May 21, 2020 | Miami, Florida, United States | By Ervin González, Inter-American Division
For many years the Seventh-day Adventist Church has used various methods to share the biblical message of salvation to people. Public evangelistic series have been held, as well as local evangelistic drives and small group ministries. Bible studies have been offered, and sharing the gospel through the church’s health ministries. Other methods, such as Christian education, social networks, and radio and TV ministries have been used.
These ways of practicing evangelism have resulted in significant benefits to the growth and expansion of the church, reaching thousands of people around the world. There is another special way of practicing evangelism, however, which has proven to be very effective, and which was one of the essential pillars the church used from the very beginning to underpin its growth: evangelism through its publishing ministries.
Currently, Adventist publishing ministries include at least three areas. First, regular and student literature evangelists who work hard sharing the gospel door to door. Secondly, church members who purchase books, read them to nurture their own faith and then give them away. Thirdly, every church member who participates in a massive distribution of missionary books every year.
The Benefits of Using Adventist Publications for Evangelism
The Best Method. When discussing the role of publications and canvassing, Ellen G. White stated that canvassing “is missionary work of the highest order, and it is as good and successful a method as can be employed for placing before the people the important truths for this time (Colporteur Ministry), p. 6. The power and effectiveness of this method is in the fact that evangelism through publications is personal. Persons are visited at their homes, businesses, offices, companies, and various work centers, where God’s wonderful love story and His last message of warning is shared. Thus, people can get to know Jesus and accept Him as their Savior.
Entering New Territories. Publications are a powerful tool to introduce the message of the Gospel and enter new territories across big or small cities. Canvassers are sent to work in areas with no Adventist presence, visiting people at their homes, leaving Adventist literature with them, and achieving wonderful results. Books left at people’s homes are silent messengers that, when read, bring people to the knowledge of the Savior’s love. God’s servant wrote that God takes care of His truth, and the day will come when it will be read, and “More than one thousand will soon be converted in one day, most of whom will trace their first convictions to the reading of our publications.” (Ibid., p. 151).
Strength for New Members. When new believers accept Jesus and are baptized, they learn to read and use Adventist literature as the best, easiest, and most cost-effective tool to share their faith and sustain their spiritual strength. The more a new believer puts into practice this missionary activity, the more the person’s knowledge about the Bible and its doctrines enrich his conversion experience and lay the foundation of his faith.
Experience the Power of the Holy Spirit. Church members who share their faith through literature, frequently experience the power and guidance of the Holy Spirit in their lives. When they open their lips to share a message of salvation, they speak with wisdom and power because the Spirit is guiding them, training them, teaching them, and helping them to remember and giving them the right words to convince people about the great love of Jesus.
Reaching All Types of People. Many church members have had wonderful experiences after they reached out to various kinds of people with the Gospel, thanks to our publications. This is an effective method to reach everyone – the simple or intellectual, business or famous people, the insignificant or important, teaching them the truths of God’s Word that provide spiritual strength. This is of special importance in these difficult and uncertain times, due to a pandemic that has produced fear, distress, despair, pain, and suffering.
God’s Hands to Feed Others. Church members become God’s hands to carry spiritual ‘food’ through our publications to people who are hungry for Jesus’ love. As they open the pages of our books and magazines, and learn about the provisions God has planned for their wellbeing, they can discover the wonders of God’s care and protection. They are strengthened in the Word, learn to trust God, and see their spiritual, mental, and physical needs met.
This is a time to preach the Gospel through our publications. As long as we have this opportunity, we must share every book and magazine available, with other people. When the time comes and we lose our freedom to preach in churches, homes, or any other place, these “silent messengers” will be at people’s homes, and the Holy Spirit will guide people to reach for them and read them. They will then find out about God’s love and the living truths of His Word. We will be surprised to witness the results.
It is time for church members to nurture themselves through our publications in order to strengthen their faith in God, and then to share those publications with other people. Our literature, carrying the message of salvation, must alert humanity with the news that Jesus is coming soon, and so prepare a people to meet their God.
Ervin González is the publishing ministries director for the Inter-American Division of Seventh-day Adventists.