I had to write a two page reading report on two chapters from the book "Evangelism", by Ellen White. So I decided to share it with you all. Enjoy!
There is a great need for personal evangelism. Ellen White says that “if one half of the sermonizing were done, and double the amount of personal labor given to souls in their homes and in the congregations, a result would be seen that would be surprising.” (p. 430) She makes it clear that “this house-to-house labor, searching for souls, hunting for the lost sheep, is the most essential work that can be done.” (p. 431) We need to spend time after a campmeeting or evangelistic meeting doing follow-up work. “Preparatory work is not of one half the value that the afterwork is.” (p. 432)
A minister should not be measured by his ability as a speaker. He is to be measured in how well he performs his duty as a Bible worker. (pp. 437-438) “No minister is sufficiently equipped for his work who does not know how to meet the people at their homes and come into close relation to their needs.” (p. 438) He is also supposed to spend time training the lay people to do this work as well. (p. 438)
Visitation of the members is also a very important part of a minister’s work. He is to “give short talks and more Bible readings.” (p. 439) “The personal labor must be done, even if there has to be less preaching done.” (p. 440) The visitations must not be neglected! He “must educate and train (himself) to visit every family that (he) can possibly get access to.” (p. 440) “The weak of the flock need strengthening at the right time” - this is the way the congregation will become “rooted, grounded, and established in the faith.” (p. 440)
Personal work is an art. God is not calling for people to just “mow the crop, but to rake it, to gather it, to care for it properly.” (p. 443) We are to learn how to preserve the crop that is being harvested. What good will it do us if all those we win to the truth leave before they have a chance to be firmly rooted themselves? “The study of workers now should be to learn the trade of gathering souls into the gospel net.” (p. 443) A lot depends on how you greet those you meet with as well. “You can take hold of a person’s hand in greeting in such a way as to gain his confidence at once, or in so cold a manner that he will think you have no interest in him.” (p. 444)
We must not urge our views too strongly on those who are prejudiced against the truth. We are to talk on things that we both agree on, bow in prayer, and together we will be brought into a closer connection with heaven. “Prejudice will be weakened, and it will be easier to reach the heart.” (p. 446)
The objective of every Bible worker is to teach the Bible. “We are to take our Bibles, and go forth to warn the world… The plan of holding Bible readings was a heaven-born idea.” (p. 456) In some places, this even works better than a public effort. Study the Bible with people, and many will be converted to the truth. (p. 458) “Salt must be mingled with the substance to which it is added; it must penetrate and infuse in order to preserve. So it is through personal contact and association that men are reached by the saving power of the gospel.” (p. 460)
Many people are waiting to be gathered in, if we would get out and search for them. “All over the world men and women are looking wistfully to heaven. Prayers and tears and inquiries go up from souls longing for light, for grace, for the Holy Spirit. Many are on the verge of the kingdom, waiting only to be gathered in.” (p. 462) What a privilege we have to look for these souls!
“The Lord has a work for women as well as for men.” (p. 464) Women have a way of reaching people that men don’t have. If they have the cause of God at heart, they “can do a good work in the districts in which they reside.” (p. 465) “The labors of… Christian woman are needed.” (p. 466)
God calls for laborers, but they must be trained to do the work they have been called to do. “One worker who has been trained and educated for the work, who is controlled by the Spirit of Christ, will accomplish far more than ten laborers who go out deficient in knowledge and weak in the faith.” (p. 474) “Our students are to be educated as Bible workers.” (p. 474) “Ignorance will not increase the humility or spirituality of any professed follower of Christ.” (p. 476) Training is essential for becoming a successful Bible Worker.
There are several different techniques used in Bible work. Every Bible study must have a distinct plan, and should not meander aimlessly through the Bible. But you shouldn’t look for words that will impress people either. “The greater your simplicity, the better will your words be understood.” (p. 482) “The testing message for this time is to be borne so plainly and decidedly as to startle the hearers, and lead them to desire to study the scriptures.” (p. 481) But we must gain access to their hearts. We are to approach the Word of God as a learner. “The cross of Calvary is to be lifted high above the people, absorbing their minds, and concentrating their thoughts.” (p. 483) The best way to teach is to answer questions. “Preach less, and educate more.” (p. 484) The greatest method of sharing the gospel is through personal testimony. Share with others what great things the Lord has done for you! And they will want to have a relationship with Him as well. (p. 486)
We are to present the Word of God in Christ’s way. He had “in His manner no taint of bigotry, no cold austerity… In His teaching there was an earnestness that sent His words home with convicting power.” (p. 487) Christ taught with authority, but He was also very cheerful. “He was like a vital current, diffusing life and joy.” (p. 488) His greatest desire was to save sinners, and the same intensity of desire should “mark the life of His true follower.” (p. 488)
“As the worker seeks to give to others the light God has given him, the Lord imparts increased light; and doing his best, with an eye single to the glory of God, he realizes the value of souls. As he visits from house to house, opening the Scriptures to those whose understanding is darkened, angels of God will be close beside him to impress the heart of the one who is athirst for the water of life.” (pp. 488-489) Christ promises to be with us as we do His work. Even though at times the outlook may be discouraging, we need to trust that God will not allow His Word to return unto Him void. Although we may never see the fruit of our labor, heaven will reveal just how much God was able to use us. “He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.” Psalm 126:6
~ Joel Sutherland