Manuscript Releases, vol. 9 [Nos. 664-770]


3—Responsibilities and Duties of the President

Recognize and Develop Talent

Those who are placed in responsible positions should feel it their duty to recognize talent. They should learn how to use men, and how to advise them. If mistakes are made, they should not withdraw themselves, thinking it easier to do the work themselves than to educate others. Those who are learning should be patiently instructed, precept upon precept, line upon line, here a little and there a little. Every effort should be made, by precept and example, to teach them right methods. 9MR 151.1

Many of those who have responsibilities laid upon them, who are chosen to be presidents of conferences, are not selected because of their perfection of character, or because of their superior knowledge, but because the Lord signified that if they would be humble enough to learn and not think they were all ready to graduate, He would teach them His way. There is much for men in responsible positions to learn. 9MR 151.2

When men feel that their ideas are without a flaw, it is time for them to change their position from president to that of a learner. When they think that their ideas, their judgment, should be accepted without question, they show that they are unfit for this position. God sees not as man sees. Whatever position a man may be called to fill, his judgment is not to be regarded as unerring. His entrusted responsibility makes it far more needful than it otherwise would be for him to be free from all egotism, and willing to receive counsel. 9MR 151.3

A Great Evil

The idea that one man's mind and judgment can mold and direct important interests, and that he can be regarded as a voice for the people, is a great evil, and has [endangered], and still continues to endanger, the one who is placed in a position of responsibility, and those also who cooperate with him. God has not given to any one man all the wisdom, and wisdom will not die with him. Those placed in positions of trust should modestly regard the opinions of others as worthy of respect and likely to be as correct as their own. They should remember that God has made other men just as valuable as they are, and that God is willing to teach and guide these men. 9MR 151.4

Those placed in positions of trust should have connected with them as helpers men whose minds do not run in exactly the same lines as their own. To every man has been given talents, according to his several abilities. One mind may have a larger scope than another. When men are linked together, each supplies the other's deficiency, and thus they are a complete whole. But one man cannot bear the responsibilities which necessarily fall upon him if he is placed in sacred office. God would have His people linked together, doing His work in perfect harmony.—Manuscript 55, 1897, p. 3. 9MR 152.1

To Know that the Men Working with Him Have Clean Hands

The president of the conference should learn whether the business transactions are carried on with the strictest integrity. He should know whether they are presided over by men who have clean hands. His indignation should be aroused against the slightest approach to a mean, selfish action. Let one wrong deed be practiced and approved, and the second and third will follow in the same line of fraudulent deception.—Letter 4, 1896, p. 3. 9MR 152.2

To Train Others

Although it may appear to you difficult to disentangle yourself from responsibilities which others cannot take, it is your duty to train others to stand in responsible positions that should you need a change and rest, which is your due, you can have it.—Letter 7, 1886. 9MR 152.3

Open Unworked Fields

I call upon the presidents of our conferences to exert their God-given influence to open the fields that have never yet been worked. These fields stand as a reproach to our people. Organize your work intelligently, and then proceed to action. Let your simplicity of speech and your simplicity and neatness of dress speak of your work as missionaries. Educational advantages will be provided, and the Lord will go before those who will take up the work in the spirit of self-sacrifice. 9MR 152.4

Study the life and teachings of Christ. Men may bid for your services, offering large inducements. Remember that Christ paid for you the price of His own life, and that you are not your own. You are to glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are His.—Manuscript 94, 1903, p. 15. 9MR 152.5

To Feel Responsibility for the Large Cities

I spoke of the duty resting upon conference presidents to understand the necessities of our large, congested cities, and of the necessity that special attention shall be given to these neglected, unworked cities, and I referred to the fact that the president of our General Conference has neglected his duty regarding this work. It is time that there shall be a general waking up to our responsibilities in this matter. There is a great work neglected that should be faithfully undertaken.—Letter 58a, 1910, p. 1. 9MR 153.1

To Foster all Lines of Work

Every department of our work should be planned on considerate, generous lines. Every branch of the work should protect, build up, and strengthen every other branch. Men of varied abilities and characteristics are employed for carrying forward the various branches of the work, and each must give his own branch special effort; but it is the privilege of each to study and labor for the health and welfare of the whole body of which he is a member.—Letter 1, 1901, p. 1. 9MR 153.2

The High Standard for the Conference President

You need sanctifying grace. I tell you, my brother, you need to reach a higher standard. Your position and work require you to be a guide and example to others in patience, longsuffering, kindness, and compassion. You need to be closely connected with God. In order to bear your responsibilities aright, you must be an ever-growing Christian. Your faith must be strong, your consecration complete, your love perfect, your zeal ardent. You must make steady advancement in the knowledge and the love of Christ that you may witness in those under your charge the precious fruits of the Spirit. You need spiritual discernment. Keep the eye single to the glory of God, that your profiting may appear unto all. 9MR 153.3

Do not gather to yourself too many burdens, to worry and perplex you. Grasp the promises of God. Press close to the bleeding side of Jesus. Encourage tenderness and compassion. Improve every means of grace, that your love may abound more and more, that you may have wisdom from above, that you “may approve things that are excellent, ... being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.” Your present and future usefulness depend on your living connection with God.... 9MR 153.4

Not Severe Or Critical

Your position grants you no liberty to be severe, critical, or over-bearing. Peter exhorted the elders, “Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, he shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away. Likewise ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time” (1 Peter 5:1-6). 9MR 154.1

The church upon the earth is not perfect. The church militant is not the church triumphant. Earth is not heaven. The church is composed of erring men and women who will need patient, painstaking effort, that they may be educated, trained, and disciplined by precept and example, to do their work with acceptance here in this life, and to be crowned with glory and immortality in the future life. 9MR 154.2

Cultivate Tact and Gentleness

Unless you who are placed in important positions in the church shall cultivate tact far more than you have done in dealing with human minds, there will be great loss to yourselves and to the church. There is work for one in your position to do as he shall meet with alienation, bitterness, envies, jealousies. There is need of wise, well-directed, Christ-like labor, that things may be set in order. 9MR 154.3

“The wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace” (James 3:17, 18). I entreat you to make diligent work for eternity. We have but little time in this life, and we want to be Christlike. 9MR 154.4

Never stir up strife by a domineering spirit. Put away everything like rough dealing, and do seek for a closer walk with God. You used to be more meek and humble than you now are. You need the refining grace of God, the meekness of Christ. There is a work allotted you that no one can do for you in “holding forth the word of life,” practically setting forth a Christian example. “Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain” (Philippians 2:14-16). 9MR 154.5

Patience and Kindness Vs. Authority

From the light God has been pleased to give me, I know that men whom He has placed in responsible positions come to feel after standing in the office for years, that they are to exercise more authority than their position requires. God will sanction no tyranny, no sharp dictation, for this naturally repels, and often it stirs up the worst passions of the human heart. 9MR 155.1

But if men in responsible positions will exercise the patience and kindness of Jesus, it will be more effective than authority or exhortation or strong arguments. The silent influence of a Christian character will fall upon men like a sunbeam. May God help you to do right because it is right.—Letter 3, 1888, pp. 6, 7, 8. 9MR 155.2

Conscientious Leaders

In our institutions and in all our work there is need of conscientious, godly men, men who have been wrestlers in their life work, who have maintained faith and a clear conscience, men who are seeking not for the applause of the people but for the favor of God, men through whom the Lord can work. 9MR 155.3

We want men who will make it their first business to wrestle with God in prayer, and then go forth in the wisdom of the inspiration that God can give. Then we are a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men. If men would not have their minds darkened, their hearts hardened, they must obey God at any cost to themselves. They are not only to pray to God but to act their prayers.—Letter 121, 1900, p. 7. 9MR 155.4

Never be Discouraged

Every worker in the Lord's vineyard will have trials and disappointments, and grievous annoyances to bear. If the worker gives way to discouragement, his soul is wearied and his courage sapped. His only hope is in God. If he will look steadfastly to Jesus for his orders, as well as for his inspiration, he will be enabled to maintain self-control. 9MR 155.5

There are times when difficulties are increased, when, though the Lord says, Go forward, some feel called upon to oppose His plans. To fight against the prejudices and opposition of those of like faith requires more taxing effort than the work of preaching the truth to unbelievers.—Manuscript 19, 1892, p. 2. 9MR 156.1

Men of Moral Independence Needed

In our work, we need men of moral independence, uncontaminated and unshackled, so that when a principle of religion or duty is at stake they will stand firm in defense of the truth. We need men who will not hold their peace when they see evils coming in and wrongs being done. We need men who will refuse to give consent by silence to unjust actions.—Letter 116, 1905, p. 5. 9MR 156.2

Cultivate Broad Views

The men who stand as leaders in any part of the solemn work of the last gospel message must cultivate and cherish broad views and ideas. It is the privilege of all who bear responsibilities in the work of the gospel to be apt learners in the school of Christ. 9MR 156.3

The professed follower of Christ must not be led by the dictates of his own will; his mind must be trained to think Christ's thoughts, and enlightened to comprehend the will and way of God. Such a believer will be a follower of Christ's methods of work.—Manuscript 21, 1908, p. 1. 9MR 156.4

Piety and Dignity and Common Sense

Leaders in the work cannot be men who will be unsympathetic, sharp and overbearing. These brethren in high places and in low places who turn off responsibilities will become as children in understanding. They cannot grow unless encouraged. Oh, that all in responsible positions may be fully qualified with symmetrical characters themselves to represent the kindness and love of Jesus in the great and glorious work to which they are called, cherishing simplicity, yet with Christlike dignity in harmony with sacred truth. Now if a man has not the piety and the dignity combined, what can we expect will be the characters of the youth and the workers in connection with him in the work? 9MR 156.5

We want more men of real genuine common sense, putting forth their highest energies to press on and attain a high moral and spiritual elevation that all who are brought in contact with them will respect them. They are themselves as workers together with God to move, not uncertainly, but surely, convinced that they are on solid ground, and the counsel and judgment of such men may be depended on because they seek counsel of God.—Letter 6, 1892, pp. 4, 4a. 9MR 157.1

Molding Influence of the Spirit Needed

Many of the presidents of the several conferences do not answer the measurement of God. The awakening power of God, the molding influence of the Holy Spirit, are needed by all who in any way bear responsibilities in the Lord's work. Without this they are unfit for the work, and should be dismissed. If they have not understood their work, and the qualifications essential, it is vain to expect that they will so understand in the future, the clear, decided forcible work which God requires.—Letter 24a, 1896. 9MR 157.2