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


4—Conference Administrators

God Has Chosen You

The Lord Jesus expects more of you than you give; yes, a great deal more. He has called and chosen you. Every man, according to his several ability, has been given his work. You are to occupy a place as a laborer together with God, and as His agent, you are to gather other agencies, and unite them with those already in the work, that the instrumentalities for winning souls to look to Christ may be as many as possible. 9MR 158.1

Angels of God are soliciting you to work in fellowship with them, doing the will of God on earth as verily and unitedly and devotedly as they do the work appointed them in heaven and earth. These angels are surveying the ground occupied by the individual members of the church. They see the advantage gained by Satan when men and women neglect their God-appointed work. They see this work neglected or done in a bungling manner by those who claim to be Christians, and they sorrow over the souls that are lost in consequence of this neglect. 9MR 158.2

They cannot take your place, or discharge your duty. Could they do this they would do it gladly; for they know that your eternal welfare depends upon the use you make of your entrusted talents, your intellect, your reason. They cannot do your work, but they stand ready to cooperate with human agencies as they work to draw souls to Jesus Christ, striving to recover them through the infinite gift made for their redemption.—Manuscript 7, 1891, pp. 19-20. 9MR 158.3

Meet God's Standard

I have the word of the Lord for presidents of conferences. They should shoulder the responsibilities involved in the trusts reposed in them. In your work, do not try to meet a human standard, but the standard of God's work. If you will not do this, if you will not seek the Lord most earnestly, if you will not be burden bearers, but choose to lay your whole weight of responsibilities upon the president of the General Conference, then, week by week, month by month, you are disqualifying yourselves for the work. You should leave it, and engage in common business transactions, which do not so decidedly involve eternal responsibilities. 9MR 158.4

Presidents of conferences, I appeal to you in the name of the Lord Jesus: “Seek ye the Lord while He may be found, call ye upon Him while He is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and He will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon” (Isaiah 55:6, 7). 9MR 159.1

You are to be self-denying missionaries, men of thought, men who will pray for divine enlightenment, and who will be faithful and true to responsibilities. Sit at the feet of Jesus, and learn His will. There must be zealous activity on your part. Teach not your ideas, your plans, your notions, your maxims, but teach the word of the Lord. 9MR 159.2

Your weekly seasons of prayer will not qualify any one of you for your great and solemn responsibilities if, after these seasons, you feel that your work is done, and, having looked into the great moral looking glass, you go away and forget what manner of man you were. It is not merely one day of service that will suffice for the soul's need. You must be constantly coming to the storehouse to feed on the flesh and blood of the Son of God. Religion is not to be cheapened in 1896 or 1897.—Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 343-344. 9MR 159.3

Receive Counsel from God

How many of the presidents of our conferences have armed themselves with the mind that is in Christ? How many, by unceasing watchfulness and prayer, have strengthened the things which remain. I have been shown that instead of going to God for wisdom, our ministers have gone to the president of the General Conference. But the Lord has not made him your mediator. He has not been invested with a supply of wisdom for the presidents of the State conferences. 9MR 159.4

Jesus is the fountainhead of wisdom, and our supply must be received from Him. Those who look to the president of the General Conference are crippled and dwarfed, whereas if they would look to God they would find grace and strength to help in every time of need. “If any man lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not” (James 1:5).—Manuscript 2, 1883, pp. 3, 4. 9MR 159.5

Daily Consecration

No man is to be trusted with high responsibilities unless he takes himself in hand daily and, through grace given, sets his heart in order. Often the ones who do the greatest harm are those who accept positions of trust, but who have not inquired at every step, “Is this the way of the Lord?” The one who allows his heart to become hardened by Satan's temptations, who permits his natural disposition to gain the victory, fails to receive the impress of heaven. He becomes sapless and impoverished, and bears only wild fruit.—Manuscript 40, 1899, p. 3. 9MR 160.1

Study to Follow Scripture Teaching

The rebuke of God is upon presidents of conferences, and ministers in sacred office, who make light of these gross evils [various and sundry weaknesses and maladministration], and pass them by as matters undeserving attention. In the future there will be more instead of fewer missions [reference here is to evangelistic centers established in cities, popular in the 1880's and 1890's, especially in opening up the work.] established to do God's work, to hold the standard high; and those who are placed at the head of these missions should be persons of pure, elevated, noble character; persons who will study the Scriptures to some purpose, that they may know the way of the Lord and keep it; who will take that holy Word as the director of their course of action, the light of the soul. If they do thus accept the Bible as their counselor and guide, they will walk under the direction of the Father of Lights, “with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning” (James 1:17).—Letter 24, 1890, p. 9. 9MR 160.2

Place Men in Office Who Will Listen to God's Counsel

Place not men in positions of holy office who will not listen to God's counsel concerning His way and His will. There are influences working mightily against the very work God requires to be done.—Letter 158, 1906, p. 4. 9MR 160.3

Office Does Not Automatically Confer Wisdom

When a worker is selected for the presidency of a conference, that office itself does not bring to him power of capability that he did not have before. A high position does not give to the character Christian virtues. The man who supposes that his individual mind is capable of planning and devising for all branches of the work, reveals a great lack of wisdom. No one human mind is capable of carrying the many and varied responsibilities of a conference embracing thousands of people and many branches of work. 9MR 160.4

But a greater danger than this has been revealed to me in the feeling that has been growing among our workers that ministers and other laborers in the cause should depend upon the mind of certain leading workers to define their duties. One man's mind and judgment is not to be considered capable of controlling and molding a conference. The individual and the church have responsibilities of their own. 9MR 161.1

God has given to every man some talent or talents to use and improve. In using these talents he increases his capability to serve. God has given to each individual judgment, and this gift He wants His workers to use and improve. The president of a conference must not consider that his individual judgment is to be the judgment of all.—Letter 340, 1907 (Testimonies for the Church 9:277-8). 9MR 161.2

Position Gives No Favor with God

Let no human being suppose that position or authority will give him one jot of favor with God. We can come to God only through the chosen Mediator, His only begotten Son, who knew no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth.—Letter 67, 1902, p. 8. 9MR 161.3

Trust in God to Accomplish the Task

You may feel sorry that you cannot do at once all that you feel should be done, but do your best, as God's helping hand, and His blessing will surely come upon you. In all your dangers, in all your difficulties, in all your thinking and planning, in every undertaking, place yourself firmly on the word of the living God, pleading His promises. Thus it is that your faith makes all things possible. Cling to the mighty One. Continue to say, I will not fail nor be discouraged.—Letter 349, 1906, p. 10. 9MR 161.4

Drop Responsibilities on Others

Men in responsible positions should credit others with some sense, with some ability of judgment and foresight, and look upon them as capable of doing the work committed to their hands. Our leading brethren have made a great mistake in marking out all the directions that the workers should follow, and this has resulted in deficiency, in a lack of a caretaking spirit in the worker, because they have relied upon others to do all their planning, and have themselves taken no responsibility. Should the men who have taken this responsibility upon themselves step out of our ranks, or die, what a state of things would be found in our institutions. 9MR 161.5

Allow Others to Plan, Devise and Execute

Leading men should place responsibilities upon others, and allow them to plan and devise and execute, so that they may obtain an experience. Give them a word of counsel when necessary, but do not take away the work because you think the brethren are making mistakes. May God pity the cause when one man's mind and one man's plan is followed without question. 9MR 162.1

All our workers must have room to exercise their own judgment and discretion. God has given men talents which He means that they should use. He has given them minds, and He means that they should become thinkers, and do their own thinking and planning, rather than depend upon others to think for them. 9MR 162.2

Counsel Often Repeated But Unheeded

I think I have laid out this matter many times before you, but I see no change in your actions. We want every responsible man to drop responsibilities upon others. Set others at work that will require them to plan, and to use judgment. Do not educate them to rely upon your judgment. Young men must be trained up to be thinkers. My brethren, do not for a moment think that your way is perfection, and that those who are connected with you must be your shadows, must echo your words, repeat your ideas, and execute your plans.—Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 302-303. 9MR 162.3

Not to Assume Responsibilities Belonging to Christ

When a man is placed as president of a conference, it is not to be supposed that he is to mold and fashion the minds of the workers in that conference after his own human ideas; and that if men do not follow his ideas, they may be brought to terms by his saying to them, “You cannot receive wages from this conference unless you do as I tell you.” 9MR 162.4

It is the duty of the presidents of our conferences to deal kindly and impartially with all the workers under their charge. They should counsel with their fellow laborers regarding the wisest course of action to be followed in their labors. In meekness and humility they should set an example of earnest zeal and integrity. But never should they assume the responsibilities that belong to Jesus Christ, and endeavor to act as an infallible guide to other workers. 9MR 163.1

False Concepts of the President's Office

In the minds of many there is a false idea regarding the duties of a conference president. By a faithful example, it is his privilege to be a help spiritually to all the churches. He is to counsel with his ministering brethren, and with all the other workers, encouraging them to come into such relation to God that He can direct them in their appointed work. 9MR 163.2

The first qualification for the president of a conference is that he himself has learned to seek and to receive counsel from God. “He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” (Micah 6:8).—Letter 378, 1907, p. 4. 9MR 163.3

Danger of Exalted Opinion

There is danger of ministers and presidents of conferences assuming to know too much themselves, and manifesting little genuine love for, and confidence in, our people. The people are to be educated to search the Scriptures for themselves. The Holy Spirit is to work, molding every man after the similitude of Christ, but they are to be subject one to another. 9MR 163.4

The great mistake of those who minister in word and doctrine has been in failing to consider that God works in His church as well as with the preacher. They must see in the individual members those whom God has selected as His chosen ones, to do a work in well-matured, thoughtful labor for the saving of the souls of those who are in the darkness of error. The ministers must give ample encouragement. Then there will be less contention, less striving for the mastery to secure the highest places where they will become leaders.... 9MR 163.5

The Lord honors and gives wisdom to the men who are content to receive instruction at the hands of God. His voice is heard in His Word. Their meekness, their submission to God, their love for the brethren, are the credentials they bear to the world that God has sent Christ His Son into the world. The truth is adapted to the soul's pressing needs and to the demands of a perishing world.—Manuscript 115a, 1897, pp. 9, 10. 9MR 163.6

Become More Efficient

I have been shown that the presidents of our conferences are not all doing their duty. They are not all becoming more and more efficient. Their experience is cheapened, and as they do not exercise their powers by taxing them, trusting in God to give them efficiency, their work is defective in every respect. The mere possession of qualifications is not enough; the ability must be diligently used. 9MR 164.1

Can nothing be devised to arouse the presidents of conferences to a sense of their obligations? Would they could see that their position of trust only increases and intensifies their responsibility. If each president would feel the necessity of diligent improvement of his talents in devising ways and means for arousing ministers to work as they should, what a change would take place in every conference.... 9MR 164.2

Will the presidents of conferences and the ministers of the people seek the Lord earnestly, put away their sins, empty their souls of their idols, or will they continue to go on halfhearted, neglecting solemn duties, while Satan triumphs, whispering to his evil angels, and to his human confederacy in evil, “hopeless, irredeemable bankruptcy”? Let there be no more wasted hours, neglected duties, despised privileges. Open your eyes to what is taking place around you in the signs of the times. The warnings of God have been given; why not heed them?—Manuscript 8, 1892, pp. 7, 8. 9MR 164.3

Remember the Sacrifices of the Pioneers

I am deeply grieved as I see that those now in positions of trust in our work do not think of the sacrifices made in the past to establish the work in its various branches. It hurts me to see these new workers, who have made few sacrifices and borne few burdens, demanding the highest wages. They know nothing of what it has cost to bring the work to its present condition.—Manuscript 19, 1892. 9MR 164.4

Tenure of Office

I am more than ever convinced that the same men should not be presidents of the same conferences year after year. They are to do their work after the divine similitude. And the same men should not be held year after year as advisors in committees or boards. Changes must be made; for these men come to think themselves a necessity; that the work will not prosper without their wisdom. 9MR 165.1

There is great danger that their wisdom will become foolishness because they trust in themselves in the place of making God their trust. Rather than to hide in Jesus Christ and be worked by the Holy Spirit, they plan and devise methods to carry out the projects of their own minds, in order to make a show. 9MR 165.2

Then the artful, deceptive working of Satan comes in, and men handling sacred responsibilities move in strange ways, and handle strange fire. They do not feel the sacredness of the work, and the importance of working in humility and contrition before God.—Letter 89, 1896, p. 1. 9MR 165.3

Counsel to Presidents with Marked Deficiencies Divided Interests

You have neglected an important part of your work as a president of a conference. You have not educated the people to work with all their means and abilities, engaging all their earthly powers in the cause of God. You have been raising a family when you should have been bringing many sons and daughters to God. You have been hedging up your own way, as many of our ministers are doing, in which they show their great want of wisdom and the possession of that true missionary spirit to deny self, lift the cross, and push the work of the Master. 9MR 165.4

Should your ideas be narrowing instead of broadening and enlarging? Yet this has been the case. You have had secular interests which have taxed you both mentally and physically, exhausting those powers which should have been given without reserve to the work of God. 9MR 165.5

But what need have I to present this, and more than this, to you? Have I not presented this matter before you in the conference and urged it upon ministers and presidents? You have not been faithful in your conference; while you have tied men to yourself, you have not united them to the self-sacrificing Redeemer. You have not harnessed them to the car of progress. Your conference is in a deplorable condition, all for the want of a thorough-going, judicious, minister who will bind off the edges that his work may not ravel out and present an unpolished appearance. 9MR 165.6

Fair Treatment of Workers

Yours is not the only conference that is in this condition. The condition of Iowa makes angels weep; Wisconsin is years behind; and Illinois, in some respects, is at loose ends. The ministers that ought to be encouraged in the field, have no inducement. They cannot live upon the small wages allowed them. The Word of God declares, “The hire of your labourers ... is kept back by fraud” (James 5:4). This is generally understood to apply to wealthy men who employ servants and do not pay them for their labor; but it means more than this; it applies with great force to those that are enlightened by the Spirit of God, who act out and work in any degree upon the same principle that these men do in hiring servants to do their work, and then grind them down to the lowest price. 9MR 166.1

A Faithful Work in the Churches

There has been work you ought to have done, that you have not done: To preach the truth everywhere just as it is, pleasant or unpleasant. To impress upon the churches and individuals their God-given responsibilities in tithes and offerings, in selling and giving alms; impressing them that God had entrusted them with means that must be used to advance His work, that they were handling the Lord's money. 9MR 166.2

The question is asked, “Will a man rob God?” and the reply comes, just as it will come from the conference over which you have presided, “Wherein have we robbed thee?” The answer comes from God's messenger, “In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: ... even this whole nation” (Malachi 3:8). The same sacred obligation rests upon you and upon the people. 9MR 166.3

Undivided Attention Called For

You have not done your duty as an overseer of the churches of God.... You have abilities, but home cares and home responsibilities have borne heavily upon you. These things hedge you about so that it makes it almost an impossibility for you to use your tact, your ability and strength, to the great work entrusted to you. Ministers who fill their houses with children take cares upon themselves which God never designed they should. The management of these self-imposed burdens detracts from their usefulness, their devotion, their time, and their duties in the service of God. 9MR 166.4

All this is because they do not feel the necessity of having their works correspond with their faith. The cause of the Lord does not stand before them as the all important thing. They do not see that it demands the entire manhood. His work is not made the highest and holiest of all; self and selfish plans, and the execution of them, interpose between them and God's holy work. And the children come forth from your management showing deficiency in training and molding of character. 9MR 167.1

The churches are suffering from the same management. Stitches are dropped all along the way, and not carefully picked up and kept up. Oh, my brother, there is work for you to do. It is a solemn thing to die, but it is a far more solemn thing to live. Your ideas are not high, devoted, broad, and noble. The whole conference feels the want of an education that they do not possess. There are men that would come up to the help of the Lord if they only had someone to lead the way. 9MR 167.2

Lacking in Devotion, Spirituality, and Self-Sacrifice

There are grumblers, murmurers, and skeptics, and your labors have not been of that character to produce a healthy state of things in the conference. Unbelief has not been suppressed, and faith encouraged in the “Testimonies.” A high state of spirituality has not existed, therefore spiritual things have not been discerned. There is a great want of spirituality, devotion, and self-sacrifice and self-consecration to the work, for these times as they are. What can be done for the people? What can be done for the president? 9MR 167.3

Under the present administration there will not be much change for the better; things will not be placed on a much better basis while murmurings in regard to the General Conference and excuses for the neglect of duty are encouraged rather than repressed. I mourn for you, a man possessing ability and yet so little advancement to show in your conference. 9MR 167.4

Who Suffers from Deficient Administration?

You have robbed the workers of their just dues by the small amount you have granted them. You have belittled the sacred work of God. The ministers have had to suffer in consequence of your not doing your duty to them and to the churches. You wanted to please, and not incur displeasure. But you have incurred the displeasure of the Chief Shepherd, for you have, both by precept and example, allowed the people to do wrong. What can be done in this matter? What can be done? 9MR 167.5

Will the ministers awake? Will the presidents take the “Testimonies” of mercy which God has given them? Will they do something, and do it now? Will they heed the prayer of Jesus, “I sanctify myself that they may be sanctified”? Generally, the people rise no higher than the minister or the president. If he is a devoted man, losing self and selfish interest in Jesus Christ, his example will have a telling power in that direction on the people. 9MR 168.1

There was neglect anciently on the part of Israel. God established them in the land of Canaan and said, “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee” (1 Kings 8:57), but there was to be an aggressive warfare carried on between them and the inhabitants of the land. His words to Joshua were, “And there remaineth yet very much land to be possessed” (Joshua 13:1). This was a rebuke to them. God would have had this land filled with His own people who loved and feared Him, but to their shame the land was not taken up, and the idolatrous Canaanites were permitted to come in and gain strength, until God's name became less and less a power in their midst, and His glory less and less manifested with them. 9MR 168.2

What Wise Generalship Will Accomplish

This applies in one sense to Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin, and many other states where there has been time enough, and enough of opportunities to have extended the truth and to have made it a power to lead the churches up to God. He has entrusted you with capital, might, means, and intellect. He has given you opportunities and privileges, but these presidents have not had the devotion, the wisdom, courage, and unswerving fidelity to make the most of these blessings, to plant the cross of Christ in triumph in their conference. 9MR 168.3

Had the president of Illinois Conference counseled, encouraged, and sustained the ministers there, and had they labored with wise generalship and devotion, souls might have been saved that are now in the ranks of Satan. They might have been keeping the Sabbath today. This is so in every conference to a greater or less degree, but it is especially so in the Illinois Conference. God pity the people, is my prayer.—Letter 6, 1883, pp. 6-10. 9MR 168.4