The John Nevins Andrews School, located in Takoma Park, is a union church school including grades one to eight, serving four churches within a radius of twenty-five miles of Washington, D. C. The attendance for in-was 230.
In order to portray to each of the constituent churches represented the true spirit of Christian education as represented by our boys and girls, we decided to prepare a doctrinal subject for presentation, and at the generous invitation of the pastors of our various churches, we gave a program at the eleven o'clock service. The subject was "The Seven Seals." Very acceptable material on this subject is found in the eighth-grade Bible textbook, "Bible Lessons, God's Great Plan." We took the material practically verbatim from pages 387 to 403.
The twelve eighth-grade children who gave the main speeches were chosen because they were representative in scholarship and conduct. We called them together in the quietness of the school office and explained to them the seriousness and importance of appearing on a church program during the main service. After discussing the matter, we had a season of prayer.
We tried to explain in detail the difference between this type of program and an ordinary public program as given by the children in our Home and School meetings and other public appearances. The thought that the school was taking a real message into the church was emphasized. Many people who had never come to the school would hear and see the results of church school training as this program was presented. Every detail was discussed, from the learning, letter-perfect, of the text, with due emphasis on poise, expression, and pronunciation, to the proper way to sit reverently before the congregation.
Before we had practiced as a group, each child practiced alone many times for individual help, in order that he might gain confidence in his own ability and a great familiarity with the subject matter which he was to present. The program was rehearsed a number of times in the churches in which it was to be presented, so that the children would not be strangers in their surroundings.
A choir of forty children was chosen from grades four to seven, so that more of the families would be interested in our program. Their accompanist was an eighth-grade girl. Reverence and quietness were also emphasized in their training. They were seated in the choir loft during the entire service. Thus they were ready to give their two numbers at the proper time, and the confusion of children marching up and down was avoided.
The twelve speakers were seated with the pastor on the rostrum. The first part of the service was conducted by the pastor as usual, as indicated in the program accompanying this article. After the prayer the pastor briefly welcomed the children and turned the service over to them. Without any further announcement each child rose in turn, stepped up to the pulpit, and delivered his message. Just before each of the children gave the text for the seal, a boy who had been appointed pulled down the particular chart, representing one of the seven seals. (See illustration.) After the children completed their part of the program the pastor gave a brief summary of the school's activities —their Ingathering accomplishments, Week of Prayer results, and several experiences of children who were used by the Lord to bring unbelieving parents into the third angel's message.
The children, all seated before the congregation, supplied the necessary stimulus for a very generous offering for the church school. Their personal appeal, surely touched each heart.
Previously we had presented the subject of the 2300 days in our churches, with far-reaching results in binding together the school and the church. The children, when consecrated and properly trained, can present difficult Bible subjects in a way that will bring real confidence and blessing not only to the school, the teachers, and the children, but also to every member of the church as well.
(See PDF for Table on order of service)
Text of Introduction
"We the students of the John Nevins Andrews School come before you this Sabbath morning with a feeling of reverence and solemnity in our hearts. We realize that we are standing in a sacred place, because from here, Sabbath by Sabbath, the word of God is preached to a waiting congregation.
"It is our most earnest desire that today we may bring to you a message which will help to strengthen your faith in the second coming of Christ—a truth which we all hold most dear. This is an event for which some of you church members have longed for many years—an event to which we younger members look forward with 'ever-increasing eagerness.
"This study on the seven seals, which we have prepared for today, is taken from our regular eighth-grade Bible book. [Holds up Bible book in right hand.] In learning these fundamental truths of the Bible, we hope to be prepared for the time spoken of in the Spirit of prophecy, 'In the near future, many children will be endued with the Spirit of God and will do a work in proclaiming the truth to the world, that at that time cannot well be done by the older members of the church.'
"It is our sincere desire that all the members of this church will pray for our church school and for all of us who are privileged to attend it, that we may be prepared to witness for Christ, not only at this time, but in the more serious times before us."
How the Charts Were Presented
Seven individual charts were hung on a wire directly over the rostrum. Each was rolled up and tied with a string held by a small red seal. As each of the seals was introduced, a child who had no other part on the program broke the small red seal by pulling a string, and the chart unrolled as it dropped down. Thus by the close of the program, all seven charts hung before the congregation.