"Oh! Those Juniors!"

When the junior pulpit gets on fire, the whole family will go to church to see it burn!

By W. C. LOVELESS, M. V. Secretary, Southern California Conference

When the junior pulpit gets on fire, the whole family will go to church to see it burn. No longer will we hear the pastor and the junior leader say, "oh, those juniors ! What are we going to do with them?" As ministers of God we must sincerely ask ourselves the question, "Have we done all we can for the juniors ?" The boys and girls in our congre­gation are the rightful heirs to the church of God. If their hearts are not won to this message in the tender years of their experience, they are sure to become critical, fault-finding seniors. Likewise they will become backslidden adults.

Boys grow up in the period from twelve to seventeen. Somewhere within these years many boys become interested in worldly affairs and lose their loyalty to the Sabbath school and church. Likewise girls attain young woman­hood. We must win the confidence of youth by meeting them both upon their own ground—holding their interest by helping to solve their problems at home, at school, or wherever they may be. This is the time they must have their life's course charted by Christian ideals and precepts. They must be led along trails of Christian faith and right living which recognize that the modern youth must be busy doing something for the cause of God or his feet will stray in forbidden paths.

In some churches the junior pulpit has be­come a beacon light, guiding the feet of its youth to a place of usefulness in the church.

Where you find a junior pulpit aflame for God, there is a dynamic force of energy radiating to every part of the congregation. The juniors will do as much as or more to boost their pastor and his work than any other group in the church. Too many of our churches are losing this potential power and force by overlooking or ignoring the junior congregation altogether. Every minister and worker should determine to give a ten or fifteen-minute sermon to the children every week, planning something with action and a spiritual lift. The juniors will re­spond.

After fifteen years of working with the young people and juniors of our churches in many conferences, I am forced to believe that our whole ministerial staff could reap a great har­vest in the evangelization of our own juniors. In many cases it means a new line of thought, study, and preparation, but it has a rich reward.

A very forceful illustration was presented to us one summer in our junior training camps. We had less than four hundred junior boys and girls in attendance. After we had worked with these youth in the usual way, 102 of them asked for baptism. They asked to be baptized because they found it was better to have Chris­tian standards and ideals than to be cheating and coming short on the things that others were measuring up to. All these children who asked for baptism were the regular rank and file of juniors from our churches. It is possible that some of them will not remain loyal Seventh-day Adventists, but we find in our evangelistic work also that many of those brought in do not remain loyal. It is a sad fact that we are doing a great evangelistic work for the outside world and permitting our own junior boys and girls to go out the back door of the church. We think very little of the loss until they are gone.

Every pastor should determine to have a junior sermon every Sabbath morning and let the entire church know that he has planned for it, and will be disappointed if the juniors are not there. Spend time in finding junior ser­mon material with object lessons, for this will have a lasting impression upon boys and girls. God has placed the responsibility upon us as ministers, and He will hold us as accountable in the judgment for the juniors as for any other group. I think of this quotation many times with reference to our youth:

"With such an army of workers as our youth, rightly trained, might furnish, how soon the mes­sage of a crucified, risen, and soon-coming Saviour might be carried to the whole world l"—"Educa­tion," P. 271.

Test of Mental Growth.—Not how many books we have read, but how many we have absorbed, is the test of our mental growth. Cul­ture is never quantity. It is always quality of knowledge. It is chiefly through books that we enjoy intercourse with superior minds. In the best books great men talk to us, give us their most precious thoughts, and pour their hearts into ours. God be thanked for books !—Watch­man-Examiner.

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By W. C. LOVELESS, M. V. Secretary, Southern California Conference

December 1942

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