The "Youth's Instructor" Tomorrow

What would you do with 6 million dollars, if you had to spend it for the civic good, with the only stipula­tion that your project be gen­erally acceptable to large numbers of people?

WALTER T. CRANDALL, Editor, "The Youth's Instructor"

What would you do with 6 million dollars, if you had to spend it for the civic good, with the only stipula­tion that your project be gen­erally acceptable to large numbers of people?

It would be easy today to find a large number of people going in one direction, and that is toward adult educa­tion. A tremendous "class"-15 million strong—in Christian adult education can be discovered in the churches of the United States alone. What are these people learn­ing?

Within the past ten years research in group dynamics has rediscovered the power of small groups—the class, the club, the team, the fellowship, the society. This re­search has been accelerated in recent years by a spontaneous demand for new op­portunities and procedures in adult educa­tion. All of these factors have created what is called a "dynamic" situation.

What does it mean when so many people are interested in special instruction that prepares them, more than anything else, for service to others? Why are laymen tak­ing time to study better ways of teaching religion, newer techniques in community service, improved methods in human rela­tions? Why are people said to be reassessing their faith and finding new roles in leader­ship in the church? One observer says, "It shows that persons are seeking a new quality in their lives. Getting more gadgets is not enough. They want to be something."—ROBERT S. CLEMMONS, Dynamics of Chris­tian Education, p. 11.

"If we are to make the most of this brilliant new age," says Eric A. Walker, president of the Pennsylvania State Univer­sity, "we shall have to learn to recognize the spark of creativity in our young people and fan it into a full-blown but disciplined blaze."—Think Magazine, December, 1958.

The demands of "this brilliant new age" have thrown research in leadership techniques into high gear, with special empha­sis on leadership in the areas of voluntary services and the kindred subject of human relations. Six million dollars a year is the investment of civilian and military leader­ship laboratories in such research! Six mil­lion dollars' worth of confidence in the value of group potentialities. New books reporting the progress of this vast research are making their appearance regularly. Modern leadership training courses are based on these findings.

What does this have to do with the young people's societies of the Seventh-day Ad­ventist Church? Everything! We do not need a modern leadership laboratory to tell us that "no era in human history has been filled with so much possibility."—Dynamics of Christian Education, p. 19. We know this well. Moreover, we are told: "Through the grace of God every provision has been made for us to reveal that we act upon better plans than those upon which the world acts."—Christ's Object Lessons, p. 358. And further: "God calls for far more tact, more wise generalship, than has yet been given Him by His human agents. There is need of sharp, sanctified thinking, and keen work to counteract the ingenious plans of Satan."—Sons and Daughters of God, p. 284. (Italics supplied.)

There is no status quo philosophy here! We are not to cling to traditional concepts of leadership that are now as obsolete as a quill pen. We need more advanced methods and spiritual power to attract and hold our young people in our churches. The "hold­ing" includes a program designed to meet their needs and the needs of a desperate world. This calls for leadership training in many areas, and training for the various kinds of voluntary services for which our youth were organized in the first place.

The Missionary Volunteer Department has such a training program, under con­tinual development. When a Master Guide receives his insignia he is a trained leader, able to guide in many types of service, including youth evangelism. To qualify as a Master Guide, he has also previously re­ceived a Leadercraft Certificate, if his choice is senior youth leadership; or a Pathfinder Counselor's Certificate, if he expects to par­ticipate in junior youth leadership. As spe­cific training for public evangelism, the Ad­ventist youth of today finds his instructions in the Voice of Youth course. And a con­tinuing program of training is represented by the MV Honors in fields of creativity and service such as arts and crafts, house­hold arts, mechanics, missionary endeavor, nature, outdoor industries, and recreational pursuits—a well-balanced program.

To keep the training spirit vigorous and expanding requires the interest and prac­tical help that pastors are in a unique posi­tion to give, supplementing the work of Missionary Volunteer conference secretaries. All of us together, remembering the Heaven-indicated potentialities of young people in behalf of the church of tomorrow, but especially of the church of today, may be guided by another divine directive, "We are to plant no stakes that we are not will­ing to take up and plant further on."—My Life Today, p. 109.


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WALTER T. CRANDALL, Editor, "The Youth's Instructor"

March 1959

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