The Publishing Ministry


Chapter 33—Distribution of Tracts and Periodicals

Distribute Tracts at Fairs—We should improve every such opportunity as that presented by the St. Louis Fair. At all similar gatherings there should be present men whom God can use. Leaflets containing the light of present truth should be scattered among the people like the leaves of autumn. To many who attend these gatherings these leaflets would be as the leaves of the tree of life, which are for the healing of the nations.—Welfare Ministry, 288. PM 347.1

Silent Agent Repeats Spoken Word—At our large gatherings, make all the discourses highly reformative. Arouse the intellect. Bring all the talents possible into the efforts made, and then follow up the effort with tracts and pamphlets, with articles written in simple form to make the subjects brought before them distinctly stated, that the word spoken may be repeated by the silent agent. Short, interesting articles should be arranged in cheap [inexpensive] style and scattered everywhere. They should be at hand upon every occasion where the truth is brought before the minds of those to whom it is new and strange.—Manuscript 1, 1875. PM 347.2

Christ-filled Literature in SDA Restaurants—Those who come to our restaurants should be supplied with reading matter. Leaflets treating on the lessons of Christ should be given them. The burden of supplying this reading matter should be shared by all our people. All who come should be given something to read. It may be that many will leave the tract unread, but one among those in whose hands you place it may be searching for light. He will read and study what you give him, and then, perhaps, will pass it on to others.—Letter 157, 1902. PM 347.3

Women of Principle Needed in Literature Distribution—Women of firm principle and decided character are needed, women who believe that we are indeed living in the last days, and that we have the last solemn message of warning to be given to the world. They should feel that they are engaged in an important work in spreading the rays of light which Heaven has shed upon them. Nothing will deter this class from their duty. Nothing will discourage them in the work. They have faith to work for time and for eternity. They fear God, and will not be diverted from the work by the temptation of lucrative situations and attractive prospects. The Sabbath of the fourth commandment is sacredly kept by them, because God has placed His sanction upon it, and has bidden them to keep it holy. They will preserve their integrity at any cost to themselves. These are the ones whom God can use in the tract and missionary work. These are the ones who will correctly represent our faith, whose words will be fitly spoken, like apples of gold in pictures of silver. These can in many ways do a precious work for God in scattering tracts and judiciously distributing the Signs of the Times. Sisters, God calls you to work in the harvest-field and help gather in the sheaves.—The Review and Herald, December 19, 1878. PM 348.1

Papers to Report Colporteur Experiences—Let those who gain such an experience in working for the Lord write an account of it for our papers, that others may be encouraged. Let the canvasser tell of the joy and blessings he has received in his ministry as an evangelist. These reports should find a place in our papers, for they are far-reaching in their influence. They will be as sweet fragrance in the church, a savor of life unto life. Thus it is seen that God works with those who cooperate with Him.—Testimonies for the Church 6:336. PM 348.2

Literature to Counteract Evil Literature—Let every Seventh-day Adventist ask himself, “What can I do to proclaim the third angel's message?” Christ came to this world to give this message to His servant to give to the churches. It is to be proclaimed to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people. How are we to give it? The distribution of our literature is one means by which the message is to be proclaimed. Let every believer scatter broadcast tracts and leaflets and books containing the message for this time. Colporteurs are needed who will go forth to circulate our publications everywhere.... PM 349.1

Satan is busy in this department of his work, scattering literature which is debasing the morals and poisoning the minds of the young. Infidel publications are scattered broadcast throughout the land. Why should not every member of the church be as deeply interested in sending forth publications that will elevate the minds of the people, and bring the truth directly before them? These papers and tracts are for the light of the world, and have often been instrumental in converting souls.—Christian Service, 145, 146. PM 349.2

Cooperation in Magazine Circulation—The question has been asked, Should the Watchman occupy territory outside of the Southern States? One night I seemed to be in a meeting where this question was being discussed. Some argued that it would not be wise for an effort to be made to push the circulation of the Watchman in all parts of the field. They said that the Review and Herald and the Signs of the Times should be given the right of way, and that the Watchman should not be allowed to interfere with the circulation of these two papers which have been so long in the field. They thought that our work with the Watchman should be confined to the Southern States. PM 349.3

Some were greatly astonished at these propositions. One of authority arose and said, The Lord God of Israel sees the selfishness of the human heart. Let those who are interested in our two older papers beware of allowing selfish plans to find a place in their work. The Watchman is to have a place in the field at large. It bears the message of truth as verily as do the Review and the Signs of the Times. You are to be careful not to hinder the Watchman in its work.... PM 349.4

Let those who have had success in the circulation of the Signs and Review remember that the Watchman also has a work to do. It will accomplish much good if it is given an opportunity to do its appointed work in all parts of the world. Its field is wherever subscribers can be found for it. [Watchman Magazine has been published under one name or another since 1891. In 1946, the name was changed to Our Times. And in May, 1951, to These Times. At the present time These Times is advertised and distributed around the world.]—SpT, Misc. 89-91. PM 350.1

“I Cannot Afford Our Church Papers”—There are those who profess to be brethren who do not take the Review, Signs, Instructor, or Good Health, but take one or more secular papers. Their children are deeply interested in reading the fictitious tales and love stories which are found in these papers, and which their father can afford to pay for, although claiming that he cannot afford to pay for our periodicals and publications on present truth.... PM 350.2

Parents should guard their children and teach them to cultivate a pure imagination and to shun, as they would a leper, the lovesick pen pictures presented in newspapers. Let publications upon moral and religious subjects be found on your tables and in your libraries, that your children may cultivate a taste for elevated reading.—The Adventist Home, 415, 416. PM 350.3

Increase Circulation of Church Periodicals—The Review and Herald and the Signs of the Times are cheap papers at the full price. The Review is a valuable paper; it contains matters of great interest to the church and should be placed in every family of believers. If any are too poor to take it, the church should, by subscription, raise the amount of the full price of the paper and supply the destitute families. How much better would this plan be than throwing the poor upon the mercies of the publishing house or the tract and missionary society. PM 350.4

The same course should be pursued toward the Signs. With slight variations, this paper has been increasing in interest and in moral worth as a pioneer sheet since its establishment. These periodicals are one in interest. They are two instrumentalities in the great field to do their specific work in disseminating light in this day of God's preparation. All should engage just as earnestly to build up the one as the other. PM 350.5

“The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and His ears are open unto their cry.” Christ will succor those who flee to Him for wisdom and strength. If they meet duty and trial with humility of soul, depending upon Jesus, His mighty angel will be round about them, and He whom they have trusted will prove an all-sufficient helper in every emergency. Those who occupy responsible positions should daily become more intimately acquainted with the excellency, the faithfulness, and the love of Christ. They should be able to exclaim with assurance: “I know whom I have believed.” These men should work as brethren, without one feeling of strife. Each should do his duty, knowing that the eye of God is searching motives and purposes, and reading the inmost feelings of the soul. The work is one. And if leading men do not let their own mind and their own feelings and ideas come in to rule and change the Lord's design, there will be the most perfect harmony between these two branches of the same work. PM 351.1

Our people should make greater efforts to extend the circulation of the Review. If our brethren and sisters would only manifest greater earnestness and put forth more persevering efforts to accomplish this, it would be done. Every family should have this paper. And if they would deny themselves their darling luxuries, tea and coffee, many who do not now have its weekly visits might pay for the messenger of light to come into their household. Almost every family takes one or more secular papers, and these frequently contain love stories and exciting tales of villainy and murder which injure the minds of all who read them. Those who consent to do without the Review and Herald lose much. Through its pages Christ may speak to them in warnings, in reproofs and counsel, which would change the current of their thoughts and be to them as the bread of life. PM 351.2

Our papers should not be filled with long discussions or long doctrinal arguments, which would weary the reader; but they should contain short and interesting doctrinal and practical articles. The price of our papers should not be made so low that no margin is left to work upon. The same interest which has been manifested to circulate the Signs of the Times should be shown in extending the circulation of the Review. If this is done, success will attend the effort. PM 352.1

We are upon the enchanted ground, and Satan is continually at work to rock our people to sleep in the cradle of carnal security. There is an indifference, a lack of zeal, that paralyzes all our efforts. Jesus was a zealous worker; and when His followers shall lean on Him, and work as He worked, they will see and realize corresponding results. An effort must be made to place a proper value on our publications and bring them back gradually to a proper basis. We should not be affected by the cry of speculation, money-making! We should press steadily forward, unmoved by censure, uncorrupted by applause. It will be a greater task to work back upon a proper basis than many suppose, but it must be done in order to save our institutions from embarrassment.—Testimonies for the Church 4:598-600. PM 352.2

Support for Review and Signs Urged—Do not neglect as you have done to recommend and urge the people everywhere to take the Review as well as the Signs of the Times. I think the Review publishing house has not been treated by you as it should have been. You had your mind fastened on one thing, the extension of the Signs, and you have let this absorb everything else. This is seen and felt by our people at large. You should come out in the Signs frequently and urge your brethren to take the Review, our church paper. But do not let there be a divorcing of your interests from the Review.—Letter 1, 1881. PM 352.3

Health and Temperance Journals—The people are in sad need of the light shining from the pages of our health and temperance journals. God desires to use these journals as mediums through which flashes of light shall arrest the attention of the people, and cause them to heed the warning of the message of the third angel.... PM 352.4

Ministers can and should do much to urge the circulation of the health journals. Every member of the church should work as earnestly for these journals as for our other periodicals. There should be no friction between the two.... PM 353.1

The circulation of the health journals will be a powerful agency in preparing the people to accept those special truths that are to fit them for the soon coming of the Son of man. PM 353.2

Health reform will reach a class and has reached a class that otherwise would never have been reached by the truth. There is a great necessity for labor being put forth to help the people, believers and unbelievers, at the present time by health talks, and health publications. I cannot see why the health books should not have a permanent place as well as the other publications notwithstanding human prejudices to the contrary.—Colporteur Ministry, 134. PM 353.3