Pastoral Evangelism

Looking After New Believers—When men and women accept the truth, we are not to go away and leave them and have no further burden for them. They are to be looked after. They are to be carried as a burden upon the soul, and we must watch over them as stewards who must render an account. Then as you speak to the people, give to every man his portion of meat in due season, but you want to be in that position where you can give this food.—Manuscript 13, 1888. Ev 345.2

Feed My Lambs—The Lord Jesus said to Peter, “When thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren”; and after His resurrection, just before His ascension, He said to His disciple, “Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou Me more than these? He saith unto Him, Yea, Lord; Thou knowest that I love Thee. He saith unto him, Feed My lambs.” Ev 345.3

This was a work in which Peter had but little experience; but he could not be complete in Christian life unless he learned to feed the lambs, those who are young in the faith. It would require great care, much patience and perseverance, to give those who are ignorant the suitable teachings, opening up the Scriptures and educating them for usefulness and duty. This is the work that must be done in the church at this day, or the advocates of truth will have a dwarfed experience and will be exposed to temptation and deception. The charge given to Peter should come home to nearly every minister. Again and again the voice of Christ is heard repeating the charge to His undershepherds, “Feed My lambs,” “Feed My sheep.” Ev 346.1

In the words addressed to Peter the responsibilities of the gospel minister who has charge of the flock of God are laid before him.—Letter 3, 1892. Ev 346.2

Feeding the Flock—My brethren in the gospel ministry, let us feed the flock of God. Let us bring encouragement and cheerfulness to every heart. Let us turn the eyes of our brethren and sisters away from the unlovely traits of character possessed by nearly everyone, and teach them to behold Christ, the One altogether lovely, the Chiefest among ten thousand.... Ev 346.3

God has entrusted to mortals precious treasures of truth. These treasures may be likened to beautiful fruit, which is to be presented to the people in vessels that are clean and pure and holy, so that they will accept this fruit and enjoy it, to the glory of God.—Manuscript 127, 1902. Ev 346.4

Visit Every Family—As the shepherd of the flock he [the minister] should care for the sheep and the lambs, searching out the lost and straying, and bringing them back to the fold. He should visit every family, not merely as a guest to enjoy their hospitality, but to inquire into the spiritual condition of every member of the household. His own soul must be imbued with the love of God; then by kindly courtesy he may win his way to the hearts of all, and labor successfully for parents and children, entreating, warning, encouraging, as the case demands.—The Signs of the Times, January 28, 1886. Ev 346.5

Come Close to Hearts—Come close to your brethren; seek for them, help them; come close to their hearts as one touched with the feelings of their infirmities. Thus we may achieve victories that our small faith has not grasped. The members of these families should be given some labor to perform for the good of souls. Mutual love and confidence will give them moral force to be laborers together with God.—Manuscript 42, 1898. Ev 347.1

Thorns Must Be Uprooted and Cast Out—Many who profess to be Christians are so engrossed with earthly cares that they have no time for the cultivation of piety. They do not regard true religion as of the first importance. A man may seem to receive the truth, but if he does not overcome his un-Christlike traits of character, these thorns grow and strengthen, killing the precious graces of the Spirit. The thorns in the heart must be uprooted and cast out, for good and evil cannot grow in the heart at the same time. Unsanctified human inclinations and desires must be cut away from the life as hindrances to Christian growth.—Letter 13, 1902. Ev 347.2

Reprove and Exhort—There is pastoral work to do, and this means to reprove and exhort with all long-suffering and doctrine; that is, he should present the Word of God, to show wherein there is a deficiency. If there is anything in the character of the professed followers of Christ, the burden should certainly be felt by the minister, and not that he should lord it over God's heritage. To deal with human minds is the nicest job that was ever committed to mortal man.—Manuscript 13, 1888. Ev 347.3

Often Make Sabbath Meeting a Bible Class—It has often been presented to me that there should be less sermonizing by ministers acting merely as local pastors of churches, and that greater personal efforts should be put forth. Our people should not be made to think that they need to listen to a sermon every Sabbath. Many who listen frequently to sermons, even though the truth be presented in clear lines, learn but little. Often it would be more profitable if the Sabbath meetings were of the nature of a Bible class study. Bible truth should be presented in such a simple, interesting manner that all can easily understand and grasp the principles of salvation.—Letter 192, 1906. Ev 348.1

More Than Sermons Needed—A minister is one who ministers. If you confine your work to sermonizing, the flock of God will suffer; for they need personal effort. Let your discourses be short. Long sermons wear out both you and the people. If ministers would make their sermons only half as long, they would do more good and would have strength left for personal work. Visit families, pray with them, converse with them, search the Scriptures with them, and you will do them good. Give them evidence that you seek their prosperity, and want them to be healthy Christians.—Manuscript 8a, 1888. Ev 348.2

Bearing the Censer of Fragrant Love—The Lord's workers need the melting love of Jesus in their hearts. Let every minister live as a man among men. Let him, in well-regulated methods, go from house to house, bearing ever the censer of heaven's fragrant atmosphere of love. Anticipate the sorrows, the difficulties, the troubles of others. Enter into the joys and cares of both high and low, rich and poor.—Letter 50, 1897. Ev 348.3

Preaching for Children—At every suitable opportunity let the story of Jesus’ love be repeated to the children. In every sermon let a little corner be left for their benefit. The servant of Christ may make lasting friends of these little ones. Then let him lose no opportunity of helping them to become more intelligent in a knowledge of the Scriptures. This will do more than we realize to bar the way against Satan's devices. If children early become familiar with the truths of God's Word, a barrier against ungodliness will be erected, and they will be able to meet the foe with the words, “It is written.”—Gospel Workers, 208 (1915). Ev 349.1

Dedicating Children—Let the minister not forget to encourage the precious lambs of the flock. Christ, the majesty of heaven, said, “Suffer the little children to come unto Me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.” Jesus does not send the children to the rabbis; He does not send them to the Pharisees; for He knows that these men would teach them to reject their best friend. The mothers that brought their children to Jesus, did well. Remember the text, “Suffer the little children to come unto Me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.” Let mothers now lead their children to Christ. Let ministers of the gospel take the little children in their arms, and bless them in the name of Jesus. Let words of tenderest love be spoken to the little ones; for Jesus took the lambs of the flock in His arms, and blessed them.—The Review and Herald, March 24, 1896. Ev 349.2

Sabbath Sermons for Visitors—When learned men, statesmen, and so-called honorable men are present in a place of worship, the minister thinks he must give them an intellectual treat; but in attempting to do this he loses a precious opportunity of teaching the very lessons that were presented by the greatest Teacher the world ever knew. All the congregations in our land need to learn more of Christ and Him crucified. A religious experience that is not founded in Christ and Him alone is worthless. These men of intellectual powers need a clear, Scriptural presentation of the plan of salvation. Let the truth, in its simplicity and power, be presented to them. If this does not hold the attention and arouse the interest, they never can be interested in heavenly and divine things. In every congregation there are souls who are unsatisfied. Every Sabbath they want to hear something definite explaining how they can be saved, how they are to become Christians. The important thing for them to know is, How can a sinner be presented before God? Let the way of salvation be presented before them in simplicity, just as plainly as you would speak to a little child. Lift up Jesus as the sinner's only hope.—Manuscript 4, 1893. Ev 350.1

Neglecting the Work for Reading and Study—The duties of a pastor are often shamelessly neglected because the minister lacks strength to sacrifice his personal inclinations for seclusion and study. The pastor should visit from house to house among his flock, teaching, conversing, and praying with each family, and looking out for the welfare of their souls. Those who have manifested a desire to become acquainted with the principles of our faith should not be neglected, but thoroughly instructed in the truth.—Gospel Workers, 337 (1915). Ev 350.2