Pastoral Ministry


Chapter 26—Recruiting and Training Volunteers

Where there is now one at work there should be more than 1,000—Christ is saying to us, “O ye of little faith.” Our hearts must be worked by the Holy Spirit. We must believe that the Lord wants us to come to Him just as we are, without any delay, and in faith call upon Him to work for us. The Lord desires to manifest His power among His people. Where there is now one at work there should be more than a thousand, not ordained ministers, but men and women of faith and prayer, who can work for God.—Manuscript Releases 5:336. PaM 145.1

God requires personal service of everyone to whom He entrusts His truth—God will require personal service at the hands of every one to whom He entrusts His truth. Not one is excused. Some may feel that if they give of their substance they are excused from personal efforts. But God forbid that they should deceive themselves in this. Gifts of means do not meet the requirement of God, for the duty is but half done. He will accept nothing short of yourselves. You must work to save souls. All will not be called to go to foreign missions, but you may be missionaries at home, in your own families and in your neighborhoods.—The Signs of the Times, September 4, 1879. PaM 145.2

Genuine Christians are known by their usefulness—Now I wish to state to you that the Lord is opening before me that great weakness has come upon our people by the various ways that lead men to so thoroughly look to and depend upon his fellow men, that the Lord is left out of the question. As the glory of the good tree testifies of its value by the fruit it bears, so also the genuine Christian is known by his usefulness. He does not merely blossom out with a pretentious show in professing godliness, but he bears fruit, with all his might and main. There is not a dying twig or a barren bough on the whole tree which grows by the rivers of waters of the grace of Christ. The fruit is yielded in varieties. They may be in foreign mission fields or in home missions; the fruit appears ripening under the sunshine of the righteousness of Christ. “Herein is My Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit.”—Special Testimonies, Series A, 11:28, 29. PaM 145.3

There is an abundance of talent in the church that should be put to use—But in every department of the cause of God there are plenty of openings for those who will work in the spirit of humility that characterized the Master. From every direction voices are calling to us for help. Ministers alone can never do this work. There is an abundance of talent in the church that should be put to use. There are men and women who have ability, and whom God would accept as laborers in his cause; but they are shirking responsibilities under the plea of unfitness for the work. Ladies who in the parlor can engage in conversation with wonderful tact and earnestness, shrink from pointing the sinner to the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world, and then kneeling in prayer, pleading that light may shine into the mind and heart of this precious one for whom Christ died. Oh! there is so much work for God and souls that is left undone because it is a cross, and because each seeks his own amusement, and works for his own selfish interest.—The Review and Herald, October 7, 1884. PaM 146.1

All can minister—All may not be preachers, but all can minister, showing others how to be tidy and hopeful. This is like medicine to body and soul. Thus we may add grace to grace, and be all the time fitting ourselves for heaven. I send this that you may read it to the church.—Letter 106, 1898 (The Paulson Collection of Ellen G. White Letters, 49). PaM 146.2

Members with no burden for souls will be continually backsliding—Those who profess to believe the truth, but feel no burden for the souls of others, will be continually backsliding, and it will require time and strength on the part of the minister to keep them from making shipwreck of faith, when they should be laboring with all their might to present the way of life and salvation to their friends and neighbors. Hundreds of men and women who at the present time are professedly engaged in the work of God, are not doing one-tenth that they might do if they would only improve all the powers God has given them. Some are doing literally nothing for the truth, and by their example of indifference are bringing others into the same position of uselessness, and thus are scattering from Christ. This latter class includes by far the greater number. They are thinking and planning only for themselves. Fathers and mothers with their little ones around them make their little circle their world. Every power of their being is centered on “me and mine,” and they are becoming narrower and more circumscribed every year of their lives. They do not open their hearts to the grace and love of Christ, and liberalize their nature and ennoble their being by placing themselves in sympathy with their fellow-men.—The Review and Herald, June 10, 1880. PaM 146.3

Working for friends and relatives will increase the member's own faith—In these first few disciples the foundation of the Christian church was being laid by individual effort. John first directed two of his disciples to Christ. Then one of these finds a brother, and brings him to Christ. He then calls Philip to follow Him, and he went in search of Nathanael. Here is an instructive lesson for all the followers of Christ. It teaches them the importance of personal effort, making direct appeals to relatives, friends, and acquaintances. There are those who profess to be acquainted with Christ for a life time who never make personal effort to induce one soul to come to the Saviour. They have left all the work with the minister. He may be well qualified for his work; but he cannot do the work which God has left upon the members of the church. Very many excuse themselves from being interested in the salvation of those who are out of Christ, and are content to selfishly enjoy the benefits of the grace of God themselves, while they make no direct effort to bring others to Christ. In the vineyard of the Lord there is a work for all to do, and unselfish, interested, faithful workers will share largely of His grace here, and of the reward He will bestow hereafter. Faith is called into exercise by good works, and courage and hope are in accordance with working faith. The reason many professed followers of Christ have not a bright and living experience, is because they do nothing to gain it. If they would engage in the work which God would have them do, their faith would increase, and they would advance in the divine life.—The Spirit of Prophecy 2:66. PaM 146.4