"EPISTLES TO PASTORS"--MO February 7, 1971 LTA NO.47
REPORTING AND SHEPHERDING
1. My dearly beloved children: Greetings in Jesus' precious name! Thank you for all your letters, reports, and various missives, mostly received just before leaving. Some of you have now more than made up for lost time--some of you who were formerly lax in communication, Texas in particular, who, though formerly lagging behind you all, has now, in its latest efforts, surpassed you all in its abundance of detailed reports, and not cold, dead reports only, but inspired accounts which give us a genuine spiritual insight into their overall operation!
2. A great deal of this has been due to a thorough overhauling of their entire structural organisation, and a more efficient revamping of their procedural operations, with a CHECK AND DOUBLE-CHECK SYSTEM WHICH MAKES SURE THAT NO STONE IS LEFT UNTURNED, AND NO ITEM NEGLECTED, NO JOB LEFT ONLY TO ONE PERSON'S DISCRETION WITHOUT SUPERVISION! This is an excellent case in point, illustrating how to get a greater victory than ever before out of a seeming almost total defeat! Praise God!
3. I want to particularly thank the Lord and each of you who had a hand in this quick salvage operation, from the leaders who gave immediate cooperation by showing such mutual concern as to travel long distances at a considerable personal sacrifice to assist in the restoration, such as Hosea and Joshua, and their helpers, and the leadership in Texas, from Jethro and Deborah on down, who cooperated fully and wholeheartedly in this renovation, to the little folks behind the scenes who are demonstrating hidden talent in this house cleaning! All apologies accepted! You are more than forgiven, and we love and appreciate you more than ever for having been able to survive this test, and come through more victorious than ever, with a new grasp of the importance of your job! I think it has helped to show us all some of our weak points, and has given rise to a number of suggestions from various sources, as to the proposed remedies of the same weakness which may be existent in other colonies!
4. WITH ONE LAST REFERENCE TO THIS RECENT SITUATION, and I say this, not as another criticism, but as a reminder that I was right: YOU CANNOT CART OFF ALL YOUR TOP PERSONNEL, IN SOME JAUNT TO PARTS UNKNOWN, HOWEVER IMPORTANT THE MISSION, WITHOUT THE MICE PLAYING WHILE THE CATS ARE AWAY!! That's what the cats are for--to keep the mice under control, and if you cats think you can neglect your duties and get away with it, you're mistaken! If you don't think it's important, the mice certainly are not going to put much emphasis on it. So when I heard that the leadership in Texas had been absent from their posts from one to two or three weeks, I was sure that I was going to hear eventually some repercussions of all the things that had gone wrong in their absence! Instead, I heard blissfully ignorant and casual reports of generalities which told me nothing, because the leadership there itself, was unaware of what had happened through lack of communication and proper supervision, as well as poor organisation! I hate to have to say, "I told you so," but that's my job, as Papa usually knows best, and when you told me, "No, No, it's all right; it won't happen!" I knew better! IT CAN HAPPEN IN ANY ONE OF YOUR COLONIES, IF THE LEADERS NEGLECT THEIR DUTIES IN ANY PHASE OF YOUR OPERATION! THE CHAIN IS NOT STRONGER THAN ITS WEAKEST LINK! And I say that again to remind you that you must not forget it! YOU CANNOT NEGLECT THE SEEMINGLY MOST INSIGNIFICANT PHASE OF YOUR OPERATION, NOT ONE TINY MEMBER OF THE BODY, OR THE WHOLE BODY WILL SUFFER! Not only your arm of it, but all of us, as we did!
5. HOWEVER, I'M HOPING THAT WE HAVE LEARNED A VALUABLE LESSON FROM THIS EXPERIENCE, so that none of us will be guilty of such oversights again, as well as the undersights! IT IS EXTREMELY DANGEROUS TO OVER ESTIMATE YOUR SECURITY, WHILE AT THE SAME TIME UNDERESTIMATING THE DANGERS--AND OVER-CONFIDENCE CAN LEAD TO DISASTER, AS WELL AS A LACK OF APPRECIATION OF YOUR POTENTIALITIES! So I do hope we have all lived and learned from this experience, and that none of us will be guilty of the same again!
6. I WANT TO COMMEND THOSE WHO WERE TO BLAME FOR HONEST ADMISSION OF THEIR MISTAKES AND EAGER WILLINGNESS TO CORRECT THEM, and for the excellent job you have done in so doing! "All things work together for good to them that love the Lord!" And this whole thing has resulted in such a vast improvement of the Texas organisation, that it's almost unrecognisable! I want to particularly commend some of the hidden talent that's coming to the fore, such as Abel and Rahel, who are doing an excellent work in reorganising Texas! Rahel's new reports have shown a genuine spiritual conscientiousness in this field, and an insight into the necessary "spirit" of the reports, rather than just the "letter"! We have noticed that you other secretaries have manifested some of this in the past as well, and we have particularly enjoyed Carmel's little thumb nail personality sketches of some of her people! This is such a help to us at a distance, to understand your people and their problems, and to appreciate the magnitude of these glorious victories in lives--the miracles God is performing--not mere sermon reports and generalities, but trotting out specific samples of what God is doing! WE SHOULD NEVER LOSE THIS PERSONAL TOUCH, SO THAT WE BECOME SO SWAMPED IN STATISTICS THAT WE LOSE AN APPRECIATION OF THE VALUE OF THE INDIVIDUAL!
7. THIS IS ONE REASON WHY I DON'T BELIEVE IN LARGE CHURCHES! No one man can properly pastor even several hundred, much less several thousand people, and Texas has recently discovered that you can even lose track of a few workers in a congregation of only two hundred! Of course, if our congregations were made up of a few followers or members so-called, who were only once or twice a week hearers, and not all week long doers, it might be possible to run it this way, as the churches do, like a movie theatre, where you only need a manager, a projectionist, and a ticket-taker, and everybody pays his admission, comes in and does his own thing, and leaves without any further responsibility between you! This is about the way the churches are run today! They advertise their show, you pay your admission, are briefly entertained and go your way, soon forgetting what manner of man you are! How can we expect such churches to exert much influence on the world with such a one or two hour performance per week!
8. I have sometimes watched a movie on TV half way through before I even recognised that I had seen it before, its brief and shallow performance had made so little an impression on me, and some such superficial entertainment is so unimpressive that you can't even recall it the next day, with all its audio-visual advantages! How much less the average dead, inactive, and unimpressive church service! MAY GOD DELIVER US FROM EVER BEING GUILTY OF SUCH UNIMPRESSIVE PERFORMANCES, AS I TRIED TO PUT ACROSS TO YOU MUSICIANS IN "SOCK IT TO ME!" MAY WE NEVER BE GUILTY OF ROUTINE, HO-HUM, WHAT-A-WEARINESS CLASSES! EVEN THE MOST FACTUAL TEACHING SHOULD BE ALIVE IN THE SPIRIT, VITAL, STARTLING, AWAKENING, CHANGING! IF IT DOESN'T MAKE SOMEBODY GLAD, MAD, OR SAD, IT'S A FAILURE! If it leaves them still sitting there like stupefied zombies, unchanged, unawakened, dead appliances with the plug pulled out, no vital current, no life, just dead weight, we've failed!
9. EVERY CLASS, EVERY TALK, EVERY SONG, EVERY REPORT, EVERY JOB, OUGHTA TURN US ON! I used to sing a song--an old Negro spiritual--
"Oh, you gotta have a glory in the thing you do;
Oh, you gotta have that somethin' thrills you through and through,
Cookin' taters, washin' clothes, or blowin' baby's nose;
You need that certain somethin' that will see you through!"
Call it what you like; inspiration, charisma, talent, personality, or the Spirit---you've gotta have something that brings you and them both to life, spurs to action, emotion that moves you out into motion!
10. YOU MAY NOT ALWAYS REMEMBER WHAT I'VE SAID IN MY CLASSES, BUT YOU CAN'T FORGET THE WAY I SAID IT! One of you recently accused me of dramatic performances, that my sessions are "violent stage shows," but at least you don't always go to sleep in them! You know I'm excited, and it excites you, like making love! GET EXCITED! DO SOMETHING! DON'T JUST SIT THERE, DRONING YOUR AUDIENCE TO SLEEP! Thanks for making your reports alive! They're anything but boring, and we enjoy every word, especially when you get inspired! Yours really had the spirit in the beginning, Miriam, and we appreciated the frankness of yours, Ruth! You told it like it is! WE DON'T LIKE THESE SUGARCOATED, EVERYTHING-IS-FINE KIND, BECAUSE WE KNOW IT'S NOT, AND WHEN WE HEAR NOTHING BUT GOOD REPORTS, WE KNOW THAT SOMETHING EVEN MORE SERIOUS IS WRONG; you're NOT FEELING ANY PAIN, BECAUSE YOU'RE DEAD, PARALYSED! Like the man's wife whom he said died of improvements, because every time he asked the doctor how she was, the doctor said she was "improving," until the day she died!
11. IT'S LIKE THESE MEDICAL REPORTS WHERE THE OPERATION WAS A SUCCESS, BUT THE PATIENT SUCCUMBED, IF YOU GET THE POINT! DON'T LET IT HAPPEN TO YOU! So much for that!
12. NOW YOU KNOW HOW IMPORTANT REPORTS ARE, AND THE MORE WE GROW, AND THE WIDER HIS WORD SPREADS, THE MORE IMPORTANT THESE LINES OF COMMUNICATION WILL BECOME, as you can see by Paul's Epistles, and our own recent experiences! A more efficient organising of your staffs and their duties has become imperative at this point, as you can see, and as some of you have already suggested, such as Joel, Shem, and Miguel, Rahel, and others!
SIGNIFICANCE OF OUR SIZE COMPARED TO THE CHURCHES
13. I DON'T THINK YOU YOURSELVES APPRECIATE THE MAGNITUDE OF THIS OPERATION of the Spirit, the work that God is doing through us, it's size, quality and potentialities! First of all, you do not realise how really big we are, and I'm not boasting, God forbid! I'm just shaking you up to wake you up, that we are about to face an almost frightening population explosion in our own ranks, and if we do not properly prepare for it, we're going to be found wanting, caught short, and, except for the Mercy of God, could even lose the Kingdom!
14. FIRST OF ALL, AS I SAY, IT PROBABLY HAS NOT YET DAWNED ON YOU HOW LARGE WE REALLY ARE! If you were to speak of any other church, sect, or cult of only 500 members, it would sound like little or nothing, for what are members in the average church? Nothing but weekly hearers, who go their own way and do their own thing, ninety-nine and forty-four hundredths percent of the time, and only drop into their so-called membership for a momentary wet-fish handshake on Sunday mornings! There are actually only two active members in the entire congregation: the pastor and the pianist, and possibly the Sunday school superintendent, with the addition of a choir director in the larger churches, but at the most, no more that one or two full-time workers, and a minute scattering of part-time Sunday School teachers and hat-passers!
15. To give my own former denomination as a shining example!--And they were just that, for they were reputed to have the highest percentage of full-time workers of any denomination in the country, a very evangelical, missionary minded group, deeply spiritual, as churches go, with a multitude of small congregations, and many missionaries! In fact, they had the highest per capital average of missionary giving of any denomination in the United States--eighteen cents out of every dollar of church income went to missions, whereas the national average is only five percent--five percent to foreign missions, and nineteen times as much to the local church--one-twentieth to missions, the biggest part of the job, and all the rest to the local expenses! No wonder the church has failed to evangelise the world!
16. BUT THIS WAS A PARTICULARLY EVANGELISTIC DENOMINATION--THE MOST SO IN AMERICA! Their average was eighteen cents out of the dollar--18 percent of church income went to missions, a phenomenal record for the average church! Result: they also had an unusually high percentage of full-time workers--about 2000 out of a total membership of around 50,000! I don't know the actual statistics on other denominations, but I know this is extremely high, because nearly every church was supporting at least one missionary, and, of course, one local pastor! This means a remarkably high average of full-time workers, 4 percent of their total membership!
17. I would dare say in the average denomination, not so spiritual or missionary-minded, or sacrificial and where even one pastor is pastoring several churches to save them money, the average of full-time workers is much lower, probably half of this, or let's say 2 percent, mostly pastors, and a handful of missionaries, compared to the large, rich, congregations!
18. Now keep these figures in mind! How does this compare with us? How does our little insignificant group rate in actual quality percentage-wise--but wait just a moment! I just remembered the figures I heard while still in Bible college!--The exact statistic on the percentage of Bible college graduates who eventually enter full time service is exactly 2 percent! How does that hit you? Imagine how low the overall percentage is! At least half the congregation would have to go to Bible College to even bring it up to one percent--and from my experience, I only found the average congregation with one or two students in Bible school, which brings it down to a fraction of one percent of full-time workers, which of course they can manage by having such large congregations, where less than one percent of the congregation is the full-time pastor, and even a smaller fraction than that is sent to the mission field--many large churches being responsible for the support of only one missionary all put together! Let's say a good average might be one-tenth of one percent, or, if you want to be a little more generous, since the average congregation is about one or two hundred, and usually has to have at least one pastor, we might settle on one-half of one percent of full-time workers to the membership!
19. But how do we rate in these vital statistics? What is our percentage of full-time workers and per capita giving? The number 500 seems ridiculous in comparison to the larger denominations, even the smaller ones! It's only one percent in size, even to my former tiny denomination--500 against 50,000! But how many full-time workers do we have?--One hundred percent! Get that! WE ARE ONE HUNDRED PERCENT FULL-TIME WORKERS FOR THE LORD!--AND IF YOU'RE NOT, YOU BETTER GET OUT NOW! Not one-tenth of one percent, or half a percent, or even one or two percent--not even the highest national average of my own denomination--a great and grand total of 4 percent, but an actual work-force of full-time labourers, comprising one hundred percent of our total population! Selah! And our giving equals this average--total, not ten percent, not five percent, not even eighteen percent, but one hundred percent! I know of no other group that can equal it!
20. Now let's compare this figure with theirs! Let's give them a generous over all average of one percent of full-time workers out of their total membership! We have one hundred percent, or about 500 full-time workers--a workforce, which on such a percentage basis, could already represent a total congregation of 50,000! Of course, our congregation is even larger than this, the way we witness, and the publicity our Message receives, with nationwide, yea, world-wide, radio, TV, and newspaper coverage! It runs into the millions, to say the least! So our percentage of usefulness and efficiency is even greater!--and portends to be greater still!
21. BUT I WANT YOU TO GET THE MAIN POINT: OUR SO-CALLED DENOMINATION NOW ALREADY HAS A WORKFORCE OF FULL-TIME LABOURERS COMPARABLE TO THE TOTAL DENOMINATION OF 50,000! Think it over! We now have a labour force which, in other groups, numerically speaking, would be capable of operating a denomination of 50,000 members! As they used to say in my denomination, "That's big business, brother!" And it is big business! In our case, it's the Lord's business--the biggest in the universe; but to say the least, in view of the number of full-time workers involved, numerically and organisationally, we are a handful!
22. Any company you know of that has 500 employees would be considered big business--and we are, and we need to get this fact through our thick skulls--that we are responsible for the total employment of 500 labourers, a fairly large factory, and we need to begin to become aware of the fact, by getting much better organised than we now are, much more thoroughly supervised, and much more efficiently employed! Any boss with 500 employees has quite an administrative job on his hands, including a sizeable office force, business, management, supply department, sales force, maintenance, etc. And we have it! We're just beginning to realise it! I JUST WANT YOU TO RECOGNISE THE SIZE OF YOUR JOB, THE IMMENSE MAGNITUDE OF THE POSSIBILITIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF SUCH A LARGE LABOUR FORCE, BOTH NOW AND IN THE FUTURE! We now have a big organisation, Brother, and you'd better every one of you get that through your head, so tremendous that it almost stuns me sometimes! IT CANNOT BE DESCRIBED BY SILLY LITTLE MEANINGLESS WORDS SUCH AS "MEMBERSHIP", "FOLLOWERS", "ADHERENTS", and other church-like newspaper terms! It would be more accurate to say, that THIS GROUP NOW HAS A STAFF OF NEARLY 500, AN ADMINISTRATIVE PERSONNEL OF NEARLY HALF A THOUSAND FULL-TIME EMPLOYEES--AND THAT IS SOME STAFF! That is big business, big responsibility, and a big job--and it's getting bigger all the time!
23. If we handle it with the wisdom of God, and by the inspiration of His Spirit, similar to the Early Church, and continue to grow at our present rate, the coming numbers are going to be phenomenal! I would say that IN OUR FIRST YEAR OF FULL-TIME OPERATION in this present business, the Lord's business of saving youth, WE GREW FROM A TEAM OF APPROXIMATELY 10, TO ABOUT 100, A ONE THOUSAND PERCENT INCREASE! This past year we have slowed down somewhat while getting settled in various bases, organised, and adjusted to the size of the task! WE HAVE ONLY INCREASED 500 PERCENT IN ONE YEAR--only five times the number who arrived at TSC a year ago!
24. BUT AT THE RATE WE ARE NOW GAINING NEW DISCIPLES again, this rate of increase threatens to rise very rapidly, if we can handle it, and I suspect WOULD BE RISING EVEN MORE RAPIDLY NOW, IF WE WOULD TAKE IN AS MANY AS WE SHOULD AND COULD! To say the least, even at the rate of growth of only last year, a mere five hundred percent increase, which I doubt will be sufficient, WE COULD EASILY NUMBER 2500 BY THE END OF THIS YEAR (1971)--A STAFF OF 2500 MIND YOU, NOT A MERE MEMBERSHIP--A STAFF OF 2500 DOERS, not hearers only! Think that over! Doesn't that scare you? It ought to, because we're not ready for them, and it's past time to start getting ready! It's later than you think, as some of you have already begun to sense by the faithful prompting of His Spirit, and you are already writing me and asking what to do! Hallelujah! Isn't that thrilling? Isn't it wonderful what God is doing? He's pouring it on faster than we can hold it! He'll never fail! He'll always do His part faster than you can do yours! He'll always be ten jumps ahead of you! "When He putteth forth His sheep, He goeth before them!" (Jn.10:4) Hallelujah! He knows what's ahead, and He's leading! All we have to do is follow! For God's sake, let's not lag behind His timetable!
THE NEED TO PREPARE FOR THE FUTURE
25. Some of you with real vision have already foreseen this, and are crying for help! WE'VE GOT TO GET GOING, OR WE'RE GOING TO SLOW DOWN THE WHOLE STEAM ROLLER, BUT GOD'S WORK WILL GO ON, IF IT HAS TO GO ON WITHOUT US! HE'LL USE SOMEONE ELSE! But I believe we're the ones! I don't know any other outfit that operates as we do, or who could even begin to compare with us and our terrific impact, in comparison with our tiny numbers--our starting potential when viewed from these figures! Some of you even predicted it when we arrived at the ranch at the end of the first year, and some thought it was wishful thinking! Some thought we were being overly optimistic with an exaggerated opinion of ourselves, but now you know! We neither overestimated God! We are here, and the 500 are here, scattered in solid colonies, nearly from coast to coast, working, operational, existing, and effective, and still going--and we're only getting started! It reminds me of what Charles L. Varley, somebody you never heard of, said to an insignificant shoe clerk that he had led to the Lord, "DWIGHT L. MOODY, THERE IS NO LIMIT TO WHAT GOD CAN DO WITH A MAN WHO IS YIELDED AND WILLING TO DO HIS WILL!" MOODY REPLIED, "BY THE GRACE OF GOD, CHARLES, I AM DETERMINED TO BE THAT MAN!" And he was! He became one of the world's greatest evangelists, with tens of thousands of souls won for his crown, and left behind him many independent churches, and a large evangelical Bible School, which exists to this day, Moody Bible Institute, once a witnessing school!
26. BUT WHAT HAPPENED? HIS FOLLOWERS FORGOT WHAT THEY JOINED THE ARMY FOR! At first organised to be witnesses, real fighters for the Lord, on the streets, and highways and hedges of some of our largest cities, they were beginning to create a major spiritual revolution, a real witnessing church, until after Moody died! Then they lapsed back into the same old church rut of their predecessors, lost the vision, the faith, the courage and the initiative, and became just like all the rest, because they were afraid to do what Moody did--let God use him to the limit, "let go and let God." Be ye not like unto them! God help us!
27. It's time we got organised! It's time we wake up to who are, what we are, what we are doing, what we can do, and what we're going to do by the Grace of God--the limitless possibility of a God-empowered people! We're on the way! Where are we going, and how are we going to get there?
28. These are some of the questions we must face--not in the future, but now! TOMORROW WILL BE TOO LATE! PREPARATION MUST BE MADE TODAY! WE'RE NOT TO WORRY ABOUT TOMORROW, BUT WE CAN CERTAINLY PREPARE FOR IT, AND WE'LL CERTAINLY WORRY ABOUT IT IF WE DON'T! Thank God for some of you who have caught the vision! God bless you, Joel! God bless you, Shem! God bless you, Miguel! Maybe your faith is surpassing that of your leaders, or maybe they're just too busy to think about it! But somebody's got to think about it, and I'm thinking with you, agonising in prayer with you! I lay awake many nights praying about it, thinking about it, trying to plan for it--and I've already tried to share some of these plans with you, very sketchy to say the least, but urgent necessities for the here and now, and preparation for the immediate future! The Texas affair did us all good! We have learned some valuable lessons! We had forgotten how big our job is, the vital importance of every tiny task, and how A TINY INFECTION CAN GROW TO A MAJOR DISEASE IF WE DON'T ATTEND TO IT QUICKLY AND EFFECTIVELY, AND NOW! HOW MUCH MORE SO THE MULTIPLIED OPPORTUNITIES OF THE FUTURE! IF WE NEGLECT THEM, THEY MAY NOT KNOCK AGAIN!
SECURITY OF THE MAILS
29. I would say that our first and most urgent need, beside those of the spiritual and our regular duties of survival, witnessing, maintenance, and administration, and training programmes, is OUR IMMEDIATE SECURITY! This has been seriously breached by some of you, including myself! It was not intentional: We simply got careless, all of us! WE LAPSED INTO A LETHARGY OF FALSE SECURITY, AND LET DOWN THE BARS, and they Enemy came in! [ALERT! CHECK FOR SANITIZATION: "
"] In this part of the world, a valid passport is an admission ticket to almost anything you want to enter, except a theater, from a train to an ocean-liner, from a hotel to a bank, from a post office to getting a travelers check cashed at a local store. [ALERT! CHECK FOR SANITIZATION: "
32. [ALERT! CHECK FOR SANITIZATION: "
"] It's hard for us to realise that the peoples of some other nations still live in fear and bondage of their government, much more than ours; even in the tiny country from which we now write you, there is a security situation requiring the presence of sizeable U.N. and British security forces to keep the peace between the majority and the militant minority, as a result of former racial warfare--and its still dangerous potentials!
33. WE ALWAYS SEEM TO GET ACQUAINTED WITH THE UNDERDOGS, BECAUSE OF THEIR POVERTY, HUMILITY, AND PLIGHT, AND OUR SYMPATHIES FOR THEM, SUCH AS HIPPIES, ARABS, ETC. But since they're usually in the distinct minority, and not in control, this could be construed as an unsympathetic attitude toward the existing System, and it is not at all unusual for some of these countries in question to cause you no little difficulty, to say the least, as a result, with anything from embarrassing publicity, revelation of identity, and possible deportation, as an unfriendly unwelcome visitor, or even more serious reprisals, and it's not at all unusual for visiting critics to be sent to jail, as has happened in Russia and elsewhere--I think they call it "Defamation of the State," as in several cases in Russia and elsewhere!
34. SO PLEASE BE EXTREMELY CAUTIOUS AND WISE IN THE THINGS YOU WRITE, PARTICULARLY THE PERSONAL LETTERS, IN ORDER THAT WE BE NOT MISUNDERSTOOD, TO SAY THE LEAST! Thanks! I could have been much more specific in this letter, but, I too, have to write with the censors in mind, and I do not care to be misinterpreted or suspect! Most of your material has been harmless--only a few have been rather unwise!
35. The country we're now visiting is not too sympathetic toward the one which we just left, nor people of their religion, nationality, or names like theirs, which is why we have discontinued the use of your Bible names in addressing our letters to you, at least some of you! With one or two of you, where it's necessary, we may continue! [ALERT! CHECK FOR SANITIZATION: "
37. Also, any failure on your part to apply sufficient postage, or clearly mark for airmail, will result your letter being routed by surface transportation which will take at least one to two months to get here under normal circumstances! This has happened once or twice to your letters, but not too often, thank the Lord! Even a letter a month or two old is cherished, but no longer very apropos!
38. Please remember that airmail postage from you to usward is 25 cents per half ounce, not ounce, and the average letter, including envelope and paper is apt to run over half an ounce, thus requiring 50 cents postage instead of 25 cents! If you haven't a good scale handy, or don't want to run to the post office every time to weigh your letters, do like we do if you can: use the same size and weight of envelope and paper each time, so that you know exactly what it weighs: for example, over here they go by the 100 milligrams per airmail stamp: therefore, we know, because we've previously weighed them and found out once and for all, that one of our envelopes with three pages takes one stamp, with up to five more pages takes two, etc.! Try it! Take one envelope and a number of sheets of paper that you're going to use down to the post office and weigh them on the postal scale, so that you can find out exactly how much you can send for half an ounce postage, one ounce, etc.! Try it! Saves lots of guess work and could save mail!
39. Also, I wouldn't be surprised, Joel, that it was that unusual Scripture you had on the outside of your envelope which aroused sufficient curiosity for the censor to want to read your letter! PLEASE, FOR THE SAKE OF SPEED, AND TO ELIMINATE ANY UNNECESSARY DELAYS, SCRUTINY, CENSORSHIP, OR OTHERWISE, DO NOT PUT ANY SCRIPTURES, SCRIPTURE REFERENCES, OR WITNESSING SLOGANS OF ANY KIND ON THE EXTERIOR OF YOUR ENVELOPES, FRONT OR BACK! Sorry, but this is one of those cases! Thanks!
40. And incidentally, anything as important as A VALUABLE CHECK SHOULD NOT BE THROWN IN CARELESSLY WITH A LOT OF OTHER MAIL IN THE SAME ENVELOPE, LEST IT BE LOST. Neither should it be placed in a thin envelope all by itself, so it can be X-rayed by curious prying eyes, as has been the case a few times!
41. Also, it is extremely important oftimes, that we know exactly when your letter or note was written, or mailed, as we cannot always read the postmark, SO PLEASE DATE ALL COMMUNICATIONS, EVEN THE BRIEFEST NOTE, IN THE TOP RIGHT HAND CORNER OF YOUR LETTER! We have begged you a number of times to do this, but we still receive many undated communications! IT IS ALSO VERY IMPORTANT, EACH TIME YOU RECEIVE A PIECE OF MAIL FROM US, TO CHECK THE EXACT NUMBER OF DAYS IT TOOK TO REACH YOU! This is important to us to know how soon you will get our letter and to you, if it has been delayed for any reason, which could indicate certain problems which have been already mentioned in this letter! I think you'll understand what I mean.
42. "LETTER TAPES" SHOULD BE PLAINLY MARKED AS SUCH, IF POSSIBLE, AND WRAPPED ONLY IN SUCH A WAY, AS TO REVEAL FROM THE BACK AT LEAST THE EXACT NATURE OF THE CONTENTS OF THE PACKAGE, SO IT WILL NOT BE SUSPECTED OF CONTAINING ANYTHING, ELSE! As you will note, we leave a slot-like window open on the back of our tape packages, so they'll be able to see clearly what they are, without going to the trouble of opening and resealing! Remember, you're sending things from one country to another, not from state to state, and there's a vast difference! Independent countries are particularly conscious of customs, duties, drugs, and enemy information, so YOU MUST TRY TO COOPERATE IN EVERY WAY YOU CAN, SO AS NOT TO BE SUSPECT IN ANY WAY! Make it easy for them to pass your communication through the mail without undue delay! LARGE BUNDLES OF MAIL ARE PARTICULARLY APT TO DRAW ATTENTION, ALONG WITH TAPES, ETC. Normal letters are much more acceptable, even letter-size envelopes of logs, etc.! Try the large, heavy-duty manila-type letter size envelopes for your logs and bulky missives! These will also be easier to insert in our post office box without undue face-to-face confrontation with various officials in order to obtain our mail, and consequent delays and personal appearances! "OUT OF SIGHT, OUT OF MIND." TRY TO AVOID THE APPEARANCE OF EVIL--ANYTHING THAT WOULD TEMPT THEM TO OPEN AND READ IT! MAKE IT AS NORMAL AS POSSIBLE! God bless you!
HINTS ON REPORTS
43. SPEAKING OF REPORTS, and we started to mention this a while ago while on the subject, in order not to fail to commend you all for your virtues, Jael and Nahum have a knack for giving news that everybody else neglects to tell us, along with considerable humour! It would pay you to take note of this! Everybody else just supposes we've already heard--Nahum and Jael do not operate on this assumption! They give us the works: who had a baby, how much and what for and when and who and how come and who with! (Note: Nahum was also the only one who answered the letter to secretaries! We understand some of you are just now reading it for the first time--No wonder it got no results!) Congratulations to Nahum and Jael!--Our smallest colony reporting most faithfully and interestingly, and with obvious loyalty and thoughtfulness! As stated before, their tapes have been better than some of your professionals, and their letters more cheering than some of you journalists! However, we cannot but commend Joel for CONCISENESS, Carmel for COLOUR, Ruth for CANDIDNESS, and Rachel for THOROUGHNESS and LUCIDITY! You're all doing great and we love you! Keep it up!
SHARING WITH AND TRUST OF CO-WORKERS
44. Which reminds us that THE IMPORTANCE OF DEACONS, BUSINESS MANAGERS, PROCURERS, SECRETARIES, TEACHERS, ETC.--those trusted with such important and confidential matters so vital to our welfare and security, surely can be taken into the confidence of the intimate business meetings of leadership, and should be rightly so trusted, including radio operators and those vital to communication, as well as tried and proven, time-tested, older brothers and sisters whose loyalty is unquestioned! These should be shown that we love and trust them, have confidence in them, and can trust them with confidential material, and should certainly be included in your leadership meetings, regardless of the lowliness of their task! "Despise not the day of small things" and "Let no man despise thy youth." (Zech.4:10; 1Tim.4:12) This should include those functioning in publication, printing, photography, and any other classified materials! TIME IS THE GREAT TESTER, AND THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN WITH US A LONG TIME, WHO HAVE TRUSTED US, SO LONG A TIME, SHOULD BE SHOWN THAT THEY, TOO, ARE TRUSTED--POTENTIAL LEADERS, RISING FROM THE RANKS, SOON TO FILL YOUR SHOES! IF YOU CANNOT TAKE THEM INTO YOUR CONFIDENCE AFTER SO LONG A TIME OF FAITHFULNESS AND LOYALTY, WHO IS GOING TO TAKE YOUR PLACE?--AND HOW ARE THEY GOING TO UNDERSTAND AND COPE WITH THE PROBLEMS AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF COMING LEADERSHIP! AND HOW ARE WE GOING TO EXPAND, UNLESS WE TRAIN THEM TO BE READY FOR THESE, AND HOW CAN THEY BETTER LEARN THAN BY EXPERIENCE, EXAMPLE, AND TRUST, AND INVOLVEMENT IN PRESENT PREDICAMENTS?
DEALING WITH FAILURES AND BACKSLIDERS
45. Incidentally, IN THE CASE OF MISTAKES AND FAILURES, AND EVEN BACKSLIDERS, YOU SHOULD REMEMBER THE CASE OF THE PRODIGAL SON! Although he lost his birthright and inheritance, he did not completely lose his place as a son at the father's table, and was not without honor, a ring, a new robe, and the fatted calf, as well as a considerable celebration of thanksgiving over his return! HE WAS NOT ROBBED OF EVERYTHING AND MADE TO START FROM SCRATCH, AND HE WAS STILL HONORED AS A SON, AND SHOWN GREAT LOVE AND REJOICING BY THE FATHER, EVEN FEASTING AND DANCING UPON HIS RETURN! THINK IT OVER! I think we have somewhat to learn here! We could be too hard on our backsliders, and those who make mistakes! "Baby the Babes!" "Temper the wind of the shorn lamb, and receive ye him, but not to doubtful disputations, as a brother; though weak, to his own master he standeth or falleth! So who art thou that judgest another man's servant! God is able to make him stand." (Rom.14)
HANDLING NEW DISCIPLES AND WEAKER BRETHREN
46. AND DID JESUS MAKE IT SO HARD FOR NEW DISCIPLES TO JOIN? What about the 3000 on the day of Pentecost? And the 5000 a few days later? Did they put each of them through such a tough testing and sifting session as to discourage all but the strongest? A lot of you wouldn't have made it if we had, in those early days! Where would you be now? I could name a few of you whom I never would have passed, who are now some of our most responsible workers and leaders! Time is the best tester! Some have passed our other tests with flying colours, only to fail in short order, when the real trials came! Surely the Early Church seemed to give everybody a chance, and only washed out those who really failed to make the grade, not hinging everything on one initiation!
47. HAVE WE NO PLACE FOR WEAKER BRETHREN? PAUL DID! SURELY THERE'S SOMETHING THEY CAN DO! I hear about so many people coming and wanting to join, but who are subsequently turned down! It makes me begin to wonder if we're making it too hard.
48. Did the Lord turn anybody down for lack of space, time, or talent? Didn't he have a few weak followers? I wonder how many of the disciples would have passed our tests in the very beginning of their discipleship! They didn't even pass the Lord's tests, but he still kept them, bore with them, and put up with their frailties, until they grew and were made strong by His Spirit! Can we not do the same? Can we not give them the same chance Jesus gave them? Hebrews 12:12: "Wherefore, lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way (discouraged), but let it rather be healed!" BEHOLD, "THE LAME TAKE THE PREY!" (Isa.33:23) THE MOST HANDICAPPED MEN IN THE WORLD HAVE BECOME SOME OF ITS GREATEST HEROES! My grandfather used to preach on "The Advantage of a Handicap," pointing out that nearly every great man the world has ever known had some serious handicap, physical, mental, or otherwise! Caesar, Napoleon, and Hitler were all epileptics! One of our greatest congressmen was a cripple in a wheelchair, and when he had defeated a physical giant in congressional debate, the giant fumed, "Why, you little shrimp: I could swallow you in one gulp!" Whereupon Senator Steven replied, "If you did, you'd have more brains in your stomach than you have in your head!" Don't underestimate the advantage of a handicap! (Here MO weeps and speaks in tongues:) I'm probably the worst weakling in the whole outfit--I could never pass your tests.--I would be a miserable failure. (Maria: "Me, too!") We never would have made it, and neither would some of you! How about that? I WOULD HAVE WASHED SOME OF YOU OUT LONG AGO, IF THE LORD HADN'T MADE ME KEEP YOU, AND GIVE YOU ANOTHER CHANCE! "I WILL HAVE MERCY UPON WHOM I WILL HAVE MERCY" (Ex.33:19) and "I take the weak things to confound the mighty"! (1Co.1:25-29) I am the weakest of you all! We could never pass your tests! How can you expect so much of babes who know nothing and are utterly helpless! A BABE IS A BABE IS A BABE! ONLY TIME WILL TELL! PLEASE GIVE THEM A CHANCE! YOU WOULD HAVE WASHED ME OUT LONG AGO, BUT GOD ACCEPTED ME, AND I'M STILL GOING, UNWORTHY AS I AM, WEAK AS I MAY BE, FAULTFUL AND ERRANT, YET FULL OF HIS LOVE AND MERCY FOR YOU ALL! I love you! You're my children! HOW COULD I CAST YOU OUT, NO MATTER WHAT YOU DO! YOU'RE STILL MINE, AND I LOVE YOU, AND I'LL GIVE YOU EVERY OPPORTUNITY, EVERY CHANCE TO PROVE YOURSELF, TO MAKE GOOD. HOW MANY TIMES THAT VERSE ENCOURAGED ME--ME, FOR WHOM I SAW NO HOPE, NO VALUE, NO WORTH, ONLY WICKEDNESS! HOW MANY TIMES I CLUNG TO THAT WORD, "HIM THAT COMETH UNTO ME I WILL IN NO WISE CAST OUT!" (JN.6:37) HOW CAN YOU TURN THEM AWAY, EVEN THE STRANGER IN THY GATES, EVEN THE LAME, THE HANDICAPPED, THE HALT, THE POOR AND THE BLIND? "Go ye therefore into the highways and the hedges, and compel them to come in that My house may be full!" You say, "But there is no room"? HAVE THE FAITH OF LUTHER, WHO SAID, "WITH EVERY ADDITIONAL MOUTH, GOD WILL SUPPLY!" (Lu.14:16-24)
49. ONCE UPON A TIME, AT THE END OF A MISSION MEETING, A POOR DRUG ADDICTED HARLOT came forward and grasped my Mother's arm until her nails left their imprint in her skin, saying, "You say all I have to do is take Jesus? That's all I have to do? Just take Jesus? (Weeping and tongues at this point) And He'll do the rest? Tell me, quick! My mind is too confused by drugs, my body's too weak from harlotry, I can't understand any more, I can't do anything more! All I have to do is take Jesus?" My Mother replied with love, "Yes, Dear, that's all you have to do--just take Jesus, and He'll do the rest!" And the harlot said, "OK, I take Him." My Mother asked, "Do you want me to go back to that house and help you get your things? But the harlot replied, "No, I don't want anything from that old life!" "I just want Jesus!" Just then the Salvation Army band passed by, and suddenly the little wasted figure straightened up, and followed them out the door, tagging pitifully behind; a mere wreck of humanity, a bit of trash on the sea of life, tossed to and fro, had finally landed on the Rock, Christ Jesus! And the Army took her in! She only lived two years, but she became known as the "Angel of such and such a street." You may have read her story in one of those little tracts--how God can use the least and the weakest of the daughters among the children of men, and what a blessing, and indeed an angel she became, just to her own little neighbourhood, winning many hearts with His love!
50. Oh, beloved, I never could have made it if you'd put me through such tests! I am the weakest and most unworthy of you all--the chief of sinners, the most miserable failure! Only God in His mercy could ever do anything with me! HOW CAN YOU NOT COMFORT OTHERS WITH THE COMFORT WHERE WITH YOU YOURSELVES ARE COMFORTED? HOW CAN YOU NOT EXTEND THE SAME MERCY THAT HE HAS EXTENDED TO YOU? HOW CAN WE NOT AT LEAST GIVE THEM A CHANCE? HOW CAN WE TURN ANYONE AWAY WHO COMES TO US FOR HELP? TO WHOM WILL THEY GO? WE ALONE HAVE THE WORDS OF ETERNAL LIFE, AND PRESENT-DAY SERVICE FOR ANYBODY AND EVERYBODY, EVEN THE WORST!
51. Look at Jesus and His motley crew, or St. Francis and his, or any number of others!--All the misfits of society--Those most likely not to succeed! And yet by the miraculous power and grace of God, they became shining lights to the children of men--rays of hope for despairing and desperate men! Like King David of old, a murderer, adulterer, liar, and hypocrite! How oft we have clung to him for hope, saying, "If God could forgive him, surely He could forgive me!" GOD'S DANDY BAD EXAMPLES ARE GOD'S ONLY HOPE FOR THOSE WHO FEEL LOST AND HELPLESS! PLEASE, LET'S NOT TURN ANYBODY AWAY! JESUS GAVE EVERYBODY A CHANCE! HE LEFT THE DECISION WITH THEM! HE TOLD THEM HOW HARD IT IS, BUT HE LET THEM MAKE THE CHOICE! LET'S DO THE SAME! LET'S AT LEAST GIVE THEM A CHANCE! HOW CAN YE TURN THEM AWAY? "And He healed them all, because He had compassion on the multitude." Please, have mercy! You can't expect much of a baby! Be gentle with little lambs, please!
52. We didn't get much business done, did we? That shows you my heart, and how I feel! PLEASE HELP THESE LITTLE ONES! I HELPED YOU WHEN YOU WERE LITTLE AND NOBODY ELSE WANTED YOU! I DIDN'T EVEN WANT SOME OF YOU BUT THE LORD WANTED YOU AND MADE ME TAKE YOU! HE LOVED YOU SO MUCH, I JUST COULDN'T REFUSE YOU, EVEN THOUGH I DIDN'T SEE HOW OR WHERE YOU'D EVER FIT IN, BUT YOU'RE NOW SOME OF OUR STRONGEST MEMBERS, OUR MOST FAITHFUL RELIABLES! LOVEST THOU ME? FEED MY SHEEP! I LOVE YOU!
Copyright (c) 1998 by The Family}