During a 1968 meeting with Pastors, Oral Roberts encourages Pastors to focus on people as the primary purpose of ministry. Robert's uses Jesus as an example of ministry, as one who touched people, loved people, and healed people. Jesus came because he loves people. He was always near the needs of people. Roberts talked about the need to meet practical needs out of love and compassion for people. Jesus came anointed with the Spirit to people with needs.
Robert's message was during a time in America where racism and violence were in the forefront of the American imagination. Using the story of Malchus, the servant of the High Priest whose ear was cut off by Peter, Oral critiques the institutions who are defending Christianity by using violence. But Jesus was there to touch the slave who was a victim of violence both from the Religious leaders and from Peter, a follower of Jesus.
Roberts had just attended a group of meetings with Pastors in Harlem where he heard what he described as "militant" rhetoric about race. But Roberts responded that he agreed with much of what he said and embraced the pastor. He testified that Jesus met them in that embrace. Roberts says, "We must be willing to call brother someone who we don't know and to touch people."
Jesus touched people to bring healing in the midst of a violent generation. If the compassion of Jesus is in our hearts, we will touch people including the violent, militant and dissonant on campus. Roberts believes Jesus would be where these individuals are, even among the violent and caring for them. He encouraged Pastors to resist the urge to create distance between the pulpit and the people.
Roberts, Oral, "A Message to Pastors" (1968). Oral Roberts Collection. 3.