You must educate and train yourselves to visit every family that you can possibly get access to. The results of this work will testify that it is the most profitable work a gospel minister can do.1
If one-half of the time usually spent in making a public effort were devoted to house-to-house teaching, till the people had become acquainted with the religious sincerity of the workers and with the reasons of their faith, it would be much better. After this work had been done, it could be decided whether a more expensive effort would be advisable. . . .
If half the time now spent in preaching were given to house-to-house labor, favorable results would be seen. Much good would be accomplished by the workers who could come close to the people. The time spent in quietly visiting families, and when there speaking to God in prayer, singing His praise, and explaining His Word, will often do more good than a public effort.
Many times minds are impressed with tenfold [more] force by personal appeals than by any other kind of labor. The family that is visited in this way is spoken to personally. The members are not in a promiscuous assembly where they can apply to their neighbors the truths which they hear. They themselves are spoken to earnestly and with a kindhearted solicitude. They are allowed to express their objections freely, and these objections can each be met with a “Thus saith the Lord.”2
House-to-house labor, searching for souls, hunting for the lost sheep, is the most essential work that can be done.3
Let them put forth personal effort. Let them come into families, and become acquainted with the members of the church. They will obtain far more inspiration from God in this kind of work than in any study of books.4
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.5
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. But you can do more than that: You can show love, and kindness and courtesy; and in doing that you remove prejudice.6
Personal religion reaches a low standard because there is more preaching than personal effort to guide the souls of men by careful instruction. Christ presented lessons in the conversation by the fireside that were of practical interest. He did not dwell upon the doctrine when a soul was in perplexity as to how to find Him and to be made acquainted with His constraining love, which can alone enable the soul to discern the unpopular truth. Bear in mind that heart must come close to heart in warm, genial persuasion and entreaty, that they may enlighten as to how to believe and how to receive the promises of God.7
Every day we are to exercise personal activity in seeking the salvation of souls perishing in their sins. We must seek with all humility of heart to stir up our church members, to show them the necessity of personal active labor, of personal consecration and devotion, and arouse in them an earnest desire to save souls that are perishing in sin.8
After the warning message has been given, let those who are specially interested be called to the tent by themselves, and there labor for their conversion. This kind of labor is missionary work of the highest order.9
He [the worker] will deal tenderly with every heart, realizing that the Spirit will impress the truth on those who are susceptible to divine impressions. Never will he be vehement in his manner. Every word spoken will have a softening, subduing influence.10
When we have an assurance which is bright and clear of our own salvation, we shall exhibit cheerfulness, and joyfulness, which becomes every follower of Jesus Christ. The softening, subduing influence of the love of God, brought into practical life, will make impressions upon minds that will be a savor of life unto life. But a harsh denunciatory life spirit, if manifested, will turn many souls away from the truth into the ranks of the enemy. Solemn thought! To deal patiently with the tempted requires us to battle with self.11
You can do evangelistic work successfully only by following the example of the great Teacher. He came to this earth, and in His ministry showed us how to labor for the salvation of souls.12
Christ’s way of presenting truth cannot be improved upon.13
Every soul who has accepted this truth should make personal efforts for the salvation of friends and relatives and neighbors.14
Carefully select your subject, make your discourses short and important points of doctrine very plain. Take up one point at a time in a discourse. Make it strong and clear and plain, with reasons drawn from the Word of God that all may understand. Your discourses should be short. When you preach at great length the mind of the hearer cannot grasp one quarter of what you say.15
The Prince of teachers sought access to the people by the pathway of their most familiar associations. He presented the truth in such a way that ever after it was to His hearers intertwined with their most hallowed recollections and sympathies. He taught in a way that made them feel the completeness of His identification with their interests and happiness. His instruction was so simple, His illustrations so appropriate, His words so sympathetic and so cheerful, that His hearers were charmed.16
These notes were written by Ellen G. White in a variety of circumstances from 1890 through 1904, and published as manuscript release 19 in 1941 (see Ellen G. white Manuscript Releases, vol. 1, pp. 13-17). Seventh-day Adventists believe that Ellen G. White (1827-1915) exercised the biblical gift of prophecy during more than 70 years of ministry.