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among us needs only the stimulus of leadership to take on new life and power. All along the line there is abundant room for definite leadership adequately equipped to aid the churches in reaching their full measure of fruitfulness.
3. The third point at which we have the beginnings of a new co-operative contact and purpose and where there is profound need that the process shall continue may be described as a CONCERTED ATTACK UPON COMMON PROB
Reference is not here made to interests sharply separated from the two fields just described. Agencies of administration and of leadership have abundant bearing upon them. But there are many achievements of the church of Christ which are not primarily matters of corporate leadership but of the general will. This is particularly true in our fellowship whose genius, thank God, is for the spiritual and personal rather than the mechanical and ecclesiastical. Leadership may and must give voice to the demands of the common task. It may emphasize their meaning and importance. But they will never be met save as there rises from the spiritual resources of the churches a great volume of spontaneous endeavor which is both eagerly intent upon the end in view and upon the largest possible measure of co-operation in reaching it.
Perhaps the most obvious illustration of this sort of thing is to be found in the Christian College. Here our denomination has a great history. Here it faces great possibilities and is beset with grave perils. There is probably no student of our life who would say that for some years we have been maintaining the high tradition of our past. Neither in quantity or quality has our effort for training the whole nature of our college boys and girls been up to the standard set by former achievement and present need. We must give ourselves freshly and resolutely to this central task. We cannot depend upon official agencies though they can do something. We must depend upon an awakening far and wide among the churches to the peril of the training which ignores the life of the spirit. There must be a new support of those who are striving to promote the training of the whole man.
Equally valid illustration of the thing named is to be
found in the question of ministerial supply. It is known of all that for twenty years and more we have not been producing our own ministry. Thousands of our churches are served by men whose training was in other denominations. It is quite beside the mark to discuss whether this has or has not operated to our present denominational advantage. The significant question is whether our situation is indicative of health or sickness. Is the denomination which asks others to train its leaders in the path of wholesome procedure or is it not? The question readily answers itself.
Why should not the whole series of steps involved in maintaining a ministry be faced? We have about 5,000 men engaged in various forms of ministerial work at home and abroad, not including teaching. If we knew that five years hence every one of those men would be in his grave how sharp and decisive would be our attack on the problem of recruiting a force to supply their place. But we do know that in a few times five years they will all be gone. Why not make the same sort of an attack to meet that certain event? Here again leadership has its place. But the real solution lies with parents, teachers, pastors, everybody. We can have enlistments for our ministry of the kind and amount that we really want if our wants express themselves in prayer to the Lord of the harvest and in appropriate deeds among our fellowmen.
Other illustrations of the point under discussion readily suggest themselves but I must not do more than name some of them. The Church is rapidly coming to a realization of its obligation to secure the Christian reconstruction of society. How shall we even in the most distant way meet our share of this obligation save by concerted attack upon the problem with the help of adequate leadership?
Like the Church of all ages and lands we are shorn of power because our material gains are not held subject to the call of our Lord. What can loose our purse strings and multiply our meager gifts? Not the zeal of one man or a hundred but the pressure of a concerted effort to reach a new vision and a new consecration.
How shall we enlarge our already potent influence for bringing in the long prayed for and long deferred day of Christian unity? Only through the creation of a widely diffused desire and its precipitation in personal and corporate effort.
For the effective carrying forward of the whole range of close knit effort thus briefly indicated it appears to me that existing forms of organization are essentially adequate. Some features will need to be added. Some can be subtracted. Here and there realignment will be called for and a different distribution of functions. But on the whole I anticipate a decrease of machinery rather than an increase.
All our discussion comes back to this.
(a) That long ago our Congregational Churches recognized the duty of joining their forces for common tasks.
(6) That for a hundred years by a gradual process of not too swift or orderly evolution they have been developing methods of doing this.
(c) That with a new accession of denominational consciousness they are now engaged in translating vision and experience into concrete organic forms.
(d) That the influence of this should be felt and will be felt in many fields not directly affected by the formal decisions reached or proposals made.
Shall we be successful in working out a richer, fuller life, a more abundant service along all these lines? Undoubtedly, if we are faithful to our trust. We shall be able to make real the glowing dream to which Dr. Nash some years ago gave expression.
“It is not too much to say that in working out such an adequate administrative system we should be giving the world a new achievement. There is nothing quite like it. Never yet has the ecclesiastical world secured genuine and unhampered democracy, with everything - even the official ministry-standing within the scope of the local church, and then proceeded out of such entirely voluntary materials to build up effective and enduring national unity. There are many to say that it cannot even now be done, that either the democracy will be damaged or the unity will not be reached. That it has not been done is true. That it will one day be achieved must also be true, as God and brotherhood are real. Sometime there will be seven hundred thousand Christian men, each one free to follow what the Spirit saith to him, living happily together in churches as truly self-conducting as their members - seven hundred thousand Christian souls, or a million, glad and faithful to hold unbound their places in orderly array up to national unity, eager in such union to multiply for the love they bear Him the power he gives. It may be that that time is drawing near. It may be that we are just now those Christians. At any rate, the vision is superb; not they who do not reach it, but they who do not follow, fail.” All this lies easily within our grasp.
We have the history, the liberty, the homogeneity, the resources of personality and of money, the good sense and the devotion to move swiftly and potently toward this goal.
In more compact form and with surer step the Pilgrim column will advance into the coming time. We have prized the free initiative of individuals. We shall not cease to prize it. But we shall gain a new proficiency in the organized endeavor which conserves and hands on the power of individual genius. We have emphasized intellectual proficiency. We will add a fresh appreciation of simple hearted deyotion to the common task. We have known how to be temperate, tolerant, and fraternal. We shall not unlearn the lesson. But we shall seek also to be aggressive, keener in sense of corporate obligation, surer of our corporate power. In humble consciousness that our strength is weakness, in trustful reliance upon God's Spirit, in the assurance of the sufficiency of the old, the new, the unchanging Gospel of the love of God in Jesus Christ, we will pray that our denomination may have her place and do her work as the unfolding years stretch on to the coming of the Kingdom of her crucified and risen Lord.
Let us summon ourselves to fresh consecration of all our powers to the service of our denomination, and through it and beyond it to our Lord.
REPORT OF TREASURER OF NATIONAL
REV. JOEL S. IVES
Year Ending Dec. 31, 1913 Balance December 31, 1912..
$4,814.50 Received from States...
718.50 Income invested funds..
75.00 Interest on Deposits..
206.57 Rebate on rent.
83.74 For Federal Council...
425.00 Social Service account.
22,062.30 Paid Salaries...
697.00 Year Book account..
8,371,41 Commission of Nineteen..
1,487.43 Commission on Missions.
604.25 General expenses.
1,801.31 Federal Council..
927.00 Social Service account.
$17,893.46 Balance December 31, 1913...
$26,876.80 Year Ending Dec. 31, 1914
RECEIPTS Balance Dec. 31, 1913..
$8,983.34 Per capita Contributions.
24,217.58 Advertising Year Book..
614.50 Sales of Year Books and other printed matter.. 367.95 Interest on Monthly balances.
193.40 Income from invested funds.
112.50 National Missionary Societies Apportionment Expenses...