Samuel Francis is the founder and director of The Next Drop Off podcast. He was recently interviewed by Keith Reid, associate publishing director of the Southern Union Conference.
Keith Reid: Samuel, tell us a little about yourself and where you are from.
Samuel Francis: I was born in Brooklyn, New York, but raised in Bowie, Maryland. I went to mostly Seventh-day Adventist schools growing up, and gave my life to Christ when I was 16. Shortly after my surrender to Christ I was introduced to the wonderful work of literature evangelism.
How long have you been involved in literature evangelism?
I started in 2008, and am still going strong for a total of 13 years, by God’s grace.
Most students canvass to get through school and move on. What’s kept you going this long?
When I inquired of the Lord, “What would thou have me to do?” — as Paul did in Acts 9 — through Providential circumstances I received my calling to ministry. I firmly believe my ministry is literature evangelism, not merely as a means to get through school, but as a way of life.
I was convinced of this when I came across statements such as the following Ellen G. White [emphasis supplied]: “Canvassers must go out into various parts of the country. The importance of this work is fully equal to that of the ministry. The living preacher and the silent messenger are both required for the accomplishment of the great work before us” (Colporteur Ministry, p. 8).
White also penned this inspiration [emphasis supplied]: “The intelligent, God-fearing, truth-loving canvasser should be respected; for he occupies a position equal to that of the gospel minister. Many of our young ministers and those who are fitting for the ministry would, if truly converted, do much good by working in the canvassing field. And by meeting the people and presenting to them our publications they would gain an experience which they cannot gain by simply preaching” (Colporteur Ministry, p. 44).
These quotes help keep my head up when things aren’t going as planned.
What are the positions you’ve occupied in the publishing work?
After my second year of canvassing I began my leadership journey in Douglas, Georgia, in 2010 during a winter program. ReNeita Samuels, Youth Publishing director for the Georgia-Cumberland Conference, took me under her wings and taught me “the ropes,” so to speak. I spent the next 10 years of my life with that conference occupying positions such as head leader for the summer programs, and industry leader for a number of academies, colleges, and universities.
What has God led you to do now?
That’s a great question! As of last year, I was inspired to start a podcast called, “The Next Drop Off.” It is designed to provide young literature evangelists with a sense of community, encouragement, and even training for future leaders.
And what’s your vision for the podcast?
My vision is to greatly enhance the experience of students who enter Magabook canvassing programs and help publishing directors prepare quality leaders to carry the work forward. Too many students slip through the cracks and only do one summer when they could have done three to five and become excellent leaders. Also, there are too many leaders with insufficient experience who ruin their own chances of future leadership and discourage students from ever canvassing again. By God’s grace, I plan to use the podcast as a tool to keep students coming back for more, and at the same time, prepare quality leaders that students can look up to.
How can people tune in?
It’s very easy. Just head to www.thenextdropoff.com, and from there you can stream/download all of the episodes. Also, we’re on Instagram @thenextdropoff.