The Publishing Ministry


The Publishing Ministry


Since the beginning of Adventist publishing work in 1849, billions of copies of our books and magazines have been distributed. For the most part these publications have been placed in the homes of judgment-bound men and women by literature evangelists and missionary-minded lay persons. PM 5.1

At this writing nearly twenty thousand colporteurs are in service throughout the world, but this number is far from adequate to meet the need. God calls for message-filled books, magazines, and tracts to be scattered everywhere like the leaves of autumn. As church members unite with literature evangelists in spreading the good news, the task will be accomplished. PM 5.2

Ellen White declared: PM 5.3

“The publications sent forth from our printing houses are to prepare a people to meet God. Throughout the world they are to do the same work that was done by John the Baptist for the Jewish nation. By startling messages of warning, God's prophet awakened men from worldly dreaming. Through him God called backsliding Israel to repentance. By his presentation of truth he exposed popular delusions. In contrast with the false theories of his time, truth in his teaching stood forth as an eternal certainty. “Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand,” was John's message. Matthew 3:2. This same message, through the publications from our printing houses, is to be given to the world today.... PM 5.4

“In a large degree through our publishing is to be accomplished the work of that other angel [of Revelation 18] who comes down from heaven with great power and who lightens the earth with his glory.”—Testimonies for the Church 7:139, 140. PM 5.5

In the year in which these admonitions were given (1902), a pocket-sized book of seventy-three pages, Manual for Canvassers, provided literature evangelists with Ellen White's counsels concerning book distribution. It was made up of materials drawn together, under the direction of the author, from the Testimonies and other sources. In 1920 this little book was enlarged and issued as Colporteur Evangelist. PM 5.6

With the development of more comprehensive indexes to the voluminous writings of Ellen White, it became possible to expand and enrich this manual. The present enlarged guide to literature evangelists was published in 1953 under the title Colporteur Ministry, a work of 176 pages. With subject matter conveniently arranged in topical order, it serves well, but as the name implies, its counsels are confined almost entirely to the work of the colporteur. PM 5.7

Meanwhile, Ellen White's counsels to authors were drawn together and published under the title Counsels to Writers and Editors. Initially issued in 1939 in a limited edition, this volume became available generally as a standard E. G. White book in 1946. PM 5.8

But several areas of vital concern to the publishing ministry were not treated in either of these two specialized volumes. One such matter was the establishment, operation, and management of publishing houses. The present volume covers this area and also includes counsels on the publishing work as a whole. PM 5.9

The White Estate staff has been joined by the personnel of the General Conference Publishing Department in a wide search in all E. G. White sources, published and unpublished, for materials to develop the present volume. The counsels selected lay out quite clearly heaven's design for this vital arm of the church. That The Publishing Ministry may be a useful guide to all who are called to proclaim the glad tidings of salvation through the printed page is the sincere wish of the PM 5.10

Board of Trustees of the Ellen G. White Estate

Washington, D. C.,

January 1, 1983.