WORLD-WIDE PASTORAL WORK
ABOUT five hundred Classes of Associated Bible Students have voluntarily elected the Editor as their Pastor, and have notified the
WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETYof the fact--requesting that in addition to his expositions and pastorals through THE WATCH TOWER columns, he would remember them in prayer and also from time to time send them such advice as he might believe would be for their profit and the Lord's glory through representatives and by mail.
We have rejoiced to note activity in the Lord's service amongst the Brethren, and have done our best to open up ways and means by which they could render service to the great King and assistance to His followers. But only of late has the Lord deeply impressed upon our attention a considerable work in which the Sisters might engage with profit both to themselves and to the Cause.
Before suggesting the matter to outside Classes, we made a trial of it in New York City. The resulting success was so pronounced that we felt justified in calling it to the attention of all the Classes which have notified us of our election as their Pastor, sending to each Class copies of the following letters--one to the regular Class Secretary for the benefit of the Elders and the Class in general, and the other for the special use of the Sister chosen to be the Pastor's lieutenant in this work. The publication of the letters here will make the whole matter the better known to each member of such Classes, some of whom may not have heard the reading or may have forgotten the contents:
PASTORAL WORK IN WHICH SISTERS COOPERATE
Some months ago we called the attention of THE WATCH TOWER readers to an important Follow-up Work possible in connection with addresses received at Public Meetings, DRAMA Exhibitions, from Colporteur Lists, etc.--persons who supposedly have some interest in religious matters and who presumably would be more or less amenable to the Truth. We have since been attempting to classify and arrange these addresses, but there are so many of them and our time is so limited that we have gotten comparatively few into the shape originally intended. Rather than delay the important work further, we purpose sending lists of addresses to those who will be colaborers in this Pastoral Work, at once, that they may be copied and classified by the workers of each district.
While this branch of the work is intended for the Sisters only, because we find that usually they are more successful and additionally have more time to invest in the work, nevertheless we are not proposing anything which would ignore the Classes of the I.B.S.A. Indeed, so far as we are able to designate, we are suggesting this work only to Classes which have informed us that they have chosen me as their Pastor.
The plan is to bring together the Sisters of each class who have time at their disposal and the desire to engage as Pastoral Workers under this plan. In such a group, of course, there would be some with more and some with less talent for the service, and some who could do one part of the work, but who would be totally unfit for another part. Hence it is desirable that the Sisters choose from their number a Lieutenant having considerable time at her disposal and considerable executive ability, and that breadth of mind which would enable her to appreciate and use the position properly, dividing the work wisely amongst the others and herself. Before the Lieutenant would be elected, prayer should be made for [R5984 : page 332] wisdom and guidance in the matter. I have already asked the Lord for special blessing upon such arrangements and will continue so to do. Any Sister not qualified for the service ought to rejoice that she has the privilege of setting herself aside for the good of the cause, and might take pleasure in helping another Sister who possesses the necessary tact and other qualifications for the work. The Lord will look at our hearts and reward us according to our faithfulness to Him and to the Truth, and not merely according to the amount of our work.
The activities of this Committee, elsewhere detailed, will in a general way consist of visiting the addresses mentioned, ascertaining interest, removing prejudice, loaning STUDIES, etc.; and the culmination of the project is to interest as many as possible to the extent of gathering them into classes-- first to hear Chart Talks, and later to become regular Berean Classes. When the matter is worked up sufficiently, the Lieutenant will call upon the Elders of the I.B.S.A. Class to appoint thoroughly competent Brethren to give the Chart Talks. Meantime the Elder Brethren should be qualifying along this line. Shortly we will have a new edition of "Outlines of Chart Discourses," which will be helpful to them and which we will supply free. We will also be prepared shortly with a good supply of Cloth Charts for such service.
After the Chart Talks have been given and the Study Classes arranged for, the Elders of the Class will be expected to see to it that the Classes are supplied regularly with efficient teachers. Remember the Apostle's instructions as to the qualifications of a teacher--"apt to teach." Do not spoil the Lord's work by any favoritism or by seeking either to give or to receive honor according to the flesh. Let our motto in everything be "God First," and self and every way of the flesh subordinate.
The plan is already in operation in several of the large cities with astonishing success. We think it strange we did not sooner realize the importance of this work and get it into operation. But perhaps it is a part of the work of the present hour--perhaps in some way it is connected with the smiting of the waters with the mantle of Elijah. We would not suggest that it would fulfil that type, but merely that it may be one of the features connected with it.
With this introduction to the work we leave the matter in the hands of the Lord's people, praying Divine blessing upon all who are disposed voluntarily to cooperate.
With this we are furnishing some suggestive hints as to method of procedure. With Christian love,
Your brother and servant in the Lord, C.T. RUSSELL.
HINTS TO PASTORAL WORKERS IN LARGE CITIES
The Pastoral letter, sent sometimes through a special representative and sometimes through the Class Secretary, being read to the I.B.S.A. Class, constitutes a call for a meeting of all the Sisters of the Class who have the time and strength to invest in the work described. Their first meeting should be for the purpose of choosing from their number one whom they believe to be the Lord's choice, to serve as Lieutenant, and another to be the Pastoral-Work Secretary and Treasurer.
(We regret that through some misunderstanding our representative appointed Lieutenants at some of the Conventions; and that when our Pastoral Letter arrived directing the election of the Lieutenant and Secretary a little confusion ensued. The Society's representatives are properly appointed, but in all matters connected with the Classes their choice or their sanction of our choice is the rule. So in this case: while we doubt not that very suitable Sisters were appointed, we request that the Sisters of each Class vote on the question and advise us of the results.)
The Class will doubtless consider it a privilege to supply the moderate expenses that will be incidental to this branch of the service, but should it not be so disposed, and should the matter be neglected, refer the same to the below address before it has run longer than a month, in the regular monthly report, calling attention to it very particularly.
All reports should be signed by the Lieutenant and the Secretary-Treasurer. Of course, we should be notified immediately after you have had this first meeting--the number present and your selection for Lieutenant and Secretary-Treasurer.
Your first meeting will help to make you acquainted with each other and to enkindle your enthusiasm respecting this part of the work, and enable the Pastor's representative (if present) to form an estimate of the material she will have to use and how it can best be used. Wherever possible we are sending Sister Genevieve Sanford to assist in the organization and classification and explanation of what we have found to be the successful methods of work. If she be with you the explanations here will be the less important, except as you shall wish to have them for reference when she has gone. But if for any reason Sister Sanford cannot be with you, remember that all the more you will need to depend [R5985 : page 332] upon the Lord and to exercise your own best wisdom, justice and love in all arrangements. "Let nothing be done through strife or vain glory."
AT THE SECOND MEETING
This meeting should not be long deferred--"Weld while the iron is hot." Our representatives are first to remember that system is necessary to the best results in anything. Before the second meeting the Lieutenant should procure four city maps as clear and distinct as possible, and four directories of city streets; a red pencil and a blue pencil and a couple of pads of stiff writing paper. The Lieutenant should prepare the first map herself--afterwards give it as a sample to helpers that they may prepare the other three maps.
Using one of your colored pencils, divide your city into sections of approximately ten blocks one way and fifteen the other; or 12 x 12, or 5 x 25, as may be most suitable to the shape of your city. After thus dividing the map, number the different districts with the other colored pencil.
Some of the names furnished you by the Society will be on cards, addresses on which some of the Sisters can be set to locating on the maps. When they find the district to which they belong, that number, in colored pencil, should be marked on the card plainly. Others of the names sent to you will be in lists, and each of these will need to be written off on a small pad-paper and in turn each address will need to have its colored figure representing the district to which it belongs.
Cheap file cards may be made by cutting stiff letter paper into convenient sizes, approximately like small post-cards. Do not immediately transfer the names from the DRAMA card or other memorandum or address to the file cards. Merely locate the addresses and district them. When interest is confirmed the address can be transferred to the file card.
Secure address of every Sister in the congregation, and let these be the start of the file cards, a red cross in the corner indicating that she is in the Truth. Her district should be indicated also on the map, and a small "x" should indicate approximately the location of her home.
The Lieutenant should select District workers according to supposed efficiency and without partiality. Give each worker preferably the district in which she lives, as her field of activity, or a district near, or otherwise the nearest district possible.
If you have an abundance of helpers, one in each district might attend to the Book-loaning, and another to making calls on the addresses, but if the workers are not sufficient in number let the calling be done first and the book-loaning be a subsequent work, except as the person called upon might not have the books, but be willing to accept a volume on loan.
The Sisters should report to the Lieutenant within a week. You may find that some of them have been hindered by sickness, or others have not found the time they had expected, or others may have broken down and proved inefficient, while still others may need further explanations and assistance. Write a kindly letter to any sister who fails to report in a week, encouraging her, expressing appreciation for what she already has done and hopes respecting her future progress, and assuring her that you will be pleased to have a call from her in respect to anything she does not fully understand. Keep each branch of the service up to its full capacity.
As the Sisters complete their visits in their districts the cards or other addresses showing no interest at all should be destroyed by the Lieutenant. Then three copies of addresses of all showing any interest should be made on the file cards, one copy for your file, one to be sent to the Brooklyn office, and the other copy to be retained by the District worker for further use. Impress upon the Sisters the need of care in handling cards, lest any addresses should be lost. This copying should be done as promptly as possible.
Some of the districts should be ready for Chart Talks within two weeks after the opening. With much Christian love,
Your brother and servant in the Lord, C.T. RUSSELL.
N.B.--We will supply you monthly report blanks, which please send to Brooklyn at the close of each month, addressing
"PASTORAL WORK DEPARTMENT,
c/o Mrs. Genevieve Sanford,
122 Columbia Hts., Brooklyn, N.Y.
HINTS TO DISTRICT WORKERS RE PASTORAL WORK
Arrange your address cards and memoranda alphabetically. Copy them in this order--alphabetically--into a book, leaving room for four or five names under each letter. Then [R5985 : page 333] you can rearrange your cards according to convenience in calling. If any of the cards are not sufficiently neat in appearance, they should be copied, rather than use anything unsatisfactory.
Wherever possible, these cards or memoranda should have a notation of what the individual called upon has already had in the way of Truth literature, as a guide to you in respect to what you shall say when you call. Arrange the cards so as to economize your time in making the visits. After each call write a brief history of that call on the card; for instance, "Interested, will attend Chart Talks"; or, "Not Interested"; or, "Moved," etc. This information on each card you should give to the Lieutenant every two weeks, that she may transfer the information to her file, destroying those showing "Moved" or "No interest."
While the meetings to be held will be supervised by the Elders of the I.B.S.A. Class, we wish still to keep well in touch. Hence please report weekly by post-card to the Lieutenant the numbers in attendance at the meetings, and anything else that would seem to be helpful, as also the names of any who purchase the books. Remember, however, that while it is desirable that the people should buy the books-- because they will then give the more earnest heed to the reading of them--yet nothing that would give any suggestion of merchandising the Truth is to be sanctioned. Rather than give the impression of trying to sell books, we would offer to loan them; but if the person prefers to purchase, of course we would be glad to have it so.
DISTRICT WORKERS' CANVASS
"Good morning! Is this where Mrs. Wood lives?"
"I am making some calls respecting a Circulating Library for Home Bible Study. I think you indicated an interest in this work some time ago. I would like to talk the matter over with you, if agreeable."
After being invited in, continue:
"At that time, Mrs. Wood, I believe you purchased a set of books called STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES. May I inquire whether or not you found in them something that interested you?"
This is merely a supposed start to the conversation, which of course should vary according to the circumstances of the case, which you have noted on the card. What you shall say further must depend on circumstances as you find them. Possibly you will get a suggestion or a statement that the party found nothing to interest her, but that she knows of some people who are much interested. You thus have the opportunity of learning the address of others; and perhaps, by a little wise conversation, you may awaken interest in the one whom you are interviewing. Or the trouble may be prejudice, slander or misrepresentation. Such opportunities for correcting false impressions are valuable. Each worker should pray earnestly and continuously for wisdom from Above to say the right thing, and for grace from the Lord-- meekness, patience, love in the heart--that her words might be like perfume and an anointing oil to all who are in sympathy with righteousness.
If the lady has not the books, offer to loan her a volume, and tell her of the proposal soon to have some Chart Talks on "The Divine Plan," given in that district. Explain to her how the CHART OF THE AGES helps to open the Bible to our understanding and to make it a new book. Assure her that the volume you offer to loan her will awaken her interest keenly, because it is different from other religious books and gives the chapter and verse, showing that it is really the Message of God's Word, even though different from what some of us had supposed. Inquire whether she would like to be notified respecting the Chart Talks when arranged for. Elsewhere we give some remarks especially on book-loaning, which see. On leaving, express the hope that your next call will find that she has read considerably and is deeply interested.
Write a brief history of this interview on your address memoranda, before going on to your next call. While covering your district note especially those who indicate sufficient interest to attend a Chart Talk. Be on the lookout also for the Lord's guidance for a place in which to hold the meeting --someone who has expressed interest and whose large parlor or sitting room would seem to be a favorable place. In such a case you might remark, "I was just thinking how convenient this room would be for such meetings, if you would like to have them here. I could not say definitely whether this would be considered the most suitable place or not, but would be glad, if you thought well, to make a memorandum that you would like to have the meetings here."
Confer with the Lieutenant respecting what you have found and the most suitable time for holding the meeting and the most suitable place--the Lieutenant, in turn, keeping in touch with the Elders of the Ecclesia before deciding definitely on the subject. [R5986 : page 333]
As soon as the decision respecting the Chart Talks has been reached, call again upon those who seem favorable. Tell them about the arrangement and ask whether you may expect to see them there. Additionally, write a post-card to each of them so that it will reach them the day before the meeting. It might read something like this: "Just to remind you that we are to meet tomorrow, Thursday evening, to hear a talk on the CHART OF THE AGES at the home of Mrs. Wood, 122 West Charles St., at 7:30. I note that your home is about nine blocks from Mrs. Wood's home and suggest that the Fulton Street car, running east, will take you within one block. Get off at E Street. Yours, etc."--Signed.
You should be sure to be in attendance at every Chart Talk in your district, and should call on the interested to keep the interest alive, though the call need not be a lengthy one. Send also a post-card reminder each week.
At the close of the series of Chart Talks, a Question Meeting on the Chart will be in order, and should be announced by the lecturer himself. It is to be hoped that the Elders will select only wise and capable Brethren for this important service. If a considerable number of those present so desire, it might be intimated at this meeting that a First Volume Berean Study could be started.
Meantime, ascertain some other friendly one who would like to have the Berean Study in her home, provided the one who has volunteered the apartments for the Chart Talks should not seem anxious to have the Berean Study follow in her home. Other things being equal, the Berean study should preferably be held in the home of one of the Bible students. Let the vote for Berean Study of First Volume be taken on the night of the Question Meeting, the fourth night of the Chart Talks--the fourth week.
After the Berean Class has gotten properly started, you may consider it as weaned and, if other important work presents itself, may feel free. Keep in touch with the Class; and should any of its members fail to attend for two weeks, be sure that you call upon them before the third meeting.
These Classes should be notified respecting all public lectures, and should be made acquainted with the meetings of the I.B.S.A. Class as soon as their interest begins to develop. It is preferable that not many of the regular Bible Students attend these Chart Talks and Berean Studies at first, lest the newcomers should be embarrassed and lest the parlors be too crowded; and that the newcomers may the more freely ask questions and be in less danger of being stumbled--all of the lecturing and leading being done by the one experienced Brother chosen by the Elders.
We advise that no singing be done at the Chart Talks, nor at first at the Berean Study Lessons. Every meeting, however, might be properly opened with a brief prayer. The meetings should begin promptly and not continue longer than one hour. Please call this to the attention of the leader.
Never sell anything at Chart Talk meetings, considering that those in attendance are your invited guests. If they do not have the books, their homes will be the proper place at which to suggest the purchase.
The Society will furnish, through the Lieutenant, question books for all such Classes, free.
Each district worker should have with her when making her first calls in the district a copy of Vol. I., SCRIPTURE STUDIES, so that she could refer to it, saying, "This is the Study which I hope will stimulate your interest in Biblical themes." Then will be an opportunity for you to give a talk on the book, offering to loan it if the listener is interested.
Report in person or by letter at least every two weeks to the Pastor's Lieutenant, and every week during the time that the lectures are in progress.
Should you need assistance do not yourself attempt to select an associate, but refer this matter to the Pastor's Lieutenant, who has the full responsibility.
Call upon the Bible Student Sisters residing in your district. They may be able to give you some information. Do not permit such calls to be of the ordinary kind, with minds diverted to chit-chat or gossip, but hold yourself strictly to your work and be an example. If the circumstances are favorable it would not be inappropriate to have prayer with such a Sister. If such a Sister is not engaged in any service, but has time for it, make a mental note of what you think she would be best suited for, and draw the matter to the attention of the Lieutenant, with full particulars as to the time at [R5986 : page 334] her disposal, health, activity, age, color, married or single, etc.; also in respect to her spiritual condition, and whether or not she is well posted in the Truth and apt at giving it out. Note whether the Sister is inactive or discouraged or new in the Truth. Let this information come to you as naturally as possible, without boring or close questioning. Note also if she is of a gentle spirit or the contrary.
This information may be valuable to the Lieutenant when at some future time selecting suitable persons to make calls, to read to shut-ins, to fold tracts or to distribute volunteer matter for Chart Talks, Drama, Public Lectures, etc.
Always remember your privilege in connection with the stimulating of the Sisters in the Truth, as well as all with whom you come in contact, with respect to the glorious things of the Divine Plan and our wonderful opportunities and privileges.
The book-loaning is a separate work entirely from what we have outlined above; yet where the helpers are numerous and the cards of the interested ones few, the district worker may obtain the consent of the Lieutenant to add the Book-loaning feature, which we elsewhere describe.
We suggest the importance of full consecration of heart and life to the Lord before undertaking such work--before it will be acceptable or pleasing to the Lord. Then the consecration should be kept up to date. Every morning Divine blessing and guidance should be sought; and every evening a report of our endeavors, failures and desires should be made to our glorious Head, that we may find grace to help in every time of need. Everybody called upon should be impressed with our manifestation of the Holy Spirit of Love, and with the fact that it alone has actuated our visit. We should sympathize with all who have good desires in any sense of the word; with those who are deep in churchianity, for we are glad to find them interested in higher things; with others who have turned away from churchianity, for we know how hard it is to retain faith under present church conditions; and with others who have been prejudiced, for we are not surprised, and much prefer prejudice to lukewarmness.
Very truly your Servant, C.T. RUSSELL.
PASTORAL WORK EXTENDED LATER
It may seem early in this work to suggest an extension of effort outside of the large cities to smaller cities and villages. However, we think it best to lay before you the entire scheme, that we may be working together to the one end--the finding of God's jewels everywhere.
Our suggestion is that the Pastor's Lieutenant and the Elders in each large I.B.S.A. Class be ready to cooperate, as God's providence may indicate, with smaller classes within a radius of--say forty miles. After getting the work of your own city well under control and everybody busy--Chart Talks going, Bible Studies going--then look afield to help others.
Some of the smaller classes may be able to adapt our suggestions to their own immediate conditions, and some may not. Such as are not able to do so we recommend should appeal to us or to the larger Classes when they want advice or assistance. Then will be your opportunity. But let us never forget the Lord's arrangement--that each Class has charge of its own affairs, and only as it might request or desire should any other Class intrude or assist. Extension work may therefore best be done in towns where there are no classes--the EUREKA DRAMA possibly being used to open the door.
LIEUTENANT AND SMALL CLASSES CONTIGUOUS
Correspondence requesting aid in the starting of such a work should be sent to the PASTORAL WORK COMMITTEE, c/o Mrs. Genevieve Sanford, 122 Columbia Heights, Brooklyn, N.Y. Sister Sanford, or in her absence some one authorized, will communicate with a large center of the work near to the inquirer and endeavor to provide the necessary assistance, instructions, etc., for a start. But the work should be carried on practically the same as in the larger centers, with such adaptations as may be necessary.
DISTRICT BOOK LOANING
An important feature of the Pastoral work now being widely undertaken is the loaning of STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES. We recommend that only Vol. I. generally be distributed; but of course we should be glad to loan other volumes subsequently, if desired. Our hope would be that an interest would develop which would eventually lead interested ones to desire to own the entire set of SCRIPTURE STUDIES; and since they are sold for so small a price--considerably less than cost of manufacture--none could think of our having any mercenary object in connection with their sale. Either the regular edition or the karatol may be used, but in some respects we favor the latter; for it looks smaller and therefore invites the attention of the busy. Nevertheless some may prefer the other edition because more easily read by the elderly.
A chief, or librarian, of either sex, may be chosen by the Class. On account of the weight of the books, a brother having a central office or store is sometimes preferable for librarian. The book supply should be kept at some place of easy access to all the workers. [R5987 : page 334]
The Class should purchase as many volumes as it desires to use. These will be supplied at the rate charged Colporteurs --25c per volume, for each of the first three, and 30c for each of the second three volumes (in lots of 50), plus freight charges. Each volume should be numbered, and the numbers may as well begin with 500. If the number be plainly marked upon the paper cover, it will facilitate the keeping track of the books given out to each worker, and loaned by the worker to the interested.
In order that those visited may not think that they are being offered charity in the loaning of a book, we style this work the starting of a Circulating Library for Home Bible Study, otherwise they might be offended, and say, "We are able to buy all the books we need," or, "We can get at the Public Library whatever books we desire."
The volume should be loaned for two weeks and a call made to collect at the end of that time; but of course if there is any interest manifested and for some reason it has not been read in the interim, it might be loaned afresh. Make a memorandum of the date when the book was loaned, and make a monthly report to the Book-loaning Department of the Class, as well as to the Pastor's Lieutenant.
CANVASS OF THE BOOK LOANER
"I am making some calls in the interest of A CIRCULATING LIBRARY FOR HOME BIBLE STUDY. I wish to talk the matter over with you and enlist your cooperation. This movement is an organized effort to provide everyone who loves the Bible with the means to understand its mysteries--making God's great Book plainly understood.
"I have brought with me a little volume containing sixteen Studies that cover THE DIVINE PLAN OF THE AGES. If you are interested in the Bible, I should be glad to loan it to you."
Upon the acceptance of your proposition say:
"Now, by taking one Study a day you will finish the Volume in two weeks, with an extra Study on Sunday. By that time you will be so well informed on God's Plan that its various divisions will be well defined in your mind. Would you be willing to take one Study a day if you could be sure that in two weeks you would understand God's purposes toward you and yours and the whole world?"
"Well, that is just what I propose to guarantee you! But remember, my guarantee is based upon your promise of a Study a day, which will require only about one-half hour each day."
Nothing in this book-loaning work interferes at all with the work of regular Colporteurs, and the loaner is fully authorized to take an order for books at any time, but is cautioned to remember that this is not her special work.
SOME QUERIES ANSWERED
We take this opportunity of answering publicly some queries that we have received about this work.
(1) Should Brethren also engage in this work?
We have not invited the Brethren to engage in this work because we believe that there are other things which they can do that Sisters cannot do. Besides, while there are tactless Sisters who might do more harm than good in this Pastoral Work, we believe that on the whole the Sisters are apt to display as much tact as the brothers or more; although there are some Brethren, of course, who are very resourceful, very wise. We are merely speaking in general terms and believe that the Sisters, on the whole, can render this service better than can the Brethren, and it gives them something special to do in the service of the King.
(2) Is it right, Scriptural, for the Pastor to select a Sister to be his Lieutenant in such a work?
We believe it to be in full harmony with the Lord's teachings that the Sisters might so be used. All who receive the Holy Spirit, as previously pointed out, are anointed to preach the Gospel. The Lord, through St. [R5987 : page 335] Paul, has seen fit to limit the conditions under which a Sister may preach--that her preaching may not be of a public character, and that she may not be considered a teacher in the Church. Nothing in this, however, interferes with her doing private Pastoral Work of the kind here suggested.
(3) After the Sisters shall have formed Classes for Bible study, what would be the necessary procedure if there were no consecrated Brother in the Class, or none qualified to give a Chart Talk or other address?
In such event, inquiry might be made of some nearby Class whether or not one of its Elders might be spared to render this assistance. If there be no nearby Class, or if none could be spared to render the assistance, the Pastor hereby authorizes the Sisters to choose one of their number as his representative to give the Chart Talk and, subsequently, to start a Berean Bible Study. She should perform her duties with head covered, explaining the significance of this to the audience, and declaring that she is merely serving because of the necessity of the case, until some consecrated brother shall have developed the necessary knowledge and qualifications to become the leader. Furthermore, she should remind all present that the Apostle's instruction is that the Sisters are not to teach in the Church, and that a class of inquirers is not understood to be an organized class of Bible Students or an Ecclesia or Body of Christ, but merely novices who, it is hoped, will develop speedily to maturity.
(4) Ought some of the younger Brethren be drilled into this work by having them occasionally address the regular Class?
Assuredly novices should not be introduced into this work. Good intentions count with the Lord as respects the heart; but more than good intentions are needed for His service, according to the instructions of the Word. Only those that have a talent for public speaking, and additionally have a clear knowledge of the Truth and an aptitude for teaching--only such should be assigned to the important work of interesting people who have only recently come to a knowledge of the Truth and to a limited degree, and whose minds are more or less prejudiced with erroneous ideas. The very best talent that the Class possesses will be none too good for this service.
Let us say, additionally, that to invite novices to address the Class on Sundays or at other times in a public lecture would be entirely wrong. The Lord's people should not be bored any more than the public. Such Brethren as show some talent should be encouraged to study and to practise, but not to practise upon others than themselves. We have already recommended, and do so again, that the less experienced of the Brethren who feel that they have talents for the Lord's service might well be encouraged to have meetings by themselves, with perhaps some Elder Brother present as a moderator to hear them and to offer kindly criticisms--of manner, voice, tone, doctrinal intelligence, logic, etc. The members of the Class should be permitted to criticize each other, but not too severely, lest the humbler ones should be discouraged from making further effort.
We recommend Chart Talks as one of the best instructions for these novices and one of the most efficient ways of learning how to present the Divine Plan. They should be encouraged to follow quite closely the outlines of Chart Discourses. Following these three outlines, on the fourth night the audience should be invited to ask questions along every phase of the Divine Plan illustrated in the Chart, and a competent instructor should be able to answer every such question. To fulfil these requirements requires more than a novice; and even the mature of the Lord's people will do well to keep their minds continually refreshed by constant study.
Although we have sent a letter on Extension Work, our thought is that nothing whatever should be attempted beyond the boundaries of the city in which the Class is located until that city shall have been thoroughly worked. We would have preferred not to send that letter at the same time; but we considered it advisable that all the dear friends should have the matter well before their minds, and thus learn the wide possibility which may come to them, if faithful, in due time.
NEW OPPORTUNITIES OF SERVICE
Many of the dear friends have been astonished to find what opportunities this work opens up. We find that many who have gotten a little taste of the Truth are very willing to attend a meeting, an entertaining Chart Talk on the Divine Plan set forth in the Bible--some who are not interested enough to undertake special reading. As they become interested in a Chart Talk, they generally become interested in the reading; and all of the talks should be had with a view to impressing upon them the importance of Bible Study, and the need that they have for the Bible Keys, if they will get any profit out of the study. They know, and we all know, that the Bible has been in the hands of the people freely for over one hundred years, and that much Bible reading, verse about and by the chapter and by so-called Bible study, has been going on in all denominations with little result.
Few, except Bible Students, can really answer any Bible questions. Having learned how to study the Bible, let us continue in the same way and extend the same helping hands to others. Nevertheless, if there are some who have not yet convinced themselves of the folly of the old method of Bible study, it is not for us to hinder them, but to bid them God-speed, and ourselves to continue in the way in which the Lord has blessed us and is continuing to bless us.
SMITING OF JORDAN NOT FAR OFF
Our thought, dear Brethren and Sisters, is that a great work is before us, and that in proportion as we get ready for it, the Lord will be pleased to bless us with a [R5988 : page 335] share. Some may have a share in the calling at the addresses already gathered. Others may have a share in giving the chart talks, and others may have a share in leading Berean lessons. Let us not forget, dear Brethren, that we must have humility. The Lord has no use for the proud and self-sufficient, either in the present Age in the instructing and building up of the Church, or in the future Age in the instruction and uplifting of the world. The Scriptures assure us in no uncertain terms that the Lord abhors the proud and shows His favor to the humble. The Apostle says, "Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God that He may exalt you in due time" (1 Peter 5:6); for "he that humbleth himself shall be exalted."--Luke 14:11.
Let us not forget the importance of knowledge. No one is capable of teaching others who has not a clear knowledge himself.
Finally, let us remember that knowledge without the humility might puff up. We shall be built up under the influence of self-sacrificing love. Let us all, dear friends, get more ready--nearer to the Lord and more ready for His service. The smiting of the Jordan assuredly is not far off; and do we wish to have a share in it? As Elijah did the smiting, so all those who belong to the Elijah Class will have a share in it.