I WOULD LIKE YOU TO CONSIDER THIS CAREFULLY AS YOU ORGANIZE YOUR CAMP MEETINGS

 

I was shown that there have been unhappy results from making urgent calls for means at our camp meetings. This matter has been pressed too hard. Many men of means would not have done anything had not their hearts been softened and melted under the influence of the testimonies borne to them. But the poor have been deeply affected and, in the sincerity of their souls, have pledged means which they had a heart to give, but which they were unable to pay. In most instances urgent calls for means have left a wrong impression upon some minds. Some have thought that money was the burden of our message. Many have gone to their homes blessed because they had donated to the cause of God. But there are better methods of raising means, by freewill offerings, than by urgent calls at our large gatherings. If all come up to the plan of systematic benevolence, and if our tract and missionary workers are faithful in their department of the work, the treasury will be well supplied without these urgent calls at our large gatherings.  {3T 510.1}

 

At this camp meeting the very work that should be done has been done. The children’s meetings, or Bible kindergarten, has done a good work. The lessons given are repeated by the children in their homes, and the mothers show their interest by preparing the children neatly for the school. Most are children of parents not of our faith. The seeds of Bible truth have dropped into the soil of the heart. It is no easy exercise, but it is doing good. Impressions are being made upon the hearts of parents and children. The good these meetings have done the great day of God will reveal. This is a large field to cultivate. Let this work be carried on. Where can the talents be better used? These workers are sowing for a harvest. . . . Men, women, and children are anxious to know what they shall do to inherit eternal life.–Letter 2, 1899.  {Ev 583.2}

 

At all our camp meetings, work should be done for the children and youth. A children’s meeting or Bible kindergarten should be held daily under the direction of teachers qualified for the work. In simple language, lessons should be given both from the Bible and from nature. Kindergarten methods and object lessons from nature will be of great advantage in interesting the little ones. At some of our camp meetings children’s meetings have been held twice a day. After the morning lesson, on pleasant days, teachers and children would take a long walk, and during the walk, by the banks of a river or in the grassy fields, a halt would be called and a short lesson from nature given. In such lessons as these the children can be taught the parables of Christ. The truth will be fastened in their minds as a nail in a sure place.  {6T 105.1}

 

At our camp meetings there is much more preaching than there should be. This brings a heavy burden upon the ministers, and as a consequence much that requires attention is neglected. Many little things that open the door to serious evils are passed by unnoticed. The minister is robbed of physical strength and deprived of the time he needs for meditation and prayer in order to keep his own soul in the love of God. And when so many discourses are crowded in, one after another, the people have no time to appropriate what they hear. Their minds become confused, and the services seem to them tedious and wearisome.  {6T 87.2}

 

There should be less preaching and more teaching. There are those who want more definite light than they receive from hearing the sermons. Some need a longer time than do others to understand the points presented. If the truth presented could be made a little plainer, they would see it and take hold of it, and it would be like a nail fastened in a sure place.  {6T 87.3}

 

It has been shown me that our camp meetings are to increase in interest and success. As we approach nearer the end, I have seen that in these meetings there will be less preaching and more Bible study. There will be little groups all over the ground with their Bibles in their hands, and different ones leading out in a free, conversational study of the Scriptures.  {6T 87.4}

 

I have been shown that some of our camp meetings are far from being what the Lord designed they should be. The people come unprepared for the visitation of God’s Holy Spirit. Generally the sisters devote considerable time before the meeting to the preparation of garments for the outward adorning, while they entirely forget the inward adorning, which is in the sight of God of great price. There is also much time spent in needless cooking, in the preparation of rich pies and cakes and other articles of food that do positive injury to those who partake of them. Should our sisters provide good bread and some other healthful kinds of food, both they and their families would be better prepared to appreciate the words of life and far more susceptible to the influence of the Holy Spirit.  {5T 162.2}

 

There is need of camp meetings like those held in the early stages of the work, camp meetings separate from the business work of the conference. At a camp meeting the workers should be free to give the knowledge of the truth to those who attend from outside.  {7T 41.3}

 

After the Camp Meeting

 

By camp meetings held in the cities thousands will be called out to hear the invitation to the feast: “Come; for all things are now ready.” Luke 14:17. After arousing the interest of the people, we should not cut these meetings short, pulling down all the tents and giving the impression that the meeting is over. Just at the time when hundreds have become interested, the greatest good may be accomplished by faithful and earnest work. Therefore the meetings should be so managed that the public interest may be maintained.  {6T 72.1}

 

After one of the camp meetings the question as to the continuance of tent meetings was under consideration. I told the brethren a dream I had had. I dreamed that I saw a partially completed building. The workmen were gathering up their tools, preparing to leave it unfinished; but I entreated them to consider the matter. “The building is not finished,” I said; “come back, and keep at work until it is roofed.” Then they came back and continued the work. So the brethren heeded my counsel to remain and continue the work of the camp meeting. As the result a number accepted the truth.  {6T 72.2}

 

There need not be so many failures in the expensive efforts put forth in camp meetings and tent meetings; there need not be so few sheaves to bring to the Master. In places where the standard of present truth has never been lifted, more souls will now be converted as the result of a certain amount of work than ever before. For everyone whose hands seem to be weakening and losing their hold I have the word: “Grasp the standard more firmly.” Faith says: “Go forward.” You must not fail nor be discouraged. There is no weakness of faith in him who is constantly advancing.  {6T 72.3}

 

After a camp meeting it may sometimes be difficult to hold the principal speakers for several weeks to develop the interest awakened. It may be expensive to retain the ground and to keep a sufficient number of the family tents standing to maintain the appearance of a camp meeting. It may be at a sacrifice that several families remain on the ground to assist the ministers and Bible workers in visiting and Bible study with those who come to the meetings, and in visiting the people at their homes, telling of the blessings received at the meetings and inviting them to come. No doubt it will be difficult to secure a sufficient number of workers to carry forward the work successfully. But the results will justify the effort. It is by such earnest and energetic efforts as these that some of our camp meetings have been instrumental in raising up strong working churches. And it is by just such earnest work that the third angel’s message must be carried to the people of our cities.  {6T 73.1}

 

Sometimes a large number of speakers attend a camp meeting for a few days, and just when the interest of the people is fully aroused, nearly all hurry away to another meeting, leaving two or three speakers behind to struggle against the depressing influence of the tearing down and removal of the family tents. How much better it would be if the meetings were continued for a longer time; if persons would come from each church prepared to remain a month or longer, helping in the meetings and learning how to labor acceptably. Then they could carry a valuable experience to their churches when they return home. How much better if some of the same speakers who aroused the interest of the people during the largest attendance at the meeting would remain to follow up the work by a thoroughly organized protracted effort. To conduct meetings in this way would require that several be in progress at the same time, and this would not permit a few men to attend all the meetings. But we must remember that the work is to be accomplished “not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.” Zechariah 4:6.  {6T 73.2}

 

The work should not stop when the meetings on the camp ground close. Doctrines have been presented that are new and strange to the people. Those who are convicted and who desire to accept the truth, will have to meet the most determined and subtle opposition. Ministers, friends, and acquaintances will put forth every effort to catch away the seeds of truth sown in the heart. We must not leave the seed to be thus caught away. We must not allow it to wither for want of moisture.  {6T 74.1}

 

Changes tend to weaken the influence of the meetings. Continue the meetings on the camp ground whenever practicable. But when it seems advisable to move, let the large tent be removed to some favorable location, and let the services in it be continued. A mission should be established. Secure a suitable place, and let a number of workers unite to form a mission family. This should be in charge of a man and his wife who are persons of ability and consecration and whose influence will give character to the work.  {6T 74.2}

 

“Ask ye of the Lord rain in the time of the latter rain.” Do not rest satisfied that in the ordinary course of the season, rain will fall. Ask for it. The growth and perfection of the seed rests not with husbandman. God alone can ripen the harvest. But man’s co-operation is required. God’s work for us demands the action of our mind, the exercise of our faith. We must seek his favors with the whole heart if the showers of grace are to come to us. We should improve every opportunity of placing ourselves in the channel of blessing. Christ has said, “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst.” The convocations of the church, as in camp-meetings, the assemblies of the home church, and all occasions where there is personal labor for souls, are God’s appointed opportunities for giving the early and the latter rain.  {RH, March 2, 1897 par. 6}

 

But let none think that in attending these gatherings, their duty is done. A mere attendance upon all the meetings that are held will not in itself bring a blessing to the soul. It is not an immutable law that all who attend general gatherings or local meetings shall receive large supplies from heaven. The circumstances may seem to be favorable for a rich outpouring of the showers of grace. But God himself must command the rain to fall. {RH, March 2, 1897 par. 7}

 

The convocations of the church, as in camp meetings, the assemblies of the home church, and all occasions where there is personal labor for souls, are God’s appointed opportunities for giving the early and the latter rain.  {TM 508.1}

 

The camp meeting is one of the most important agencies in our work. It is one of the most effective methods of arresting the attention of the people and reaching all classes with the gospel invitation. The time in which we live is a time of intense excitement. Ambition and war, pleasure and money-making, absorb the minds of men. Satan sees that his time is short, and he has set all his agencies at work, that men may be deceived, deluded, occupied, and entranced, until probation shall be ended and the door of mercy be forever shut. It is our work to give to the whole world–to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people–the saving truths of the third angel’s message. But it has been a difficult problem to know how to reach the people in the great centers of population. We are not allowed entrance to the churches. In the cities the large halls are expensive, and in most cases but few will come out to the best halls. We have been spoken against by those who were not acquainted with us. The reasons of our faith are not understood by the people, and we have been regarded as fanatics who were ignorantly keeping Saturday for Sunday. In our work we have been perplexed to know how to break through the barriers of worldliness and prejudice, and bring before the people the precious truth which means so much to them. The Lord has instructed us that the camp meeting is one of the most important instrumentalities for the accomplishment of this work.  {6T 31.1}

 

Those who labor at camp meetings should frequently engage together in prayer and counsel, that they may labor intelligently. At these meetings there are many things that demand attention. But the ministers should take time to meet together for prayer and counsel every day. You should know that all things are drawing in even lines, “that you are standing,” as the words were spoken to me, “shoulder to shoulder, marching right ahead, and not drawing off.” When the work is carried on in this way, there is unity of heart, and there will be harmony of action. This will be a wonderful means of bringing the blessing of God upon the people.  {6T 50.1}

 

When you do answer a question, be sure to have the hearers see and acknowledge that it is answered. Do not let a question drop, telling them to ask it again. Feel your way step by step, and know how much you have gained.  {6T 69.2}

 

THE REASON WHY PEOPLE LEAVE THE CAMP-MEETINGS UN-REFRESHED IS BECAUSE THE TOPICS ARE SO CROWDED AND SPEAKERS HAVE LIMITED TIME TO EVEN LAY A SOLID FOUNDATION FOR THE TRUTH TO FIND ALREADY A PREPARED HEART TO ACCEPT WHAT IS TRUTH. IT FORCES THE MINISTERS TO HURRY THROUGH THE NOTES AND LEAVES MANY QUESTIONS THAN ANSWERS.

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