Page images
PDF
EPUB

needs of the community and to suggest for themselves definite forms of service. Now is the time, also, to inform them regarding the mission ary benevolences of the church and to enlist for them the active support of the young people.

The Senior Department, with its organized classes, may become, to all intents and purposes, the Young People's Society of the Church, meeting at a second hour for worship, for the discussion of forms of activity and service, for working out together their religious convictions and for the study of denominational history and ideals. In some cases the class organizations may be taken over bodily as committees in the young people's society. Some churches have worked out a four years' program of study, worship and work, parallel to the instruction in the Sundayschool, and leading up to full participation in the work of the Church itself. Such a plan has the merit of definiteness, of adaptation to local conditions, of progressive advance and of a clear-cut objective and goal, while conserving the benefits of interdenominational fellowship.

Mission Study Classes, Clubs for Young Men or Young Women, Chorus Choirs and a variety of other agencies are available for special kinds of training and are valuable as furnishing a means of expression for the earnest and active young life of the church. Nothing is more deadly at this period than inaction and passivity.

The pastor will do well to come into as close contact as possible with his young people at this period, helping them to meet their perplexities, to clarify their thinking and to find their places in the life and work of the church.

COMMITTEE ON RELIGIOUS EDUCATION

IN THE LOCAL CHURCH

Supplement C to report of Commission on Religious Education

I. THE NEED FOR SUCH A COMMITTEE

In nearly every church is to be found a variety of organizations and agencies whose aim may be said to be educational. This applies most obviously to the Sunday-school, but the same is true in greater or less degree of the young people's society, missionary clubs or classes, groups like the Boy Scouts, Knights of King Arthur, Queens of Avalon, and Camp Fire Girls, men's clubs and brotherhoods and the regular services of the church. In many cases each of these agencies plans its program and carries on its work more or less independently of the others, yet many or all of them are striving to influence the same individuals. In the interest of economy of effort and the prevention of waste it is desirable that these separate programs should be unified. It is believed that a committee on religious education may render valuable service in studying the various programs, and in offering suggestions as to the possible elimination of waste due to overlapping or the putting forth of new efforts where needs have been overlooked.

II. THE WORK OF THE COMMITTEE

One of the first duties of such a committee, therefore, should be to study carefully the whole community, or at least that portion of it which constitutes the recognized parish. Such a study should reveal (a) the nature of the population, whether home or foreign born, Catholic, Jewish or Protestant, proportion of children, industrial features, etc.; (b) the forces at work upon the population for good or for ill. Among the former may be mentioned the character of the homes, churches, schools, playgrounds, libraries, public lectures, entertainments, etc.; while among the latter may be listed saloons or other places of evil resort, gangs of loafers, undesirable picture shows and other forms of entertainment; in fact anything which is detrimental to the interests of childhood and youth. It is a great help if the committee will prepare maps and charts of the community to make more vivid and visual the actual conditions.

Over against this study of the community should be a study of the local church in all its educational aspects. Having discovered the needs of the community, the object should be to discover the resources which the church can command for meeting these needs either within its own membership or in co-operation with other churches in the community

and with the denomination as a whole. These also should be tabulated and presented in some graphic form.

Having made these surveyş, the committee should set itself the task of strengthening the work of the church in all possible ways. This may involve (a) a reorganization of some agency, as for example the Sundayschool, for greater effectiveness; (b) the introduction of a new type of lesson material; (c) the preparation of a joint program in which the various organizations will have each its own appointed task; (d) the organization of new agencies to meet needs which are not yet provided for; (e) the combining or disbanding of any organizations whose work overlaps or is no longer necessary.

It may be desirable for the Committee, through the appointment of sub-committees, to recognize and keep constantly in view several distinct phases of its work. Thus there may be distinguished the following departments:

(1) Extension, facilitated through the survey of the community.

(2) Organization, Grading and Co-ordination, with apportionment of tasks, as one result of survey of the local church.

(3) Instruction, to deal with all questions pertaining to the curriculum, its aims, lesson courses, methods, plans for correlation, standards and equipment.

(4) Training in Christian Living, including training in worship, missions, personal and social service, through the Sunday-school, young people's society, mission study classes, choirs, church services, etc.

(5) Leadership, charged with the responsibility of training teachers and leaders in every department of the Church School.

(6) Finances, including not only plans for the support of the church's educational work, the Sunday-school, etc., but also plans for training in missionary and benevolent giving.

(7) Co-operation, with other community agencies, e.g., the schools, library, etc., and with other educational movements, denominational and interdenominational.

III. POWERS OF THE COMMITTEE With so large a task before it, the Committee on Religious Education should have large powers. It should be appointed by the Church and make its report directly to the church. The Committee on Religious Education concerns itself specifically with educational policies and with the agencies through which these are to be carried out, though it does not directly undertake the work of administration. The powers conferred upon it should enable it to inquire freely and fully into the work of any agency or organization, and to suggest any changes in policy or method which seem to it desirable. It may when requested assist the church by outlining the qualifications desirable in a superintendent, and, should occasion arise, in discovering one who is fitted for the task. It may also in co-operation with the superintendent determine the qualifications of teachers and approve their appointment upon his recommendation, or at least the appointment of the heads of departments in the church school. This committee will naturally serve the church by representing it in conference with similar organizations in other churches in the community or in the denomination at large.

IV. METHOD OF APPOINTMENT

The Committee on Religious Education should not ordinarily include among its membership the administrative officers of the Sunday school or of the other educational agencies, but should be independent of these and of other administrative committees in the church. Ordinarily such administrative officers will contribute more by being called into conference with the committee as occasion requires than by serving continuously as members of the committee. Its membership should be composed of persons selected because of their special interest in or acquaintance with educational work, and it should be large enough to include the various aspects of such work, e.g. Education in the Home, Education in the Sunday-school, Moral and Religious Value of the School, Playground, the Library, etc. The committee should not be so large, however, as to be unwieldy. In a small church it may not be possible to secure more than three persons with the desirable qualifications, while in a larger church five or seven members should be sufficient. Generally, the pastor should be a member, ex officio. As the work of the committee will be continuous, the terms of office of the members should not expire in any one year but overlap so that a majority of the committee can continue unchanged from year to year.

For convenience of reference the above suggestions may be placed together in the form of by-laws, which may be so framed as to fit the needs of the local community and the local church.

A MINIMUM EQUIPMENT FOR TEACHERS

OF THE SUNDAY SCHOOL

Supplement D to Report of Commission on Religious Education

MANY of our teachers are not able to obtain an ideal equipment for teaching; they are often so situated that even the courses used by some teachers are unattainable. Many schools are taught largely or entirely by such teachers, who ought not to be left to think that there is no standard of equipment for them. It is possible to make a statement of a minimum equipment, which the superintendent or pastor of any school, however small, can present to actual or prospective teachers with the expectation that it can be met. This is not to be regarded as a substitute for the ideal course. No one who can do better would be satisfied with it and it ought to be regarded in any case not as representing the end, but only the beginning.

The Minimum Equipment calls for the thorough mastery of at least a part of one Biblical book. The teacher who has gained this should go on to the mastery of still more. It calls for the careful reading of certain parts of the Bible, which ought to lead to reading the rest of the volume. It calls for the reading of one book out of certain lists; a person who reads one can read another more easily. It presents, not all that a teacher should know on the various subjects touched, but the least with which a teacher, however meager the opportunity or equipment, should begin the great work of teaching.

1. THE SUNDAY SCHOOL

Read carefully one of the following books:

[ocr errors]

Athearn, The Church School. Pilgrim Press

$1.00 Weigle, The Pupil and the Teacher. Pilgrim Press

.50 St. John, Child Nature and Child Nurture. Pilgrim Press .75 St. John, Stories and Story-telling. Pilgrim Press

.60
Du Bois, The Point of Contact in Teaching. Dodd, Mead,
and Co.

.75
Littlefield, Hand-Work in the Sunday School. S. S. Times 1.00
Cope, The Modern Sunday School. Revell .

1.00

If desired, other books on the Sunday-school, child study or methods of teaching may be substituted. The Sunday-school should secure a few of the books mentioned here, and under II-E below, for the use of its teachers.

« PreviousContinue »