Pastoral Ministry

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Pastoral Ministry

Preface

For over half a century Ellen White worked shoulder to shoulder with ministers of the gospel, and shared with them inspired counsel. She held a high view of their calling, as is clear from statements such as the following: “The gospel minister is engaged in a very solemn, sacred work” (EV 184); “The minister stands as God's mouthpiece to the people, and in thought, in word, in act, he is to represent his Lord” (Gospel Workers, 20). PaM 13.1

From the rich treasury of her writings, the compilers of this book have brought together a selection of inspired counsels that apply most directly to the life and work of the local church pastor. Research was done by the General Conference Ministerial Association using the CD-ROM, 1990 edition, of The Published Ellen G. White Writings. It was discovered that Mrs. White used some derivative of the word Clergy 114 times, Minister 10,762 times, Pastor 385 times, Preacher 735 times, and Shepherd 1,540 times. Research focused especially on these quotes. The goal was to be complete, but not exhaustive; that is, to include material on every area of pastoral ministry, but not to quote every statement she made on each. Thus the principles are set forth, but not repeated unnecessarily. PaM 13.2

Quotations usually include full paragraphs. If a paragraph is interrupted and continued later, this is indicated. In each case, the source is given, so the reader may search out and study the quotation in its original context. As a rule, quotation marks are not used around selections from the inspired writings, inasmuch as all text not in bold face, enclosed in brackets, or otherwise noted, is from Ellen White. Subheadings have been supplied by the compilers, and appear in bold type. In general, these include words or phrases borrowed from the quotations they introduce. PaM 13.3

A large portion of Mrs. White's writings are anecdotal; that is, they are accounts of events that happened in her life, the life of another person, or the history of the church. Principles are set forth, but often indirectly. To find these principle requires more effort on the part of the reader than would be necessary if the writings were straightforward essays. However, this style makes interesting reading, and makes clear the fact that Ellen White's work for the church was a hands-on work. PaM 13.4

Readers should look for the central principles contained in her counsel, and then apply those principles in a practical way in their own time and culture. She herself wrote, “regarding the testimonies, nothing is ignored; nothing is cast aside; but time and place must be considered” (1 SM 57). Thus, her counsels regarding camp meetings apply most directly to evangelistic meetings today, for in her day at least half of those who attended the typical Adventist camp meeting were not Seventh-day Adventists. PaM 13.5

Compilations of Mrs. White's writings are helpful, for they offer a convenient way to see quickly what she has said on a variety of subjects. The goal in producing compilations is to represent her thought accurately and without bias. Thus, in most cases, before any selection of material is made, the full range of her writings on a given topic is brought together. This method has been followed in preparing this book. Where Ellen White has said much, much has been included. Where she has said little, little has been included. PaM 14.1

The White Estate acknowledges with appreciation the work of the staff of the General Conference Ministerial Association in producing this valuable compilation. It is the earnest prayer both of the Ministerial Association and of the White Estate that as you read this book you may receive a rich blessing. May your Christian experience deepen and your ministry be strengthened as you study from the early chapters, which deal with the pastor's personal relationship with Christ, to the final chapter, which summarizes lessons from the ministry of Jesus, the model Pastor. PaM 14.2

Board of Trustees of the Ellen G. White Estate, Inc.