Sow in the morn thy seed;
At eve hold not thy hand;
To doubt and fear give thou no heed,
Broadcast it o’er the land.
Thou canst not toil in vain:
Cold, heat, and moist, and dry,
Shall foster and mature the grain
For garners in the sky. — James Montgomery.
Ye know, from the first day that I came into Asia, after what manner I have been with you at all seasons, .. . and how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have showed you, and have taught you publicly, and from house to house, testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn everyone night and day with tears. — Acts 20:18-21, 31
REVIVALS that are permanent in their results involve much house-to-house visiting. A revival without this will usually add but very little to the church’s real strength. It is not an easy thing to do the pastoral work of an ordinary church. It cannot be done as it should be unless the pastor is thoroughly conscientious. There are two things every preacher ought to do thoroughly, honestly, and as in the sight of God. The first of these is his pulpit preparation. The second is his pastoral work. It is to be feared that some preachers have but small concern for either of these things. The inevitable result is that after a few fruitless and unhappy years in the ministry, they fall out. Life is a sad disappointment and failure, and this is when the outcome might well have been altogether different. Assuming that the preparation for the pulpit is never neglected, then it is important to supplement this with faithful pastoral visitation. In the systematic and faithful discharge of this duty, the pastor will come in contact with his people, and in proportion, as he knows their home life, as he comes to know the heart burdens, cares, sorrows, and trials of his people, can he do them real good, and be of service to them in all their times of need. In these personal relations, abundant opportunities will present themselves to cheer and assist in many ways the toiling, struggling saints of God, and at the same time, come very near the hearts of sinners and win them for Christ.
If a pastor is anxious that every month, not to say every week, should witness the conversion of sinners, if he has a ceaseless, yearning, unspeakable desire that within the walls of his house of worship, there should constantly be heard the cry of penitent souls. The songs and shouts of the saved, the way to secure these results are for him to follow the example of Paul and preach Jesus from house to house, with tears and prayers. Loving entreaty persuades precious souls to accept Christ.
The surest way to win souls to Christ is to take them one by one and, by direct personal effort, show them their peril, duty, and privilege, and urge them to forsake their sins, accept Christ by faith, and unite with God’s people. To visit from house to house needs both care and preparation. It is easy to run about among people with no definite purpose except to perform a professional duty in a formal and superficial way. It is quite different to seriously and soberly go from house to house with the express purpose of warning and imploring the people to forsake their sins and turn to God. Gay, giddy, jolly, gossiping pastors will never succeed in this work, and it is equally sure that they will never be able to answer at the judgment seat for the souls committed to their charge. If all our preachers would, in the fear of God and the faithful performance of their vows, enter upon this all-important work of house-to-house visitation and continue it through the year, it would result in the most wonderful and widespread revivals of religion.
All this is within the possibilities of every preacher. Faithful preaching conjoined with suitable pastoral visitation means the revival spirit and power, and fruits abiding through every year’s twelve months. Why will not every pastor use these divinely appointed means and know the joy of a perpetual harvest?
While reading these lines, Brothers, why not even now renew your vows and seek a fresh baptism of the Holy Ghost to commence the faithful discharge of one of the most essential duties that can devolve upon a pastor? Brothers, time is short, and what we do to win souls to Christ must be done quickly. Brothers, are we ready to stand before the great white throne?
By Bishop W. F. Mallalieu
Updated 2023 Nathan Zipfel