Some seem to think they must race right straight along or else they will lose the inspiration and the people will lose the inspiration. If that is inspiration, let them lose it, and the sooner the better.
DISTRACTION BY PHYSICAL ANTICS
There are also fanatical ministers, who, in attempting to preach Christ, storm, halloo, jump up and down, and pound the desk before them, as if this bodily exercise profited anything. Such antics lend no force to the truths uttered, but, on the contrary, disgust men and women of calm judgment and elevated views. It is the duty of men who give themselves to the ministry to leave all coarseness and boisterous conduct outside the desk at least.
WHINING TONE NOT PROOF OF HUMILITY
There is another class that address the people in a whining tone. Their hearts are not softened by the Spirit of God, and they think they must make an impression by the appearance of humility. Such a course does not exalt the gospel ministry, but brings it down and degrades it. Ministers should present the truth warm from glory. They should speak in such a manner as rightly to represent Christ and preserve the dignity becoming His ministers.
INAUDIBLE PRAYERS A JOY TO SATAN
In the social meeting there is special need of clear, distinct utterance, that all may hear the testimonies borne and be benefited by them. Difficulties are removed and help is given as in social meeting God’s people relate their experiences. But too often the testimonies are borne with faulty, indistinct utterance, and it is impossible to gain a correct idea of what is said. Thus the blessing is often lost.
Let those who pray and those who speak pronounce their words properly and speak in clear, distinct, even tones. Prayer, if properly offered, is a power for good. It is one of the means used by the Lord to communicate to the people the precious treasures of truth. But prayer is not what it should be, because of the defective voices of those who utter it. Satan rejoices when the prayers offered to God are almost inaudible. Let God’s people learn how to speak and pray in a way that will properly represent the great truths they possess. Let the testimonies borne and the prayers offered be clear and distinct. Thus God will be glorified.
CLARITY IN PUBLIC READING
It is essential that students be trained to read in a clear, distinct tone. We have been pained as we have attended conference meetings, tract society meetings, and meetings of various kinds, where reports were read in an almost inaudible voice or in a hesitating manner or a muffled tone. One-half the interest in a meeting is killed when the participants do their part in an indifferent, spiritless fashion. They should learn to speak in such a way that they can edify those who listen. Let everyone connected with missionary work qualify himself to speak in a clear, attractive way, enunciating his words perfectly.
MOUTHPIECE FOR GOD
He who accepts the position of being a mouthpiece for God should consider it highly essential that he presents the truth with all the grace and intelligence that he can acquire through discipline of the mind and in such a manner that the truth shall lose nothing by his presentation. Let no one consider it a little thing to speak in a thick voice and clumsy manner, or to pitch the voice in a high, unnatural key, and talk loud and long and thus abuse the organs of speech given of God, and make himself unacceptable to the people.
DEFECTIVE UTTERANCE OF TRUTH
The ability to speak plainly and clearly, in full, round tones, is invaluable in any line of work. This qualification is indispensable in those who desire to become ministers, evangelists, Bible workers, or canvassers. Those who are planning to enter these lines of work should be taught to use the voice in such a way that when they speak to people about the truth, a decided impression for good will be made. The truth must not be marred by being communicated through defective utterance.
MANNER OF SPEAKING FOR ALL WORKERS
All the workers, whether they speak from the pulpit or give Bible readings, are to be taught to speak in a clear, expressive manner.
This article is excerpted from the book The Voice in Speech and Song, pp. 264-268, by Ellen G. White.