In our day the Lord desires that His people shall be dispersed throughout the earth. They are not to colonise. Jesus said, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature." Mark 16:15. When the disciples followed their inclination to remain in large numbers in Jerusalem, persecution was permitted to come upon them, and they were scattered to all parts of the inhabited world.
For years messages of warning and entreaty have been coming to our people, urging them to go forth into the Master's great harvest-field, and labour unselfishly for souls.-- Testimonies, vol. 8, p. 215. (1904)
Scatter to Unwarned Places
Many of the members of our large churches are doing comparatively nothing. They might accomplish a good work if, instead of crowding together, they would scatter into places that have not yet been entered by the truth. Trees that are planted too thickly do not flourish. They are transplanted by the gardener, that they may have room to grow, and not become dwarfed and sickly. The same rule would work well for our large churches. Many of the members are
dying spiritually for want of this very work. They are becoming sickly and inefficient. Transplanted, they would have room to grow strong and vigorous.
It is not the purpose of God that His people should colonise, or settle together in large communities. The disciples of Christ are His representatives upon the earth, and God designs that they shall be scattered all over the country, in the towns, cities, and villages, as lights amidst the darkness of the world. They are to be missionaries for God, by their faith and works testifying to the near approach of the coming Saviour.
Where there is an Opening for a Livelihood
The lay members of our churches can accomplish a work which, as yet, they have scarcely begun. None should move into new places merely for the sake of worldly advantage; but where there is an opening to obtain a livelihood, let families that are well grounded in the truth enter, one or two families in a place, to work as missionaries. They should feel a love for souls, a burden of labour for them, and should make it a study how to bring them into the truth. They can distribute our publications, hold meetings in their homes, become acquainted with their neighbours, and invite them to come to these meetings. Thus they can let their light shine in good works.-- Testimonies, vol. 8, pp. 244, 245. (1904)
Let Not Institutional Attractions Lure You
Those who feel like settling close to our publishing house or our sanitarium and school at Takoma Park should take counsel before they move.
To those who are looking toward Mountain View as a favourable place in which to live, because the Pacific Press is to be established there, I would say: Look to other parts of the world, which need the light that you have received in trust. Remember that God has given to every man his work. Choose some locality where you will have opportunity to let your light shine forth amid the moral darkness.
It is always the case that when an institution is established in a place, there are many families who desire to settle near it. Thus it has been in Battle Creek and in Oakland, and, to some extent, in
almost every place where we have a school or a sanitarium.-- Fundamentals of Christian Education, pp. 494, 495. (1904)
Establish No Jerusalem Centres
Our people are not . . . to regard ----- as a Jerusalem centre. Let them not think, because a number of our brethren are called here to connect with the publishing work, that this is a place for large numbers of our people to settle with their families. And let everyone connected with the office hold himself in readiness to leave, if God shall call him to some new place.-- Manuscript 148, 1905.
Do not crowd into one place, making the same mistake that has been made in Battle Creek. There are hundreds of places that need the light God has given you.--Fundamentals of Christian Education, p. 495. (1904)
Remain in Small Churches--Start New Schools
Many families, who, for the purpose of educating their children, move to places where our large schools are established, would do better service for the Master by remaining where they are. They should encourage the church of which they are members to establish a church school where the children within their borders could receive an all-round, practical Christian education. It would be vastly better for their children, for themselves, and for the cause of God, if they would remain in the smaller churches, where their help is needed, instead of going to the larger churches, where, because they are not needed, there is constant temptation to fall into spiritual inactivity.
Wherever there are a few Sabbathkeepers, the parents should unite in providing a place for a day school where their children and youth can be instructed. They should employ a Christian teacher, who, as a consecrated missionary, shall educate the children in such a way as to lead them to become missionaries.-- Counsels to Teachers, pp. 173, 174. (1913)
How Must the Angels Feel
I think how the angels must feel seeing the end approaching, and those who claim to have the knowledge of God and Jesus Christ whom He hath sent, huddle together, colonise, and attend meetings, and feel discouraged and dissatisfied if there is not much preaching
to benefit their souls and strengthen the church, while they are doing literally nothing.--Letter 16e, 1892.
Enlarge and Expand--But Not at a Centre
The people are encouraged to centre in Battle Creek, and they pay their tithe and give their influence to the building up of a modern Jerusalem that is not after God's order. In this work other places are cut off from facilities which they should have. Enlarge ye, spread, yes; but not in one place. Go out and establish centres of influence in places where nothing, or next to nothing, has been done. Break up your consolidated mass; diffuse the saving beams of light, and shed light into the darkened corners of the earth.-- Testimonies to Ministers, pp. 254, 255. (1895)