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The concept of the citySeminary shares similar ideas to Ellen White’s concept of city missions targeting the big cities. However, in recent years there has been a shift in methods away from holding public meetings that struggle to find audiences in Europe. Instead, our idea of a citySeminary places city work in the context of discipleship training focused on mission. These are some of the quotations that have been helpful in developing this idea.

NOTE: A “”CITY MISSION ” WAS A NAME FOR A PARTICULAR FORM OF EVANGELISTIC ENDEAVOR. IT CONSISTED OF A TEAM COMPOSED OF MINISTERS, COLPORTEURS, NURSES, AND OTHERS. TODAY IT IS SOMETIMES CALLED A “FIELD SCHOOL”

1. The influence of city training schools

We are altogether too narrow in our plans. We need to be broader minded. God wants us to carry out in our work for Him the principles of truth and righteousness. His work is to go forward in cities and towns and villages. . . . {Ev 46.1}

The established missions in our cities, if conducted by men who have ability to wisely manage such missions, will be steady lights, shining amid the moral darkness. The opening of the Scriptures by means of Bible readings is an essential part of the work connected with these missions; but workers cannot take hold of this work unless they are prepared for it. Many ought to be trained in school before they even know how to study to bring their minds and thoughts under the control of the will, and how to use wisely their mental powers. {FE 121.1}

A well-balanced work can be carried on best in the cities when a Bible school for the training of workers is in progress while public meetings are being held. Connected with this training-school or city mission should be experienced laborers of deep spiritual understanding, who can give the Bible-workers daily instruction, and who can also unite whole-heartedly in the general public effort. And as men and women are converted to the truth, those standing at the head of the mission should, with much prayer, show these new converts how to experience the power of the truth in their hearts. Such a mission, if conducted by those who know how to manage wisely, will be a light shining in a dark place. {GW 364.3}

2. The scope of city training schools

In every city there should be a city mission that would be a training school for workers. Many of our brethren must stand condemned in the sight of God because they have not done the very work that God would have them do. If our brethren will use their God-given ability to warn the cities, angels of God will surely go before them to make the impression upon the hearts of the people for whom they labor. The Lord has many thousands who have never bowed the knee to Baal. Let not our ministers and our physicians fail nor be discouraged.–Letter 56, 1910. {MM 303-4}

Many would be willing to work if they were taught how to begin. They need to be instructed and encouraged. Every church should be a training school for Christian workers. Its members should be taught how to give Bible readings, how to conduct and teach Sabbath school classes, how best to help the poor and to care for the sick, how to work for the unconverted. There should be schools of health, cooking schools, and classes in various lines of Christian help work. There should not only be teaching, but actual work under experienced instructors. Let the teachers lead the way in working among the people, and others, uniting with them, will learn from their example. One example is worth more than many precepts.–The Ministry of Healing, p. 149. {ChS 59.3}

3. Working in unity together

In our large cities a decided effort should be made to work in unity. In the spirit and fear of God the laborers should unite as one man, working with strength and with earnest zeal. There should be no sensational efforts, no strife. Let there be seen practical repentance, true sympathy, hearty co-operation, and decided emulation of one another in the grand, earnest effort to learn lessons of self-denial and self-sacrifice by saving perishing souls from death.–Manuscript 128, 1901. {Ev 42.2}

When a mission is established in a city, our people should take an interest in it, showing this interest in a practical, substantial way. The mission workers labor hard and self-sacrificingly, and they do not receive large wages. Let not our people think that the conducting of city missions is an easy work, or one that brings financial profit. Often the missions are carried on with no means in sight, by men and women who from day to day beseech God to send them means with which to advance the work.

4. The need for city missions

God asks, Why are not memorials for me established in the cities? What answer can we return? The neglected work in our cities testifies to the lack of Christlike energy among believers. Let all awake to the need of establishing Christian missions in the cities. Let God’s workers enter the doors that he has opened for them. Believers need to arouse and do much more than they are now doing in lines of Christian effort. {RH, February 4, 1904 par. 6}

As the work was pushed forward in Europe, the need of well-trained workers became increasingly apparent. The council reaffirmed their previous resolutions to hold regular training schools for Bible workers, preachers, and colporteurs, and they also requested the General Conference to send a number of qualified workers to teach in these schools. An experienced Scandinavian colporteur was requested. For Britain, two veteran ministers, S. N. Haskell and E. W. Farnsworth, were called. A city mission and training center was proposed for Liverpool where workers could learn to do ship missionary work, as well as how to sell our literature more successfully. {EGWE 222.1}

5. The need for special preparation to work in cities

How broad and extended the command is, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world”! What honor is here conferred upon man, and yet how large a number hug the shore! How few will launch out into the deep, and let down their nets for a draught! Now, if this is done, if men are laborers together with God, if men are called to act in city missions, and to meet all classes of minds, there should be special preparations for this kind of work.–Review and Herald, June 21, 1887. {FE 121.3}

Let forces be set at work to clear new ground, to establish new centers of influence, wherever an opening can be found. Rally workers who possess true missionary zeal, and let them go forth to diffuse light and knowledge far and near. Let them take the living principles of health reform into the communities that to a large degree are ignorant of these principles. . . . After a time, as the work advances, schools will be established in many cities, where workers can be quickly educated and trained for service. The students and their teachers can go out with our publications and spread the truth by means of the printed page. Desirable places can be secured for meetings to be held, and here the people can be invited to gather. Let those who are fitted for the work, the young and middle-aged, act a disinterested, unselfish part in laboring for the fields white for the harvest that are yet unworked.–MS. 11, 1908. {MM 323.1}

When an effort is made to introduce the truth in an important place, our ministers should give special attention to the instruction and training of those who are to co-operate with them. Colporteurs and canvassers are needed, and those who are fitted to give Bible-readings in families, so that while the ministers are laboring in word and doctrine, these can also be calling minds to the truth. {GW 76.1}

Our ministers who have gone to important places to hold tent-meetings, have often made a serious mistake in devoting all their time to sermonizing. There should be less preaching and more teaching,–teaching the people, and also teaching young men how to labor successfully. Ministers should become efficient in teaching others how to study the Bible, and in training the minds and manners of those who would become workers in the cause of God. And they should be ready to counsel and instruct those who have newly come to the faithful, and who give promise of possessing ability to work for the Master…. {GW 76.2}

Missions are essential as the foundation of missionary effort in our cities; but let it never be forgotten that those standing at the head of them are to guard every point, that all may be done to the honor of God. In these missions young men and women are to receive a training that will qualify them to work for the Master. But if they do not possess solidity of character and a spirit of consecration, all effort to fit them for the work will prove a failure. Without a high sense of propriety, of sobriety, of the sacredness of the truth and the exalted character of the work, they cannot succeed. The same is true of the older workers. Unless they are sanctified by the truth, they cannot give those under their charge an education that will elevate, ennoble, and refine them. {GW 365.1}

6. A Mighty City Work Movement

There is no change in the messages that God has sent in the past. The work in the cities is the essential work for this time. When the cities are worked as God would have them, the result will be the setting in operation of a mighty movement such as we have not yet witnessed. God calls for self-sacrificing men converted to the truth to let their light shine forth in clear, distinct rays. . . . {MM 304.1}

7. The Haskell’s Experience of Training in Cities

New York

Brother and Sister Haskell have rented a house in one of the best parts of the city, and have gathered round them a family of helpers, who day by day go out giving Bible readings, selling our papers, and doing medical missionary work. During the hour of worship, the workers relate their experiences. Bible studies are regularly conducted in the home, and the young men and young women connected with the mission receive a practical, thorough training in holding Bible readings and in selling our publications. The Lord has blessed their labors, a number have embraced the truth, and many others are deeply interested. . . . {Ev 108.2}

For over a year Elder Haskell and his wife, with faithful associates, have conducted a city mission and Bible training school, with increasing success. And just recently the Lord in his providence has given our brethren there a commodious meeting-house and a beautiful tract of land for sanitarium purposes. The way has also at last opened for carrying on tent-meetings in the city, and the beginning of a series of public meetings has brought joy to the hearts of our workers. {SW, September 5, 1905 par. 1}

Monday morning the White party was in New York at Elder Haskell’s city mission and Bible training school. It was situated at 400 West 57th Street, a couple of blocks from the southern end of Central Park. Fortunately there was an elevator in the apartment building to take them up the six stories to the room occupied by the city mission family. 139 {5BIO 138.7} Monday and Tuesday were spent in discussion with Stephen and Hetty Haskell about their work. Ellen White joined in the daily round of activities at the school–up at six, Bible study at six-thirty to seven-thirty, breakfast, classes through the morning, et cetera. {5BIO 139.1}

Oakland and San Francisco

About four years ago, when Elder Haskell and others were conducting a Bible training-school and evening services in New York City, the word of the Lord to the workers there was: “Let the believers living near the place where you are holding meetings, share the burden of the work. They should feel it a duty and a privilege to help make the meetings a success. God is pleased by efforts to set them at work. He desires every church-member to labor as his helping hand, seeking by loving ministry to win souls to Christ.” {RH, December 20, 1906 par. 1} The large cities should have been worked just as soon as the churches received the light. But many have carried no burden for souls, and Satan, finding them susceptible to his temptations, has spoiled their lives. God asks his people to repent, be converted, and return to their first love, which they have lost by their failure to follow in the footsteps of the self-sacrificing Redeemer.” {RH, December 20, 1906 par. 2} And to the church in Los Angeles, over a year ago, when the Lord was mightily stirring the people through the tent-meetings in progress, was sent the word:– {RH, December 20, 1906 par. 3} “Let the Los Angeles church have special seasons of prayer daily for the work that is being done. The blessing of the Lord will come to the church-members who thus participate in the work, gathering in small groups daily to pray for its success. Thus the believers will obtain grace for themselves, and the work of the Lord will be advanced. {RH, December 20, 1906 par. 4} “This is the way we used to do. We prayed for our own souls and for those who were carrying on the work. The Lord Jesus declares that where two or three are gathered together in his name, he is in the midst of them, to bless them. Let there be less talking, and more sincere, earnest prayer. {RH, December 20, 1906 par. 5} “I fear that the effort that is being made to proclaim the truth in Los Angeles will not be appreciated. Let every man come up to the help of the Lord against the mighty foe. Where a special effort is made, as has been revealed by the evangelistic work done in Los Angeles, let every member of the church draw near to God. Let all search their own hearts with the light that shines from the Word. If sin is discovered, let it be confessed and repented of. Let every helper be in good working order. The Lord will hear and answer prayer. Let not the church-members think that efforts should be put forth for them by the one who is impressed to labor for those who have been neglected, those in whose behalf special efforts have not heretofore been put forth. {RH, December 20, 1906 par. 6} “Where such an effort is made as has been made in Los Angeles, let the members of the church clear the King’s highway, and help with their means in the work being done. Let them show that they are in perfect harmony. Let them be on hand at the meetings, armed and equipped for service, ready to talk with any one who may be interested. Let them pray and work for the lost sheep. {RH, December 20, 1906 par. 7} “Let the second chapter of Second Timothy be impressed on the heart and brought into the practical life. Let not this season pass and leave the church uninfluenced by the truth that has been proclaimed. There is danger of the church’s being in a self-satisfied, indifferent, backslidden condition during this time of special blessing, when the Word of God is being presented. Awake, my brethren, awake, and do not let angels see that you feel but little obligation to act your part in sustaining the work that is being done. Be wide awake. Pray while going about your daily duties. Draw strength from Christ; and let your hearts be filled with the deepest gratitude that the Lord is working. Be laborers together with him. {RH, December 20, 1906 par. 8} “This is Los Angeles’ opportunity. If the members of the church will come humbly before God, putting all that is wrong out of their hearts, and consulting him at every step, he will manifest himself to them, and will give them courage in him.” {RH, December 20, 1906 par. 9} This instruction is specially applicable to the churches at Oakland, Alameda, Berkeley, and San Francisco. Long has the light of present truth been shining upon the pathway of the believers in these churches. In a peculiar sense have they been favored with unusual light and unusual privileges. And now, when the judgments of heaven have led thinking men and women to pause and reflect what these things mean, a golden opportunity is given every believer to co-operate heartily with the messengers of truth who have come to tell the people that Jesus is soon coming again. {RH, December 20, 1906 par. 10}In this time, when God’s message of warning is being so clearly proclaimed in these cities, every believer should carefully study and take heed to the words of counsel written by Paul to Timothy:– {RH, December 20, 1906 par. 11} “Continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; and that from a child thou hast known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. {RH, December 20, 1906 par. 12} “I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom: Preach the Word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long-suffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.” {RH, December 20, 1906 par. 13} If, in this opportune time, the members of the churches will come humbly before God, putting out of their hearts all that is wrong, and consulting him at every step, he will manifest himself to them, and will give them courage in him. We must be ready to use our God-given capabilities in the work of the Lord. We must be ready to speak words in season and out of season,–words that will help and bless. {RH, December 20, 1906 par. 14}

Elder Haskell and his wife, with some helpers, have just opened a Bible training-school in San Francisco, with headquarters at the Laguna Street church. The Lord blessed their efforts in Oakland, and they helped lay the foundation for a broad work to be carried forward in that city. Now, they enter San Francisco to do a similar work. {RH, November 29, 1906 par. 18}

As the church-members do their part faithfully, the Lord will lead and guide his chosen ministers, and strengthen them for their important work. In much prayer let us all unite in holding up their hands, and in drawing bright beams from the heavenly sanctuary. We are soul-hungry to see the work advancing as it should. Christ is our alpha and our omega. Only in his strength can we gain success. That there may be no cessation of effort during the rainy season, I have encouraged Elder S. N. Haskell and his wife to return to Oakland for a time. The Oakland brethren and sisters have offered them the use of the dwelling-house on the new church property. This will serve as a headquarters for city mission work and a Bible training-school. {RH, February 14, 1907 par. 7} The work in Oakland must not be cut short. For years I have pleaded that an earnest effort be put forth in this city, and now that this is being done, let us go straight forward in right lines. There is to be no variableness, neither shadow of turning, in the presentation of truth to the people in Oakland. {RH, February 14, 1907 par. 8}

8. Special groups to target cities

Seven men should have been chosen to be united with the president, to set in operation a work in the great cities for those who are perishing without the truth, while no determined efforts are being put forth to save them. These seven men should be men who are wide awake, men that are humble and meek and lowly in heart. Never should the cities have been neglected as they are; for there has come most decidedly message after message calling for earnest labor. {Ev 37.3}

No less than seven men should be chosen to carry the large responsibilities of the work of God in the great cities. And these men should humble themselves daily and seek the Lord most earnestly for sanctified wisdom. They should relate themselves to God as men desirous to be taught. They must be men of prayer, who realize the peril of their own souls. What should be the work of these seven men? They should investigate the needs of the cities and put forth earnest, decided efforts to advance the work.–Letter 58, 1910. (Ev 37-38)

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