A distict leader or pastor of a church faces an almost insuperable task if he labors alone. He must multiply himself. His task is to enlist others, to teach them, to plan and lay out systematic work for them. God sees the work to be done and also the burden which leaders in districts and churches must bear in an ever-enlarging work. He says:
"Time is short. Workers for Christ are needed everywhere. There should be one hundred earnest, faithful laborers in home and foreign mission fields where now there is one. The highways and the byways are yet unworked."—"Fundamentals of Christian Education," p. 488.
But in pointing out the urgency of the time, the magnitude of the task, and the great need of workers, God also points out how this need can be met. How can the minister multiply himself a hundred times? He says: "The Lord calls upon our youth to labor as canvassers and evangelists, to do house-to-house work in places that have not yet ,heard the truth."—Ibid. Ah, there is the secret of successful accomplishment. Enlist and train the youth!
How can the minister bind the young people to himself so that he can greatly multiply his effectiveness? Below are seven simple suggestions, gleaned from the rich literature given the church through the Spirit of prophecy, which will assure success.
"Young men and young women, cannot you form companies, and, as soldiers of Christ, enlist in the work. .. . Let there be companies organized in every church to do this work. . . . Will the young men and young women who really love Jesus organize themselves as workers ?"—Signs, May 29, 1893. (See also "Missionary Volunteers and Their work," p. I.)
5. Teach them specific skills and knowledges. In learning these, they will also learn attitudes.
"It is not enough to show how much needs to be done, and to urge the youth to act a part. They must be taught how to labor for the Master. They must be trained, disciplined, drilled, in the best methods of winning souls to Christ. Teach them to try in a quiet, unpretending way to help their young companions. Let different bram-hes of missionary effort be systematically laid out, in which they may take part, and let them be given instruction and help.—"Gospel Workers," p. 210.
Keep a record of their achievements. Youth likes to see progress. The M. V. Progressive Class work for the various age groups has been set up for the purpose of teaching those things which will enable young people to do specific things. The Master Comrade Progressive Class work is designed to help young people "to act a part in well-organized plans for helping other youth." The Advanced Study and Service League classwork is intended to help senior youth qualify themselves to hold gospel meetings, to give Bible studies, to canvass for our truth-filled books, to conduct branch Sabbath schools and Sunday schools, and in other ways to magnify the work of the church. These materials are at the minister's hand to help him in training the youth of his church.
6. Provide real, not imaginary, opportunities for young people to practice the skills and knowledges which they have learned. Interest in a matter depends upon one's sharing, identifying, himself in the experience. Sound educational procedure requires that young people must engage in the activity if they are to become interested in it, and if the skills which they have learned are to become their own. A working band is a living band.
7. Provide opportunities for them to relate their experiences in the M. V. Society, and occasionally in the church.
"Do not imagine that you can arouse the interest of the young by going to the missionary meeting and preaching a long sermon. Plan ways whereby a live interest may be aroused. From week to week the youth should bring in their reports, telling what they have tried to do for the Saviour, and what success has been theirs. If the missionary meeting were made an occasion for bringing in such reports, it would not be dull, tedious, and uninteresting. It would be full of interest, and there would be no lack of attendance."—Ibid.
If twenty minutes of the regular society meeting were dedicated to telling experiences in service, the work of the band and of the individual would be tied into the life of the society, and what a life that society would have ! If the service bands in our young people's societies were integrated in this fashion with the society meeting, the work of the band would captivate the imagination of youth, and challenge and inspire the other members of the society.
Every minister and church elder has in the Senior. M. V. Society of his church the material from which he can greatly multiply his effectiveness as a worker for God. And if he utilized this material, not only would he multiply his own effectiveness, but he would help save the young people to serve in the cause of Christ who might otherwise be lost.