and the low places of the earth. God's word was obeyed, and as a result there were memorials for Him in every city and village. His truth was proclaimed throughout the world. PM 284.2

Then this map was removed and another put in its place. On it light was shining from a few places only. The rest of the world was in darkness, with only a glimmer of light here and there. Our Instructor said: “This darkness is the result of men's following their own course. They have cherished hereditary and cultivated tendencies to evil. They have made questioning and faultfinding and accusing the chief business of their lives. Their hearts are not right with God. They have hidden their light under a bushel.” PM 284.3

If every soldier of Christ had done his duty, if every watchman on the walls of Zion had given the trumpet a certain sound, the world might ere this have heard the message of warning. But the work is years behind. While men have slept, Satan has stolen a march upon us.—Testimonies for the Church 9:28, 29. PM 284.4

Heaven Is for Soul Winners—It is the Christian's business to shine. The professed follower of Christ is not fulfilling the requirements of the gospel unless he is ministering to others. He is never to forget that he is to let his light so shine before men that they, seeing his good works, may glorify their Father which is in heaven. His speech is to be always with grace, and in harmony with his profession of faith. His work is to reveal Christ to the world. Jesus Christ and Him crucified is his inexhaustible theme, of which he is freely to speak, bringing out of the good treasure of his heart the precious things of the gospel. The heart that is filled with the blessed hope, that is big with immortality and full of glory, can not be dumb.... PM 284.5

Those with whom the Christian comes in contact have a right to know what has been revealed to the follower of Christ, and he is to make it known both by precept and example. The Christian is to publish the good news of salvation, and he is never to weary of the recital of God's goodness. He is continually to draw with Christ, and continually to draw from Christ, eating the flesh and drinking the blood of the Son of man, which Jesus declares are His words, that are spirit and life. Thus he will always have a fresh supply of heavenly manna. Every Christian, high or low, rich or poor, learned or ignorant, is to talk of the kingdom of God, to speak of Christ and Him crucified, to those who are in ignorance and sin. You are to speak to sinners; for you know not but God is moving upon their hearts. Never forget that great responsibility attaches to every word you utter in their presence.... PM 285.1

What are you doing, my Christian brothers and sisters? Can you say that as far as it was in your power, you have declared, or represented, Christ and His love for fallen humanity to those who know Him not? If you have confined your efforts mostly to those who are of the same faith as yourself, what about seeking those who are lost? If the curtain could be rolled back, you would see souls perishing in their sins, and the church idle, indolent, unsympathetic, absorbed in selfish interests, and caring not whether souls are saved or lost, so long as they themselves can have an easy time, and be secure in the hope of salvation. But no one will ever enter heaven who is not a laborer together with God.—The Review and Herald, February 12, 19, 1895. PM 285.2