Have you ever heard of the missionary meeting? Along with the social meeting, this is a vital and long-forgotten part of our Adventist heritage. We only recently discovered it in Sister White’s writings ourselves! So, here is a compilation of the quotes we found on the subject. We pray that resuming these meetings will help us revive the missionary spirit as we restore gospel order, which not only includes the disciplining of members but their continually working together in service.
The church is God’s appointed agency for the salvation of men. It was organized for service, and its mission is to carry the gospel to the world.
— Acts of the Apostles, p. 9
Every truly converted church member is to be given some work. Ms. 65a, 1898
— Manuscript 65as, 1898
Selections on the Proper Use of the Missionary Meeting
Train All to Be Missionaries
Let all have a part to act. Train the young to do what is appointed them, and from week to week let them bring their reports to the missionary meeting, telling what they have experienced and through the grace of Christ what success has been theirs. If such reports were brought in by consecrated workers, the missionary meetings would not be dull and tedious. They would be full of interest, and there would be no lack in attendance.
In every church the members should be so trained that they will devote time to the winning of souls to Christ. How can it be said of the church, “Ye are the light of the world,” unless the members of the church are actually imparting light?
Let those who have charge of the flock of Christ awake to their duty and set many souls to work.
— 6 Testimonies, pp. 435-436
Put Work into People’s Hands
Let the missionary meeting be turned to account in teaching the people how to do missionary work. Put work into their hands, and let not the youth be ignored, but let them come in to share in the labor and responsibility. Let them feel that they have a part to act in helping bless others. Even the little children should be taught to do some little errand of love and mercy for those less fortunate than ourselves. . . . He bids us to interest ourselves in every case of suffering or need that shall come to our knowledge.
— General Conference Daily Bulletin, 3/8/1897
Every Member Should Become a Missionary
Wherever a church is raised up, the minister should not consider his duty done until it is thoroughly organized and placed in working order. Every member should become a missionary. All should be given something to do to help spread the light of truth; for this very activity will cause them to grow in spirituality. It is because so many who profess to be followers of Jesus are left without responsibilities, to center their thoughts upon their own interest, without being trained to become workers in the Master’s vineyard, that there are so many idlers, and so few workers. “No one,” say they, “has hired us.”
It is this kind of discipline that has been sadly neglected in many of our churches. The time and labor of our ministers have not been spent in the manner best calculated to keep the churches in a healthy, growing condition. If less time had been spent in sermonizing, and far more in educating the people to work intelligently, there would now be many more to enter the broad field as missionaries, and much more talent to be put to use in the various branches of the work.
Never should the laborer who raises up little companies here and there give the impression to those newly come to the faith, that God does not require them to work systematically in helping to sustain the cause by their personal labors and by their means … It is the motive with which they work, not the amount they do, that makes their offering valuable in the sight of Heaven.
— Review and Herald, 8/24/1886
The Missionary Meeting Should Be Full of Life
The children, the youth, and those of middle age should be taught to labor in missionary lines. Then call upon them in the missionary meeting to report what they have done and to tell of their success. The missionary meeting should be full of interest and life.
— Pacific Union Recorder, 2/20/1908
A Missionary Spirit Is the Result of Doing Missionary Work
God calls for workers, not idlers; and church members are to be alive to their individual obligations under the divine administration of Him who can give the increase to all their willing, heartfelt service. Waiting, watching, working is the only right and safe position for us to occupy. Those who do something will have an interest in the missionary meetings. They will have something to say and they will consider it a privilege to say it.
A missionary spirit is quickened by doing missionary work, and a spirit of earnest prayer is awakened. Doing work for others has an influence to drive them to the throne of grace, for they feel their dependence upon the gracious agency of the Holy Spirit for all success in their efforts and lines of work. If there were more earnest prayers offered to God, they would realize rich answers to their prayers.
But unless there are those who will devise means of turning to account the time, strength, and brains of the church members, there will be a great work left undone that ought to be done. Haphazard work will not answer. We want men in the church who have ability to develop in the line of organizing and giving practical work to young men and women in the line of relieving the wants of humanity, and working for the salvation of the souls of men, women, youth, and children. It will not be possible for all to give their whole time to the work, because of the labor they must do to earn their daily living. Yet these have their holidays and times that they can devote to Christian work, and do good in this way if they cannot give much of their means.
— Letter 12, 1892
A Case of Misuse of the Missionary Meeting
What do your missionary meetings accomplish? Verily nothing; you have a form, but your meetings are dying a natural death for want of wise generalship to set things in motion and keep them working, reaching one line of work after another, and making every one feel that he has something to do.
— Letter 95, 1892
The Missionary Work
[ The following is a report of an evening meeting held with a large congregation, in connection with the General Conference at Minneapolis, Minn., Tuesday evening, Oct. 23, 1888, in the interests of the tract and missionary work. And as the principles presented by Bro. Geo. B. Starr, representing a committee, and spoken to so earnestly by Sister E. G. White, Eld. Haskell, and others, were afterward indorsed by the International Society, and recommended to be carried out in all our churches,-we thought our brethren would appreciate having before them a report in full, to assist them to a clearer understanding of the matter. ]
…The work of these who engage in visiting the people, talking with and praying for them, distributing and mailing publications and tracts, and writing letters, is just as important as that of others, who devote their time to the Bible work, canvassing, and the ministry; and we suggest that this work be taken hold of as never before, all through our ranks; and that weekly meetings be held, even where only a few can assemble together. In these small meetings the missionary meeting and the prayer-meeting might be united, and a variety of exercises be introduced, from week to week, so that they would become intensely interesting.
For example, one week have a regular missionary meeting, consisting of the relation of personal experiences, the reading of letters, etc.; and to add interest to meetings of this nature, we recommend an exchange of correspondence between local societies, through their State officers; and also that entire letters or valuable extracts from letters, from other States, or from leading laborers, be furnished the local societies for their use. Another week all the members might write a Bible reading of eight or ten questions in length, and come together and have two or three persons called upon to give their readings. Others could compare theirs, and make changes and improvements, and thus all be learning the Bible reasons for their hope, and the best ways of presenting them to others. Then these readings might be given in a quiet, humble way to some neighbor, in connection with other missionary work for the person. Another evening could be devoted to the examination of a tract or pamphlet, which should be given out for all to study, a week or two in advance. Its main points might be placed upon the blackboard, or drawn off on paper, in answer to questions by the leader…
[Sister White then spoke in reference to these plans and the missionary work in general, as follows:-]
…The plans which have been suggested by our brother, I believe to be sound; and if we practice something in this line in the several churches with which we are connected, we shall find that those churches that carry out a system of labor, educating and training all to do something for the Master, will be living churches; for a working church is a living church…
The plan now under consideration, I believe to be one that God will be pleased with. The churches that are weak and ready to die, need someone who has the ability to set things in operation, and to help devise means and lay proper plans for putting life into their work. But who will do this work? There are many who have ability, and who want to be Christians, who should be set to work in the meetings and out of the meetings. First one should be called upon and then another, to give Bible readings, to pray, or speak, and the Spirit of God will work with your efforts; and as strangers come into your gatherings, they will be impressed, and you can reach the people-not by your own ability, but by the Spirit of God working with your efforts, though of course we want all the ability and power that God has given us, brought into use.
— EGW Estate, Manuscripts and Memories of Minneapolis, p. 405 (1988)