Why not try this? …(Re-) Read the Book “Evangelism” by Ellen White during 2006

When I became NPUC ministerial director 1½ years ago the most common message I heard was “We’re thrilled with all the good global mission work the northwest has done through the years, but what can we do to strengthen the soul winning efforts at home?”

The answer to that question is found in the book Evangelism, by Ellen White. I have found I can open the book anywhere, read two pages, and find times to say “amen, let’s do more of that” and other times to say “ouch! Why aren’t we doing that?”

Here’s a collection of valuable gems; any one of them will refocus us on what is most important in ministry and how to do it—

1) Churches are to be organized and plans laid for work to be done by the members of the newly organized churches. This gospel missionary work is to keep reaching out and annexing new territory, enlarging the cultivated portions of the vineyard. The circle is to extend until it belts the world. p. 19.2

2) The places in which the truth has never been proclaimed are the best places in which to work. p. 21.1

3) There was spread out before me city after city in need of evangelistic labors. If diligent effort had been given to the work of making known the truth for this time in the cities that are unwarned, they would not now be as impenitent as they are. From the light that has been given me I know that we might have had today thousands more rejoicing in the truth if the work had been carried forward as the situation demands, in many aggressive lines. p. 21.2

4) The Lord calls upon those connected with our sanitariums, publishing houses, and schools to teach the youth to do evangelistic work. Our time and energy must not be so largely employed in establishing sanitariums, food stores, and restaurants that other lines of work will be neglected. Young men and young women who should be engaged in the ministry, in Bible work, and in the canvassing work should not be bound down to mechanical employment. p. 24.1

5) In efforts made in large cities one half of the labor is lost because they [the laborers] close up the work too soon and go to a new field. Paul labored long in his fields, continuing his work for one year in one place and one year and a half in another place. p. 42.4

6) It will cultivate a missionary spirit to work in new localities. Selfishness in respect to keeping large companies together is not the Lord’s plan. Enter every new place possible and begin the work of educating in vicinities that have not heard the truth. p. 47.1

7) The Lord has not given to those of little experience the work of preaching to the churches. The message is to be proclaimed in the highways and hedges. p. 49.3

8) There are those who think it is their duty to preach the truth, but they dare not venture from the shore, and they catch no fish. They will choose to go among the churches, over and over the same ground. They report a good time, a pleasant visit, but we look in vain for the souls that are converted to the truth through their instrumentality. These ministers hug the shore too closely. Let them launch out into the deep, and cast their net where the fish are. There is no lack of work to be done. There could be hundreds employed in the vineyard of the Lord where there is now one. p. 59.3

9) We need wise nurserymen who will transplant trees to different localities and give them advantages, that they may grow. It is the positive duty of God’s people to go into the regions beyond. Let forces be set at work to clear new ground, to establish new centers of influence wherever an opening can be found. p. 60.2

10) Can we expect the inhabitants of these cities to come to us and say, “If you will come to us and preach, we will help you to do thus and so”? They know nothing of our message. The Lord desires us to let our light so shine before men that His Holy Spirit may communicate the truth to the honest in heart who are seeking after truth. As we do this work, we shall find that means will flow into our treasuries, and we shall have means with which to carry on a still broader and more far-reaching work. p. 61.4

11) Wherever you are, however trying your circumstances, do not talk discouragement. The Bible is full of rich promises. Can you not believe them? When we go out to labor for souls, God does not want us to go a warfare at our own charges. What does this mean? It means that we need not go in our own strength, for God has pledged His word that He will go with us. p. 64.1

12) “Sometimes ministers do too much; they seek to embrace the whole work in their arms. It absorbs and dwarfs them; yet they continue to grasp it all. They seem to think that they alone are to work in the cause of God, while the members of the church stand idle. This is not God’s order at all.” p. 113.3

13) Those who will study the manner of Christ’s teaching, and educate themselves to follow His way, will attract and hold large numbers now, as Christ held the people in His day. . . . When the truth in its practical character is urged upon the people because you love them, souls will be convicted, because the Holy Spirit of God will impress their hearts. p. 124.2

14) The truth must be published far more extensively than it yet has been. It must be defined in clear, sharp lines before the people. It must be presented in short but conclusive arguments, and plans must be laid that at every meeting where the truth has been set before the people, it may be followed by the distribution of tracts and pamphlets. p. 159.1

15) When we learn the power of His word, we shall not follow the suggestions of Satan in order to obtain food or to save our lives. Our only questions will be, What is God’s command? and what His promise? Knowing these, we shall obey the one, and trust the other. p. 241.2

16) If Satan can make you believe that there are things in the Word of God that are not inspired, he will then be prepared to ensnare your soul. We shall have no assurance, no certainty, at the very time we need to know what is truth. p. 249.2

17) There are two extremes to be avoided, one is the shunning to declare the whole counsel of God, and running into the spirit of revivalists in this age of crying, “Peace, peace; when there is no peace,” and weaving into the labors an element which moves the feelings and leaves the heart unchanged. . . . The second extreme is to be always hammering at the people and in a harsh un-Christlike manner talking in a way that they think you are provoked. p. 281.4

18) Work for the salvation of souls as though you knew by sight that you were in full view of the whole universe of heaven. Every angel in glory is interested in the work being done for the salvation of souls. p. 282.3

19) After the meetings are through, there should be a personal investigation with each one on the ground. Each one should be asked how he is going to take these things, if he is going to make a personal application of them. And then you should watch and see if there is an interest in this one or that. Five words spoken to them privately will do more than the whole discourse has done. p. 285.1

20) God’s work is not to be done in a bungling, slipshod manner. When a minister enters a field, he should work that field thoroughly. He should not be satisfied with his success until he can, through earnest labor and the blessing of Heaven, present to the Lord converts who have a true sense of their responsibility, and who will do their appointed work. If he has properly instructed those under his care, when he leaves for other fields of labor the work will not ravel out; it will be bound off so firmly as to be secure. p. 322.3

21) How can men who profess to have given themselves to the sacred work of saving souls, allow their small temporal possessions to engross their minds and hearts, and keep them from the high calling they profess to have received from God? p. 324.4

22) I said you are considering your work as almost a failure, but if one soul holds fast to truth and endures unto the end, your work cannot be pronounced a failure. If one mother has been turned from her disloyalty to obedience, you may rejoice. The mother who follows on to know the Lord will teach her children to follow in her footsteps . . . p. 328.3

23) A rich reward will be given to the true workers, who put all there is of them into the work. There is no greater bliss on this side of heaven than in winning souls to Christ. Joy fills the heart as the workers realize that this great miracle could never have been wrought by human agencies, but only through the One who loves souls ready to perish p. 333.3

I’m determined to bring my thinking, my ministry and my influence into harmony with this inspired counsel. You probably already have this book in your library, but I invite you during 2006 to join me in “reading it again for the first time.”

Blessings to you,

Dan Serns

John 6:21 Then they were eager to let him in, and immediately the boat arrived at their destination!

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