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Essentials in Christian Work

by E L Jorgenson

From the New Testament preacher’s angle of vision, there appear to be six essentials underlying successful Christian work and ministry. Whether he labors with a church for an extended season as Paul at Ephesus, or for a few days as Titus in the cities of Crete these essentials obtain:

  1. A Prayer.
  2. Preaching the
  3. Singing the Gospel in the gospel spirit.
  4. Exemplary living.
  5. Personal work.
  6. Social visiting.

All these are abundantly taught in the precepts and examples of Paul, the most successful evangelist of the early church. Of course, each item here mentioned involves much. Prayer means consecration, separation unto the ministry of the word. Preaching involves previous preparation, study and meditation. The word Gospel is emphasized above in order to exalt God’s drawing power, men have tried ethics, philosophy, and science; the lecture and concert have been employed; gymnastics and rhetoric, organ and orchestra, steriopticon, and stage methods have been called in. And yet those men who are preaching most gospel, depending on God to draw through the story of the man lifted up are reaching most souls.

A Christian worker can succeed without singing; but he must then teach those who can that they should sing in a truly attractive manner. Jesus sang and Paul both sang and taught that others should. A stranger can usually tell by the way the first hymn starts whether the church is ‘quick or dead.’ There is neither worship nor music in that listless ‘wish-it-were-over’ sort of singing one often hears. The first song is important. It sets the pitch of the meeting in a way; and yet Christians usually spoil it by inattention when the number is announced, whispering, getting seated, and turning through the hymn-book. You have heard hymns that seemed to freeze in the rafters and come down with chilling effect on the heads of hearers. It requires much unction for the preacher to overcome the impression visitors thus receive that the church is not in earnest.

The example of the preacher serves to bolster up his teaching whether justly or unjustly, people expect more of preachers than of others, and he must take things as they are, not as they ought to be. Too many of us have fallen short here. While we are not charged to preach our practice, our practice preaches nevertheless, and it may be the only preaching some of our neighbors have. Let the power of Christ’s risen life be manifest in our conduct. Let us translate into action what we read on God’s printed page, imitating Christ, walking and talking as he did, lest others walk and talk as we do, and not as we say.


Personal work as distinguished from social visiting consists in making the direct appeal to men at a time when they cannot think you mean a seatmate that is, when you meet them alone. Social visiting may not be an essential but contributes to success. Christians who are properly conscious of their mission never enter new homes, meeting and making new friends, without a purpose. A helpful tract, an invitation to church, a word for Christ, an impression for good, is left.

Thus, it will be as when the pebble is cast into the lake; Christ blessing the minister, the minister blessing the church, the church blessing the world. In widening, through weakening, circles God’s fulness is borne through its proper channels and finally back to Himself. ‘

These lines are not only for preachers but for all Christian workers. If then you say they do not apply to you, you confess that you need their counsel.

  1. L. Jorgenson, from Christian Word and Work, Volume 6, No. 1. January 6, 1913.

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If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.

Romans 14:8