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How to get involved in the colporteur ministry
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So you’ve decided to try your hand at the colporteur ministry. You have some books, and you’re full of enthusiasm. However, you also have a few misgivings. What next? Should you march down the street and start knocking on doors?
That would be one approach—but not the wisest. Advance prayer and preparation will give you the spiritual strength you are sure to need. Walking with Christ at your side will give you confidence and make it possible for you to be an effective messenger for Him.
No competent builder would try to frame a house without a blueprint and the necessary tools and supplies. No doctor would perform a complicated surgery without the proper training. Any worthwhile endeavor requires preparation. This is even more important for literature evangelists, because they are engaged in the most important work in the world—saving souls.
The best motivation Christians decide to join the colporteur ministry for many reasons. Some enjoy the thrill of knocking on doors and meeting new people. Others look forward to making money to spend as they please. A few probably decide to sell Christian books from a sense of duty. But the best motivation—the motivation that comes only from God—is unselfish love. Without it, anything we do is worth nothing at all, in God’s sight.1 This is why, before we ever give a sales pitch for a religious book, we should ask God to fill us with His love toward the people we meet.
When we have Jesus’ love, we see others as He sees them. We remember that Jesus gave His life to save each person, and we long to bring them the good news of salvation so that they, too, can be in God’s kingdom. We become willing to do whatever is needed, even when we don’t feel like doing it. This is called cross-bearing. "If any man will come after me," Jesus said, "let him deny himself, and take up his cross."2
Important tools Three tools are musts for every successful colporteur: prayer, claiming God’s promises, and acting upon those promises. There is infinite help available to those who pray and claim the promises! For example, in Ephesians 6:10–18, God offers us His armor. Before canvassing, read these verses for yourself. Ask God to give you whatever part of His armor you may lack, and claim it for yourself!
Daily commitment Spiritual preparation for service is a daily commitment: we can’t be effective workers if we commune with God only on the days we plan to share about Him. In this work, as in any, it is of utmost importance to spend time with Jesus, in His Word, each day. As we behold the love of Jesus, we are strengthened with His love and grace.
Peerless partnership But how do you find the people who need the books—and lovingly convince them of their need? How do you answer difficult questions? What if people are rude? Over the next few weeks, you will find many helpful suggestions and principles for a successful colporteur ministry. Study them well. This is your part! But there will always be some situations where it is impossible, in our wisdom, to know what to do. This is why we must have still another of God’s free gifts: the help and guidance of the Holy Spirit. It’s yours for the asking!
Of course, the Holy Spirit will not do for you what you can and should do for yourself. Remember—John 14:26 says He will "bring all things to your remembrance." If you’ve never learned it, you’re not going to remember it! Strike up a partnership with the Holy Spirit. Offer yourself to be His instrument at all times, and trust Him to help and guide you wherever you need it. You’ll be a team no evil force can hold back!
1. See 1 Corinthians 13:1–3. 2. Luke 9:23.
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