The investigator into the life of boyhood has revealed to us the fact that a boy's life is not only fourfold -- physical, social, mental and spiritual -- but is also unified in its process of development. If this be so, there must be a common center for the boy's life, and neither the home nor the school can, because of social or economic or political conditions, become this center. The only remaining place where the boy's life can be unified is the church.
The life of the church, generally speaking, is largely manipulated in the services of worship, the Sunday school, and such auxiliary organizations as the Brotherhood, Christian Endeavor, Missionary societies, and other like organizations. At the present time the church organization itself is but little adapted to the needs of the growing boy, the church being a splendidly organized body for mature life. On the other hand, until lately, the Sunday school has been recognized as a place for children under twelve years of age. With the Adult Bible Class movement of the past few years, there has come a revival in the Sunday school in adult life, so that the place of adults and children in the Sunday school has been magnified. There still remains, however, the need of a modification of Sunday school organization to meet the need of the adolescent boy.
The opportunity that faces the church and the Sunday school in this adaptation is tremendous. Investigations of the past few years have demonstrated beyond a doubt that the time to let loose impulses in the life for the development of character is between the ages of fourteen and twenty, or the plastic years of early and middle adolescence. Recent studies have shown that the break in school life occurs at about fourteen and a half or fifteen years, and that the majority of cases in the juvenile courts fall in the same period. More souls are born into the Kingdom of God in the early years of adolescence than at all other ages of life put together, and the vantage ground of the church lies at these ages, the effort necessary being the minimum and the results being the maximum that can be attained.
The problem of the church in touching these adolescent years is to make the right use of all the facts of boy life. Too long has the church looked upon the boy as a mere field of operation. Too long has she considered the boy as a dual personality and regarded life as both secular and spiritual. Today she is beginning to understand that all boyhood life is spiritual; that there are no secular activities in boyhood, but that every activity that a boy enters into has tremendous spiritual value, either for good or for bad. It is especially true in a boy's life that the spiritual finds expression through the physical. It should be true of all life, but a boy especially lives by physical expression.
BIBLIOGRAPHY ON THE CHURCH
Foster. -- The Boy and the Church (.75).
Gray. -- Non-Church Going, Its Reasons, and Remedies ([USD]1.00).
Hodges. -- Training of Children in Religion ([USD]1.50).
Hulbert. -- The Church and Her Children ([USD]1.00).