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How to get involved in the colporteur ministry
Who—ME? A colporteur? I could never do that! That’s what I often thought when I was younger. Whenever someone mentioned going from door to door selling religious books, Iwould imagine myself fumbling for words; meeting large, vicious dogs; and slaving long hours on hot streets to convince total strangers to buy books they didn’t want. Needless to say, I was hardly enthusiastic.
So it went until my junior year in academy. Then some friends persuaded me to try literature evangelism just once. "The experience will be good for you," they promised.
It wasn’t as though I’d never done door-to-doorwork. I’d helped with ingathering, requested food donations for the poor, and even distributed tracts. But for some reason the thought of being a colporteur seemed especially—well, frightening. I didn’t treasure the thought of being looked upon as a salesman—or worse, as a young, pushy peddler of religious literature.
I will always remember my first experience. A sour leader drove off, leaving my friend Wayne and me standing alone at the curb, questions flooded my mind. How did I allow myself to get into this?What if I’m not ready? What if I don’t have the right talents? But it was too late; I couldn’t turn back now. After a word of prayer, we began to knock on doors.
Wayne had sold books only once before, but we seemed to manage all right. We took turns speaking and carrying the duffle bag full of books. While one of us gave the presentation—or canvass, as colporteurs call it—the other listened, ready to correct any mistakes or add any necessary explanations.
Almost everyone we met that day was friendly and willing to look at our books. I was amazed at how many people were actually interested in what we had to sell! Throughout the day, we stopped to ask God to lead us and to work through us. Soon we had sold out of He Taught Love (Christ’s Object Lessons), and our other books were also selling well. By the end of the afternoon, after several hours of work, we had sold over $75 worth of books! We were excited. We knew that God had been behind every blessing, because we had asked for His help!
How about you? Do you believe that literature evangelism is an important work? Good! Are you willing to give it a try if God calls you to this ministry? If so, you must understand that spiritual work requires spiritual power that you do not have of yourself. Do you want to increase your faith in God, and allow Him to work through you more completely? Claim His promises! And then work, believing that He will do what He has promised, even if your feelings or emotions press you to doubt.
Perhaps you would really like to become involved in colporteur outreach—or maybe you’re a bit shy, and shrink from the challenge. Maybe you hesitate to go out because you feel you don’t have the necessary abilities or talents to do door-to-door work. Or possibly you have already done some literature evangelism, but would like to learn better methods and new ways to be more effective in your witness.
Whatever your situation, literature evangelism can be for you! Over the next several weeks, we will help you learn more about this great ministry—how to get started, what to say, what to sell, and even where to get books to sell. You’ll discover many secrets of success and read real-life stories of young people like you who have taken up the exciting challenge of the colporteur ministry. Not convinced it’s for you? Stay with us! You just may change your mind!
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"The Lord calls upon our youth to labor as canvassers and evangelists, to do house-to-house work in places that have not yet heard the truth. He speaks to our young men, saying, ‘Ye are not your own. For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.’ Those who will go forth to the work under God’s direction will be wonderfully blessed. Those who in this life do their best will obtain a fitness for the future immortal life" (Colporteur Ministry, page 19).
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