If ever ministers were confronted with a crisis hour in guiding and binding our youth to the advent movement, they are now. The swift-moving events of the last six months have brought problems to our young people such as this generation of youth had never before faced, and the problems which have grown out of the compulsory-militarytraining program are apparently to be with us for a long time. There is prospect that the compulsory-military-training program, which was to be of four years' duration, is to become permanent. If that be true, our boys, whatever the age level, will eventually face the problems which the draft presents. Attitudes, conscientious convictions, and a knowledge of principles and Bible doctrines are not acquired in a day. They come in the process of growing up.
Our young men will be confronted with the disruption of their plans, (i) to acquire an education, (2) to pursue their chosen lifework, (3) to establish homes of their own, and (4) to live happy, normal lives. They will face the influences and temptations of the camp and of the war machine of which they are a part. They will face tests of faith, and will perhaps be called on to endure persecution. Even the young people who are never inducted into the training camps will feel their influence. The influences of these camps will be felt to the remotest parts of the land, and in the most sheltered homes. Life for youth will never again be the same as it was before.
We must do something now. Can we not cause our youth to catch that heavenly vision which will steady them, and hold them for the church? Can we not quicken their hearing so that they shall hear God's voice, even while the sharp commands of men ring in their ears? Can we not help them to believe that God has destined them to do exploits for Him? Can we not make them sure that what comes to the child of God comes by His design, and that for him all things work together for good? This draft, in God's providence, may be transformed into a mighty opportunity. In a time like this, God's call comes ringing down from the ramparts of heaven to youth: "Ye are My witnesses."
Nineteen forty-one ought to witness the launching of a crusade for the conversion of the youth such as the church has never before seen. The times make a crusade like that imperative. We must win them for, and place them in, the hands of Christ, if we are to expect Christ to keep them in this time of test. The problem of saving our youth is of such magnitude that it transcends departmental lines, and is the problem of every minister and officer in the church.
The approaching Missionary Volunteer Spring Week of Prayer, therefore, brings to every minister an unparalleled opportunity and a solemn duty. Shall we not, as never before, organize the churches under our charge for prayer and personal work, in a mighty revival effort to reclaim the backslidden, to win the unconverted, and to steady and strengthen every Christian youth? Let Missionary Volunteer Day, March 8, be a day of challenge, a day of vision, a day of decision. Lift parents and young people out of the commonplace and into the presence of God. Let God, through you, call them to surrender and to heroic witnessing for Him.
Your morning sermon on Missionary Volunteer Day, with its heart-searching, inspiring message, should be the best sermon of the week. The reading provided in the March Gazette for Missionary Volunteer Day, by C. Lester Bond, contains excellent suggestions. For the meetings during Missionary Volunteer Week, you will wish to preach sermons to young people which lift, which teach, and which help them catch a glimpse of God's plans for them. Here is an outline of a sermon for young people which may be of help.