Guidance in Children’s Work --Part 2

Guidance in Children’s Work
Part 2

Edward V. Aver

It is indeed an exciting and thrilling experience to young people when they are officially entitled to join the High School Youth Group. This Group is open to all who are enrolled in the 9th through 12th grades in School. Their meetings are held every Sunday afternoon from 5:30 to 6:45 in the home of one of the Youth Directors. The home is purposely used as unsaved young people will readily go to a home, whereas they might hesitate or refuse to enter a Chapel.

Besides the hearty singing, there is always something exciting featured at each meeting. The finest of youth speakers; a Christian motion picture; a thought-provoking Forum or question and answer period, etc, are always in store. Supper is provided with the food courses determined in the previous week’s meeting and supplied by the young people. Many picnics, youth retreats and miscellaneous activities, may be entered into during the entire year. Most of the young people attend the Sunday Night Chapel Meeting after their afternoon meeting, and their presence is appreciated through help they render by audience and service contributions.

The College Youth Group

Ample provision for the spiritual needs of young people of College age and in their twenties, has been made. They, like the High Schoolers, meet at the same time in the home of another Youth Director. This Group, though meeting only for the past three years, has “outgrown” the home where meetings are held. The Youth Director is now looking for a home of larger proportions. The main attraction of the meetings for College Youth has unquestionably been the enthusiastic reception to studying the deeper things of the Bible; round table forums; the problems and perplexities that confront their generation, etc. The Sunday night food provisions are handled on a volunteer basis.

Like the High School group, the College Age young people have their separate “outside” activities, such as week-end retreats, outings, etc.

The Spring Children’s Series

An old, but firmly established fixture in the life of Bethany Chapel is a two week series of meetings for children held annually during the Easter Season. Much publicity and work is expended to encourage the youngsters to not only attend themselves but to bring their unsaved friends. The High School Youth Group contributes by combining a neighbourhood tract distribution with announcements of the Children’s series. Incentives, such as a punched attendance card serve as a stimulus for the children to achieve various prizes offered for each of the two weeks.

Only experienced and enthusiastic leaders are used for the singing, contest, and other phases of the programs. Usually an outstanding Children’s speaker (This year it will be brother W. B. Mackie of Detroit) presents the Word, though at times, the Youth Directors of the Chapel will undertake the entire series of meetings. The value of these meetings cannot be too highly praised for they have contributed immeasurably to the spiritual tone of the Assembly. Though intended primarily for youth, many adults are urged and do attend these most interesting meetings.

The Sunday School

A strong and stable Sunday School certainly is a prerequisite to any children’s work worthy of the name. The ultimate aim is that all other Youth groups might eventually channel the children to the place where they can be established and grow in their Christian faith. Here an intimate and individual understanding is reached between the pupil and teacher. Through co-ordinated effort on the part of each Youth Group leader, many children have found the Sunday School to be a wonderfully adventurous and new part of their lives. The use of audio-visuals both for the entire Sunday School as well as individual classes, has proved a boon to both enthusiasm and attendance response. Frequent variations of audio-visuals have been advantageous so that the children do not become tired of the same thing.

A well-equipped, modern nursery adaquately supervised is always available to parents with very young children who wish to attend services. The Primary children have their own individual room and meeting. Grade School children occupy the main Sunday School auditorium with their own song-leader and all of the usual activities. The High Schoolers meet in a modern, large sound-proof room in another section of the building and also have their own Sunday School program.

Daily Vacation Bible School

Daily Vacation Bible School is the Pied Piper of vacation time for the alert Christian assembly today. It not only attracts children with an appeal to come to a “circus” atmosphere, but it is clearly one of the most effective Bible teaching arms of the assembly because of the concentrated instruction it provides. It makes children more interested and better students in Sunday school. They do better assignments and memorize with zeal. VBS can carry over into the pupils’ daily life as well, and many a parent has noted changes in the lives of their children which have resulted in the parent’s being attracted to the Gospel. Many a family has been attracted to Gospel Chapels because of favourable first impressions gained at VBS and, thus, how wise it is that we Christians give our utmost support to this vital undertaking for the Lord.

Many assemblies “freeze” at the thoughts of undertaking a DVBS and thus this vital work never gets underway. The usual excuses are “We can’t get teachers.” “There are too many conflicting activities.” “It’s too expensive,.” Thank the Lord for those assemblies who try anyway (and usually always succeed). May we suggest some ideas that may be put to profitable use.

Build a large file of prospects during the year. Your Sunday School and Youth Groups will provide a prime nucleas. Enroll your teachers well in advance (several months if possible). Have a get-together meeting where an outline of the School program may be presented and discussed. Serve refreshments. As a leader show vital enthusiasm for your DVBS. You’ll see that your enthusiasm can and will be contagious. When shall you hold the school? Conditions in various localities vary, but with the co-operation of the teachers you can arrive at a suitable date. Some assemblies find that it is best to hold their DVBS before the summer slump sets in and before the children leave on vacations. Others find the best time is at the end of the summer when vacations are mostly out of the way and teachers feel more inclined to take on VBS responsibilities. If teachers cannot be found for day-time school, why not undertake a Twilight DVBS when adequate teachers and transportation are available? This has proved highly successful in some localities. Provide every teacher with a young person as a helper for taking care of such things as records, recreation, and handwork. A Coffee break is a very welcome treat to teachers.

A pre-registration day can be a time saver. On this special day pupils can come and fill out their record cards. Other special features for this day could be refreshments, special films and slides of last year’s school, singing, and games. Teach the DVBS theme song; distribute special promotional materials.

Have vibrant, enthusiastic training sessions for the teachers, using the free audio-visual training kits now available on the market.

We have just heard of some Christians who used forethought to lighten the refreshment problem. The housewives made several hundred cookies, carefully wrapped them in foil and put them in cannisters. These are then placed in freezers and are available for instant use when DVBS finally takes place.

We therefore believe that with some effort and much prayer, every assembly of Christians can successfully carry on a DVBS to the glory of God.