In harmony with all the other boys' organizations, and yet bigger than all of them put together, is the Sunday school organization for boys -- the Organized Bible Class. It is purely and simply a church organization, and owes no allegiance to any organization outside of the local church. It is also a distinct part of the church life and an organic part of the Sunday school, which is large enough to hold the boy's interest from the cradle roll to the grave. The other organizations serve their day in the life of the boy and cease to be. It is difficult, almost an impossibility, to get normal boys, after fifteen years of age, to take much interest in the so-called boys' organizations, because their lives have outgrown these activities and there is no longer any need of them. The Organized Bible Class presents a method that can never be outgrown. It also has at its heart Bible study, which is the one essential to permanence in any work with boys.
Objective. -- Class organization is of no value unless the class has definite objectives. The members should be made to feel that there is some great purpose in the organization. The objectives for a teen age class should be:
1. The winning of the class members to personal allegiance to Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord; and
2. The proper expression of the Christian life in service for others in the name and spirit of the Christ. Thus one strengthens one's self and helps others.
Why Organize. -- (a) It is natural for a boy to want to get into an organization of some kind. Seventy-five per cent. of the boys of a community are, or have been, connected with some sort of organization. These organizations, rightly controlled, and dominated by strong Christian leadership, can be made a power for good in the community and in the lives of their members. It matters not what the organization may be connected with, it is the activities that appeal.
Why should not the Sunday school take advantage of this natural, God-given instinct, to plan such organization in the church as will present the strongest claim for the loyalty of the boys in the teen age?
(b) The organization is in the hands of the members of the class, activities are planned by them, and discipline, when necessary, is administered by them. The position of the teacher is thereby strengthened. Instead of being an "autocrat" or "czar" in dealing with the class, the function is that of counsellor and friend.
(c) It develops initiative, self-reliance, self-control, and the ability to do things; character is thereby developed, and strong Christian character is what the church needs today.
(d) The Organized Boys' Bible Classes will, without a doubt, become as universal in their scope as Organized Adult Bible Classes. To be affiliated with the biggest teen age organization in the world will, in itself, appeal to every teen age boy and girl.
(e) Organization increases class spirit. The organized class becomes "our class," not the "teacher's class." The unorganized class suffers greatly if the teacher is removed, and sometimes is obliged to disband. The organized class helps to secure another teacher, and, in the interim, maintains its class work and is thus kept together. Though much depends upon the teacher, the permanency of the class should not rest wholly upon his personality and work. Changes must necessarily come.
(f) Organization enables the class to do things. The appointment of special committees, the assignment of definite work to each committee, and the introduction of various class activities does much toward realizing the ideal -- "an adequate Christian service for every member." Large and permanent success is assured when this ideal is attained.
=Standard of Organization=
1. The class shall have at least five officers: President, Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer, and Teacher. It shall also have as many committees as necessary to carry on its work.
2. The class shall be definitely connected with a Sunday school.
3. A Sunday Bible session and, if practicable, week-day session or activities.
4. The age limits of the class shall be not less than thirteen or more than twenty years.
=How to Organize=
Secure Secondary Division Leaflet No.2, of the International Sunday School Association.
Study this leaflet carefully, noting especially the standard of organization and the suggestive constitution, which seek to define an organized class. Distribute leaflets among those whom you wish to interest and enlist. Organization should not be forced on the class. Do not go at it as though you were laying a trap. Observe the following:
(a) Think it through yourself; then put yourself in the pupil's place and ask yourself the question, "How would I like to have this presented to me?" This will give you the viewpoint of your class, and you are then ready to go ahead. You must believe in it thoroughly, enthusiastically, before you can hope for the interest and enthusiasm of your class.
(b) Next, get two or three of your "key" pupils, and talk it over with them. Show them the possibilities of the organization, emphasizing the physical, mental, social and spiritual activities.
(c) Follow this with a special meeting of the class, to be held either at the home of the teacher or one of the class.
(d) Make the organization genuine, and show that you mean business. The teen age abhors shams, and will readily detect any weak spots in the organization. Impress upon them the necessity of selecting capable officers. Adopt the class constitution, which follows, select class name and motto, and elect the officers.
(e) Then let the officers conduct the meetings, both in the Sunday and the mid-week sessions. The teacher is one of the class and is the director of activities; the officers and committeemen do the work.
(f) In all things keep in close touch with the general superintendent and the departmental superintendent of the school. Seek the strength that comes from advice and cooperation.
A class constitution is not essential, but is often helpful. The following form of constitution is merely suggestive and may be changed to conform to the needs of the class.
Article I -- Name.
Our class shall be known as ______________
Article II -- Object.
The object of the class shall be the training of Christian character for Christian service in the extension of Christ's Kingdom by means of Bible study, through-the-week activities, mutual helpfulness, and social fellowship, in addition to the winning of its members' allegiance to Christ as Saviour and Lord.
Article III -- Class Spirit.
To create an individuality in class spirit, loyalty and enthusiasm, the class shall have an emblem, a motto and a color. It may also have a flower, a song, a yell, a whistle, or such other additions as may seem wise.
Article IV -- Membership.
Any boy may become a member of this class on invitation of the class.
Article V -- Officers.
The class officers may include the following: Teacher, President, Vice-President, Secretary and Treasurer. The officers shall be elected by ballot semiannually by the class, and no officer shall serve in the same position more than two terms in succession, except the teacher, whose election or appointment is governed by the church or Sunday school. The teacher may be elected by the class from a list provided by the church authorities.
Article VI -- Committees
There shall be as many committees in the class as necessary, such as Social, Literary, Music, Athletic, etc.
Article VII -- Meetings.
The class shall meet at ____o'clock each Sunday for its regular Bible study session. Week-day meetings may be held each week. Special meetings may be called at any time by the president, and the presence of one-fourth of the enrolled membership shall be necessary for the transaction of class business.
Article VIII -- Duties of Officers and Committees.
Sec.1. The teacher shall teach the lesson, shall be an ex officio member of all committees, and shall work cooperatively with the president in promoting the interests of the class.
Sec.2. The president shall preside at meetings of the class, shall have general supervision over the officers, and shall see that the work of the class is pushed in accordance with its object.
Sec.3. The vice-president shall take the president's place in case of absence, and shall render such assistance to the president as may be required of him.
Sec.4. The secretary shall make class announcements, keep minutes of all meetings, write to absent members, and report any information to the teacher which may be desired.
Sec.5. The duty of committees shall be defined by the activity each carries on, said committee being responsible to the class for the work entrusted to it.
Article IX -- By-Laws.
From time to time the class may amend this constitution and pass such by-laws as seem wise in carrying forward the work of the class.
A careful study of the Organized Class diagram on another page (86) will furnish the teacher with a workable plan. In all cases it should be adapted to local conditions.
Mid-week activities should be planned as a part of the weekly program, keeping in mind the fourfold life of the pupil. The planning of these activities should be left almost entirely to the class; any plans that the teacher may have should be turned over to the class by way of suggestion. Place the responsibility on the members of the class, and once they have caught the idea there will be no lack of suggestions on their part.
THE TEEN AGE BOYS' ORGANIZED CLASS
[A] Older Boy [B] Adult
Prepared by John L. Alexander, Superintendent Secondary Division International Sunday School Association.
The class session on Sunday should be in charge of the president of the class. The opening services may consist of a short prayer by the teacher or pupil volunteering; reading of brief minutes, covering the mid-week activities and emphasizing the important points brought out by the teacher in the lesson of the previous Sunday; collection and other business. The president then turns the class over to the teacher for the teaching of the lesson. The closing services of the class should by all means be observed.
Committees. -- Short-term committees are the more effective, covering the activities when planned. The short-term committee plan, however, need not be suggested to the class until it discovers that the long-term or standing committee has failed. They will doubtless be the first to suggest the new plan.
=Class Grouping and Size=
It should be sane and natural and not too large. This should be specially borne in mind in working with boys; a "gang" usually consists of from seven to fourteen. The girls' class is different, and the size of the group does not materially matter. The class, however, should not be so unwieldy as to make it impossible for the teacher to give personal attention to each individual.
It is impossible to get the best results when pupils of twelve and eighteen are members of the same class, for they are living in two different worlds of thought. A teacher cannot hope to hold together a group in which there is such disparity of age. A working basis is (13-14), (15-17), (18-20). This is but a foundation on which to work. The correct grouping should be on a physiological basis instead of chronological. A pupil ofttimes will not fit into a group of his or her own age; physiologically, they may be a year or two in advance of the rest of the class, and are mingling through the week with an older group. Adjustments in such cases should be made so that the pupil is permitted to find his or her natural grouping. Like water, they will find their level.
Under no ordinary circumstances should classes be mixed (boys and girls together).
=Class Names and Mottoes=
Names. -- A class name will help to create a strong and healthy class spirit, and is valuable as a means of advertising the class and its work.
Some prefer to take class numbers or letters, thus recognizing their relationship to the Sunday school; others select names from the Bible to indicate their relation to Bible study; others choose names that indicate some kind of Christian service, thus committing the class to Christian work; while others take names of heroes or use Greek letters.
Mottoes. -- A motto is perhaps more important than a name. It will help to place and keep before the class a definite purpose. If often repeated it will aid in producing in the class the spirit expressed in the motto. The following well-known mottoes may be suggestive: We're in the King's Business -- We Do Things -- The World for Christ -- We Mean Business -- The Other Fellow -- Every Man Up -- Quit You Like Men.
=International Teen Age Certificate of Recognition=
The International Sunday School Association, through its Secondary Division, issues a certificate, or charter of recognition.
This certificate represents a minimum standard of organization for classes, which is considered practical for scholars of these ages. It gives the class the recognition of the International, State or Provincial Associations; and to the schools whose denominations add their seal and signature, or provide a joint certificate, denominational recognition as well. The certificate of the Secondary Division is beautifully lithographed, and is suitable for framing for the class room. For classes of the Intermediate age (13-16 years) an Intermediate seal is affixed, and a Senior (17-20 years) or Adult seal may be added upon the advance of the class to these departments. It can be secured by filling out the application blank at the end of this leaflet, and by sending the same, together with twenty-five cents to cover the cost, to your State or Provincial Association, or Denominational headquarters. Seals may be secured from the same sources.
This certificate and registration links the class to the Sunday school teen age brotherhood throughout the world.
The royal blue and white button (white center with blue rim) has been adopted for both the Intermediate (13-16 years) and Senior (17-20 years) Departments, the blue indicating loyalty and the white purity.
Name of Class ________________________________
BIBLIOGRAPHY ON THE ORGANIZED CLASS
International Leaflets on Secondary Adult Classes (Free).
Pearce. -- The Adult Bible Class (.25).