Ellen G. White Writings

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Pastoral Ministry, Page 102

Alienation

When alienation exists between pastor and people, something should be done immediately—The subject of the Christian ministry must be set in a new light before the minds of the people. I entreat of you to study the Word of God on this point. If you think a minister is making mistakes, it is your duty to go to him in love and meekness and present the matter before him. You may not have a correct idea of his motive or work, and under misapprehension may grow cold to him, close the door of your heart, and fail to receive his message or appreciate his labors. Where alienation exists between a minister and the people, there is something decidedly wrong, either in him or the church members, and something should be done immediately to work a reform in whoever may be the erring party. He should not be left to wonder what all this coldness and indifference means. He should not be left to seek in vain to find out why he cannot reach the hearts of the people with the message God has given him, and to question why it is that the door of the heart has been closed; for he can realize there is no affection for him, and can have no fellowship with the people for whom he is sent to labor. Has he dropped a word, or done a deed which has wounded you in some way, and he does not know that it has hurt you? Then go to him, tell him his faults between him and you alone, and have the coldness and bitterness of spirit that has been created by an unwitting act on his part, changed to respect and love.—The Review and Herald, July 25, 1893.

Be kind to those who oppose you—If the minister, when before his congregation, sees a disbelieving smile upon the faces of opponents, let him be as one who sees not. If any should be so impolite as to laugh and sneer, let not the minister, by voice or attitude, reflect the same spirit. Show that you handle no such weapons.—Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 248.

Tenure

Some ministers need to move on before their character defects cause people to lose confidence—When you, Brother F, first commence to labor in a place, you generally have the confidence of the people; but after a more thorough acquaintance your defects of character become so apparent that many lose confidence in your piety. Reflections are thus cast upon all the ministers of the denomination. A short stay in a place would not injure your reputation. While engaged in earnest labor, pressed by opposing influences, your mind is absorbed in the work in which you are engaged, and you have neither time nor opportunity to think and reflect upon yourself. But when the work is over, and you begin to think upon self, as it is natural for you to do, you pet yourself, become babyish, sharp, and cross in temper, and thus greatly mar the work of God. You manifest the same spirit in the church, and thus your influence is greatly injured in the community, in some cases beyond

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