The Publishing Ministry


Chapter 26—God's Plan for Students and Youth

Young Men and Women Needed as Canvassers—God calls for ministers, Bible workers, and canvassers. Let our young men and young women go forth as canvassers, evangelists, and Bible workers, in company with laborers of experience, who can show them how to labor successfully. Let canvassers carry our publications from house to house. When opportunity offers, let them speak of the truth for this time to those whom they meet, and let them sing and pray with them. When in our work for God right methods are energetically followed, a harvest of souls will be gathered. PM 286.1

There is room in the work of God for all who are filled with the spirit of self-sacrifice. God is calling for men and women who are willing to deny self for the sake of others, willing to consecrate all they have and are to His work. Men are needed who, when they encounter difficulties, will move steadily on, saying, We will not fail or become discouraged. Men are needed who will strengthen and build up the work that others are trying to do.—Messages to Young People, 208. PM 286.2

Special Duty to Teach Students—When school closes, there is opportunity for many to go out into the field as evangelistic canvassers. The faithful colporteur finds his way into many homes, where he leaves reading matter containing the truth for this time. Our students should learn how to sell our books. There is need of men of deep Christian experience, men of well-balanced minds, strong, well-educated men, to engage in this branch of the work. Some have the talent, education, and experience that would enable them to educate the youth for canvassing work in such a way that much more would be accomplished than is now being done. Those who have this experience have a special duty to perform in teaching others.—Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 546, 547. (See Testimonies for the Church 9:76.) PM 286.3

Youth Prepared to Meet Error—Young men who desire to enter the field as ministers, colporteurs, or canvassers should first receive a suitable degree of mental training, as well as a special preparation for their calling. Those who are uneducated, untrained, and unrefined are not prepared to enter a field in which the powerful influences of talent and education combat the truths of God's word. Neither can they successfully meet the strange forms of error, religious and philosophical combined, to expose which requires a knowledge of scientific as well as Scriptural truth.—Testimonies for the Church 5:390. PM 287.1

Financial Help for Prospective Canvassers—It should be made a part of gospel labor to help forward promising young men who give evidence that the love of truth and righteousness has a constraining influence upon them, leading them to dedicate themselves to the work of God, as medical missionaries, as canvassers, as evangelists. Let a fund be established to carry this work forward. Then let those who have received help go forth to minister to the sick and suffering. This work will surely open the way for the balm of Gilead to be applied to sin-sick souls.—Selected Messages 2:208. PM 287.2

Blessings of Canvassing to Young Ministers—Should not our ministers study this question? Many of our young ministers, if truly converted, would do much good by entering the canvassing field. They would there obtain an experience in faith. Their knowledge of the Scriptures would greatly increase, because as they imparted to others the light given them, they would receive more to impart. Let them enter the canvassing field and see what they can do in the way of producing. By meeting people and presenting to them our publications, they will gain an experience which they could not gain by simply preaching. As they go from house to house, they can converse with those whom they meet, carrying with them the fragrance of Christ's life.—Manuscript 10, 1900. PM 287.3

Practical Work Rather Than Years of Study—There are many young men and young women among us who, if inducements were held out, would naturally be inclined to take several years’ course of study at Battle Creek. [Not all the youth who labor for God require extended college and advanced study and preparation. The canvassing field is itself a classroom.] But will it pay? Has not the Lord some practical work to do in missionary lines? Manly young men will be needed to enter the printing office when it is established in Washington, to learn the printer's trade. Our publications are to be prepared to go forth to the world. Canvassers are to be educated to take up the work of circulating these publications. Our books and papers are to go to places that are still in the darkness of error.—Letter 169, 1903. PM 288.1

Training Youth in Evangelistic Efforts—Before a person is prepared to become a teacher of the truth to those who are in darkness, he must become a learner.... Whenever a special effort is to be made in an important place, a well-arranged system of labor should be established, so that those who wish to become colporteurs and canvassers, and those who are adapted to give Bible readings in families, may receive the necessary instruction.... PM 288.2

There should be connected with our missions, training schools for those who are about to enter the field as laborers. They should feel that they must become as apprentices to learn the trade of laboring for the conversion of souls. The labor in these schools should be varied. The study of the Bible should be made of primary importance, and at the same time there should be a systematic training of the mind and manners that they may learn to approach people in the best possible way. All should learn how to labor with tact and with courtesy, and with the Spirit of Christ.—Evangelism, 107, 108. (See also Evangelism, 470.) PM 288.3

Youth Not Bound to Mechanical Work—The Lord calls upon those connected with our sanitariums, publishing houses, and schools to teach the youth to do evangelistic work. Our time and energy must not be so largely employed in establishing sanitariums, food stores, and restaurants that other lines of work will be neglected. Young men and young women who should be engaged in the ministry, in Bible work, and in the canvassing work should not be bound down to mechanical employment.... PM 289.1

Where are the men who will go forth to the work, fully trusting in God, ready to do and to dare? God calls, “Son, go work today in My vineyard.” God will make the young men of today heaven's chosen repositories, to present before the people truth in contrast with error and superstition, if they will give themselves to Him. May God roll the burden on strong young men, who have His word abiding in them and who will give the truth to others.—Evangelism, 24. PM 289.2

Solid Experience Valued Above Silver and Gold—At the Fernando school [in southern California] the teachers have recently led out in reviving an interest in the sale of Christ's Object Lessons. Bands of students, after prayerful study of the book, have visited Los Angeles in company with their teachers and have gained a sound, solid experience which they prize above silver and gold. This kind of work is, in fact, one of the means God has ordained for giving our youth a missionary training; and those who neglect to improve such opportunities lose out of their lives a chapter of experience of the highest value. By entering heartily into this work, students can learn how to approach with tact and discretion men and women in all walks of life, how to deal with them courteously, and how to lead them to give favorable consideration to the truths contained in the books that are sold. PM 289.3

Our greatest burden should be, not the raising of money, but the salvation of souls; and to this end we should do all in our power to teach students how to lead souls to a knowledge of the third angel's message. When we are successful in the work of soulsaving, those who are added to the faith will, in turn, use their ability in giving the truth to others. When we labor diligently for the salvation of our fellow men, God will prosper our every effort.—Testimonies for the Church 9:85, 86. PM 289.4

Training for Difficult Missionary Service—There is a wide field of usefulness in the distribution of our literature and in bringing the third angel's message to the attention of friends and neighbors. Other youth should be encouraged to enter the canvassing work to sell our larger books. Some may have qualifications that would make them valuable helpers in our institutions. And in many instances, if promising youth were wisely encouraged and properly directed, they could be led to earn their own schooling by taking up the sale of Christ's Object Lessons or Ministry of Healing. PM 290.1

In selling these books the youth would be acting as missionaries, for they would be bringing precious light to the notice of the people of the world. At the same time they would be earning money to enable them to attend school, where they could continue their preparation for wider usefulness in the Lord's cause. In the school they would receive encouragement and inspiration from teachers and students to continue their work of selling books; and when the time came for them to leave school, they would have received a practical training fitting them for the hard, earnest, self-sacrificing labor that has to be done in many foreign fields, where the third angel's message must be carried under difficult and trying circumstances.—Testimonies for the Church 9:78. PM 290.2

Handling Books a Practical Education—The students who take up the work of selling Christ's Object Lessons and Ministry of Healing will need to study the book they expect to sell. As they familiarize their mind with the subject matter of the book in hand and endeavor to practice its teachings they will develop in knowledge and spiritual power. The messages in these books contain the light that God has revealed to me to give to the world. The teachers in our schools should encourage the students to make a careful study of every chapter. They should teach these truths to their students and seek to inspire the youth with a love for the precious thoughts the Lord has entrusted to us to communicate to the world. PM 290.3

Thus the preparation for handling these books, and the daily experiences gained while bringing them to the attention of the people, will prove an invaluable schooling to those who take part in this line of effort. Under the blessing of God the youth will obtain a fitting up for service in the Lord's vineyard.—Testimonies for the Church 9:77. (See also Testimonies for the Church 9:79, 80.) PM 291.1

Shall Teen-age Girls Canvass? [Ellen White directed several letters to her two teen-age granddaughters, Ella May and Mabel, that pointed out certain dangers that might threaten young women colporteurs, while not forbidding their participation in the literature work.]—I would not place any obstruction in your way in obtaining an experience in doing God service.... PM 291.2

I am sorry if my cautions have been stronger than I intended, for I did not intend a positive do-nothing in the line in which you have been working. But I have felt great fears of having a girl at your age go alone into this work. Accidents are liable to occur, endangering life.... If another sensible person were with you, then one could be a safeguard to the other. If one should become injured, and no one at hand to help, what then? All these things are to be considered and guarded against. PM 291.3

Another danger: there are tramps everywhere, and evil, dissolute characters who will do wicked works, and ruin and kill, because they have given themselves to Satan's power. I would therefore be very cautious how in any way you are unguarded. For Satan has come down in great power. He is represented as going about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. These things must be considered.... If you feel that it is your work to canvass, and that you can do good in that line, I remove all my objections, but not my cautions that every precaution should be taken against exposing you to danger. This I must insist upon.—Letter 4, 1902. PM 291.4