The Publishing Ministry


Chapter 28—Training Literature Evangelists to Win Souls

Christ Our Recommendation to the People—Much painstaking effort will be required of those who have the burden of this work; for right instruction must be given, that a sense of the importance of the work may be kept before the workers, and that all may cherish the spirit of self-denial and sacrifice exemplified in the life of our Redeemer. Christ made sacrifices at every step, sacrifices that none of His followers can ever make. In all the self-denial required of us in this work; amid all the unpleasant things that occur, we are to consider that we are yoked up with Christ, partakers of His spirit of kindness, forbearance, and self-abnegation. This spirit will open the way before us, and give us success, because Christ is our recommendation to the people.—The Review and Herald, May 6, 1902. PM 301.1

Angels to Attend Canvassers—Canvassers should be secured to handle the books Great Controversy, Patriarchs and Prophets, Desire of Ages, Daniel and the Revelation, and other books of like character, who have a sense of the value of the matter these books contain and a realization of the work to be done to interest people in the truth. Special help, which is above all the supposed advantages of illustrations, will be given to such canvassers. The canvassers who are born again by the work of the Holy Spirit will be accompanied by angels, who will go before them to the dwellings of the people, preparing the way.... PM 301.2

Those selected as canvassers should be men and women who feel the burden of service, who do not work merely for wages, who seek to do the very work that needs to be done to enlighten the world. All our service is to be done to the glory of God, to give the light of truth to those who are in darkness. Canvassers need daily to be converted to God, that their words and deeds may be a savor of life unto life, that they may exert a saving influence upon those with whom they come in contact.—Manuscript 131, 1899. PM 302.1

Words Dictated by the Holy Spirit—I speak to the workers, young and old, who are handling our books, and especially to those who are canvassing for the book that is now doing its errand of mercy: [Christ's Object Lessons.] Exemplify in the life the lessons given by Christ in His Sermon on the Mount. This will make a deeper impression, and have a more lasting influence upon minds, than will the sermons given from the pulpit. You may not be able to speak eloquently to those you desire to help; but if you speak modestly, hiding self in Christ, your words will be dictated by the Holy Spirit; and Christ, with whom you are cooperating, will impress the heart. PM 302.2

Exercise that faith which works by love and sanctifies the soul. Let none now make the Lord ashamed of them because of their unbelief. Sloth and despondency accomplish nothing. Entanglements in secular business are sometimes permitted by God in order to stir the sluggish faculties to more earnest action that He may honor faith by the bestowal of rich blessings. This is a means of advancing His work. Looking unto Jesus, not only as our example, but as the author and finisher of our faith, let us go forward, having confidence that He will supply strength for every duty.—The Review and Herald, May 6, 1902. PM 302.3

Power of Angels, Prayer and Faith—Those whose engage in this work should first give themselves unreservedly to God. They should place themselves where they can learn of Christ and follow His example. He has invited them: “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30. Angels are commissioned to go forth with those who take up this work in true humility. PM 302.4

We are to pray without ceasing, and we are to live our prayers. Faith will greatly increase by exercise. Let those who are canvassing for Christ's Object Lessons learn the lessons taught in the book for which they are working. Learn of Christ. Have faith in His power to help and save you. Faith is the very lifeblood of the soul. Its presence gives warmth, health, consistency, and sound judgment. Its vitality and vigor exert a powerful though unconscious influence. The life of Christ in the soul is as a well of water springing up unto everlasting life. It leads to a constant cultivation of the heavenly graces and to a kindly submission in all things to the Lord.—The Review and Herald, May 6, 1902. PM 303.1

Preach With Tongue and Hoe—If you go out as a canvasser and meet a man toiling in the field, join him in labor. Take the hoe, or whatever instrument he may be using, and work by his side while you are talking with him. Tell him that you know he is busy and that you have no desire to hinder him. Let me assure you that the sermon which you preach with the hoe will be in harmony with the sermon which you preach with your tongue, and the two together have a power which words alone could never have. Work in humility, and the Lord will work with you.—Manuscript 126, 1902. PM 303.2

Show Points of Truth, Not Only Illustrations—The canvassers are not obtaining that healthful experience in their work which they should have. In their handling of the books they are being educated to present before the public the beautiful cover and many illustrations rather than the points of truth contained in the books. In doing this they are patterning after the world, and they fail to make God their dependence and trust. “What is the chaff to the wheat?” God asks (Jeremiah 23:28).—Manuscript 131, 1899. PM 303.3

Emphasize Content Rather Than Covers—It is not the gilded leaves of a book, not the expensive covers, which testify to its value. It is the truth contained in it. This will make an impression on mind and heart. If the expensive covers, gilt-edged leaves, and multitudinous illustrations are dispensed with, the canvassers may not enjoy it. But if they had never had such works to handle, the temptation to drop books of high value and take up books which have a better outside appearance, but which are not of so much importance, would not be so great. PM 304.1

There is a large amount of literature to go to the world, and men reason that the more abundant the illustrations, the better and easier the sale of the book. But this reasoning is not always sound. Take The Desire of Ages, for example. If there had not been more than one third of the illustrations in it that there now are, the canvassers would have found in nine cases out of ten that it would have had just as ready a sale as it will have now. PM 304.2

And suppose that there were but a quarter the number of illustrations. The canvassers would have to do more earnest service. They would have to make more painstaking effort to become acquainted with the subjects upon which the book treats. And the saving of the money invested in illustrations would enable the publishers to give better terms to canvassers.—Manuscript 131, 1899. (See chapter entitled “Book Sales and Illustrations.”) PM 304.3

A Ministry of Health and Healing—In his work the canvasser will be brought in contact with those who are in feeble health, who need the light on health reform, and with those who are dissatisfied with their religious experience, who are longing for something which they have not. To these he is to open the word of truth, rightly interpreting its meaning. “For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ” (2 Corinthians 2:17).... PM 304.4

By his work, the converted, consecrated canvasser is sowing the seeds of truth. This work must be done without delay, for we have but a short time in which to work. Everything that can be done to reach the people must be done. Speak to them in a way that will win their confidence. Pray for the sick. Ask the Lord to restore and heal suffering humanity. He has declared, “These signs shall follow them that believe” (Mark 16:17).—Manuscript 10, 1900. PM 304.5

A Savor of Life Unto Life—It is the canvasser's duty to cultivate the talents God has given him, to maintain his connection with God, to help always where he can. He has positive and constant need of the angelic ministration, for he has an important work to do, a work that he cannot do in his own strength. “Thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place. For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: to the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things?” (2 Corinthians 2:14-16).—Manuscript 10, 1900. PM 305.1

Jewels in All the Churches—The Lord God of heaven would have the entire church devising ways and means whereby high and low, rich and poor, may hear the message of truth. The Lord Jesus, the mighty Saviour, has died for these souls. He can arouse them from their indifference, He can awaken their sympathies, He can soften their hearts, He can reveal to their souls the beauty and power of the truth. PM 305.2

The Master-worker is God, and not finite man; and yet He calls upon men to be the agents through whom He can impart light to those in darkness. God has jewels in all the churches, and it is not for us to make sweeping denunciation of the professed religious world, but in humility and love to present to all the truth as it is in Jesus. Let men see piety and devotion, let them behold Christlikeness of character, and they will be drawn to the truth. He who loves God supremely and his neighbor as himself will be a light in the world. Those who have a knowledge of the truth are to communicate the same. They are to lift up Jesus, the world's Redeemer; they are to hold forth the word of life.... PM 305.3

We are in nowise to be deterred from fulfilling our commission by the listlessness, the dullness, the lack of spiritual perception, in those upon whom the word of God is brought to bear. We are to preach the word of life to those whom we may judge to be as hopeless subjects as though they were in their graves. Though they may seem to be unwilling to hear or to receive the light of truth, without questioning or wavering we are to do our part.—The Review and Herald, January 17, 1893. PM 306.1

Literature Evangelists Not Necessarily Preachers—Canvassers are needed to take up the work of carrying these silent messengers of truth to the people—canvassers who feel a burden for souls, and who can speak words in season to those who are seeking for light. Some may say, “I am not a minister; I cannot preach to the people.” You may not be able to preach, but you can be an evangelist, ministering to the needs of those with whom you come in contact; you can be God's helping hand, working as the disciples worked; you can ask those you meet if they love the Lord Jesus.—Christian Service, 147. PM 306.2

How to Minister to Other Churches—People cannot be expected to see at once the advantage of the truth over the error they have cherished. The best way to expose the fallacy of error is to present truth. This is the greatest rebuke that can be given to error. Dispel the cloud of darkness resting on minds by reflecting the bright light of the Sun of righteousness. PM 306.3

You may have opportunity to speak in other churches. In improving these opportunities, remember the words of the Saviour, “Be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.” Make no denunciatory speeches. Clear-cut messages are to be borne; but restrain all harsh expressions. There are many souls to be saved. In word and deed be wise unto salvation, representing Christ to all with whom you come in contact. Let all see that your feet are shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace and good will to men. Wonderful are the results we shall see if we enter the work imbued with the Spirit of Christ. If we carry forward the work in righteousness, mercy, and love, help will come in our necessity. Truth will bear away the victory.—The Review and Herald, October 7, 1902. PM 306.4

Present the Truth With Gentleness—The truth is to be presented with divine tact, tenderness, and gentleness. It is to come from a heart that has been softened and made sympathetic. We need to have close communion with God, lest self rise up, as it did in Jehu, and we pour forth a torrent of words that are unbefitting, that are not as dew, nor as the still showers, which revive the withering plants. Let our words be gentle as we seek to win souls. God will be wisdom to him who seeks for wisdom from a divine source. We are to seek opportunities on every hand. We are to watch unto prayer, and be ready always to give an answer to every one who asks a reason for the hope that is in us. Lest we shall impress unfavorably one soul for whom Christ has died, we should keep our hearts uplifted to God, so that when the opportunity presents itself, we may have the right word to speak at the right time. If you thus undertake to work for God, the Spirit of God will be your helper. The Holy Spirit will apply the truth spoken in love for the soul. The truth will have quickening power when spoken under the influence of the grace of Christ.—The Review and Herald, October 7, 1902. PM 307.1

In an Easy, Winning, Courteous Manner—As a people we should cultivate kindliness and courtesy in our association with those whom we meet. Let us avoid any abruptness of manner, and strive always to present the truth in an easy way. This truth means life, eternal life to the receiver. Study therefore to pass easily and courteously from subjects of a temporal nature to the spiritual and eternal. A most courteous manner characterized the work of the Saviour. Seek in the most gentle way to introduce your mission. While walking by the way, or seated by the wayside, you may drop into some heart the seed of truth.—Manuscript 55, 1908. PM 307.2

Colporteur-Minister Teamwork—When an effort is made to introduce the truth in an important place, our ministers should give special attention to the instruction and training of those who are to cooperate with them. Colporteurs and canvassers are needed, and those who are fitted to give Bible readings in families, so that while the ministers are laboring in word and doctrine, these can also be calling minds to the truth. PM 307.3

Our ministers who have gone to important places to hold tent meetings, have often made a serious mistake in devoting all their time to sermonizing. There should be less preaching and more teaching—teaching the people, and also teaching young men how to labor successfully. Ministers should become efficient in teaching others how to study the Bible, and in training the minds and manners of those who would become workers in the cause of God. And they should be ready to counsel and instruct those who have newly come to the faith, and who give promise of possessing ability to work for the Master.—Gospel Workers, 76. PM 308.1

Labor Outside Adventist Centers—We should release some of the workers that are now tied up in those places where many interests are centering, that they may go out as missionaries to communicate the truth to others. Not only should the workers in these centers be devoting their energies and means to the sending out of our publications, but they should also feel the importance of spending a portion of their money in supporting the living preacher in the cities where labor wisely expended will be very effective. The printed page cannot accomplish alone the work that the living minister can do. He can explain the Scriptures to the people, praying with them and appealing to them, and making effective the truths of the Bible.... PM 308.2

If necessary, let us limit the number of our periodical publications, and let us send forth men and women to labor in faith and consecration for the giving of this last message of mercy to the world.—Letter 142, 1909. PM 308.3

From City to City and Place to Place—From town to town, from city to city, from country to country, the warning message of present truth is to be proclaimed, not with outward display, but in the power of the Spirit, by men of faith. In the golden censer of truth, as presented in the Scriptures, there is that which will convict and convert souls. As the truth that our Saviour came to this world to proclaim is presented in the simplicity of the gospel, the power of the message will make itself felt. In this age, a new life coming from the Source of all life is to take possession of every faithful laborer. Oh, how little do we comprehend the breadth of our mission! We need to have earnest, determined faith, and unshaken courage in the Lord. Our time to work is short, and we are to labor with unflagging zeal.—The Review and Herald, November 29, 1906. (Selections from the Testimonies Setting forth Important Principles Relating to Our Work in General, 243, 244.) PM 308.4

America Needs the Light Too—Wake up, wake up, my brethren and sisters, and enter the fields in America that have never been worked. After you have given something for foreign fields, do not think your duty done. There is a work to be done in foreign fields, but there is a work to be done in America that is just as important. In the cities of America there are people of almost every language. These need the light that God has given to His church. PM 309.1

The Lord lives and reigns. Soon He will arise in majesty to shake terribly the earth. A special message is now to be borne, a message that will pierce the spiritual darkness and convict and convert souls. “Haste thee, flee for thy life,” is the call to be given to those dwelling in sin. We must now be terribly in earnest. We have not a moment to spend in criticism and accusation. Let those who have done this in the past fall on their knees in prayer, and let them beware how they put their words and their plans in the place of God's words and God's plans.—Testimonies for the Church 8:36. PM 309.2

Labor in Settlements of Farmers—In many States there are settlements of industrious, well-to-do farmers, who have never heard of the truth for this time. Such places should be worked. Let our lay members take up this line of service. By lending or selling books, by distributing papers, and by holding Bible readings, our lay members could do much in their own neighborhoods. Filled with love for souls, they could present the message of present truth with such power that many would be converted. Let us remember that it is as important to carry the message to those in the home field who have not heard the truth, as it is to go as missionaries to foreign countries. PM 309.3

There is abundant work for all who know the truth. Approach the people in a persuasive, kindly manner, with hearts filled with cheerfulness and Christlike love. The Saviour is ever near, with grace and power to enable you to present the gospel of salvation, which will bring many souls out of the darkness of unbelief into His marvelous light. Reach out after those who are ready to perish. Call their attention to the “Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.”—SpTPW 245. PM 310.1

Cooperative Efforts in Great Cities—The example of the followers of Christ at Antioch should be an inspiration to every believer living in the great cities of the world today. While it is in the order of God that chosen workers of consecration and talent should be stationed in important centers of population to lead out in public efforts, it is also His purpose that the church members living in these cities shall use their God-given talents in working for souls. There are rich blessings in store for those who surrender fully to the call of God. As such workers endeavor to win souls to Jesus, they will find that many who never could have been reached in any other way are ready to respond to intelligent personal effort. PM 310.2

The cause of God in the earth today is in need of living representatives of Bible truth. The ordained ministers alone are not equal to the task of warning the great cities. God is calling not only upon ministers, but also upon physicians, nurses, colporteurs, Bible workers, and other consecrated laymen of varied talent who have a knowledge of the word of God and who know the power of His grace, to consider the needs of the unwarned cities. Time is rapidly passing, and there is much to be done. Every agency must be set in operation, that present opportunities may be wisely improved.—The Acts of the Apostles, 158, 159. PM 310.3

Place Books and Papers in Metropolitan Areas—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.... PM 310.4

Blessed, soul-saving Bible truths are published in our papers. There are many who can help in the work of selling our periodicals. The Lord calls upon all of us to seek to save perishing souls. Satan is at work to deceive the very elect, and now is our time to work with vigilance. Our books and papers are to be brought before the notice of the people; the gospel of present truth is to be given to our cities without delay. Shall we not arouse to our duties?—Christian Service, 152. PM 311.1