One of the most difficult services in which to build attendance and create interest is in the training union or youth hour. This hour usually is each Sunday evening, just preceding the evening worship service. It can be a definite help to a church, if properly operated, in the building of the spirit and attendance of the Sunday night service, and also in the training of the church members. Several suggestions are given here to help in providing effective Sunday evening meetings:
1. Church-Wide Appointment of All Officers. Most groups elect their own officers. In many cases they elect new officers each three months. It has been found wise in some churches to have the officers-such as presidents, vice-presidents, group captains, Bible quiz leaders, etc., elected by the church, and hold a church-elected office for one year. This may make the people feel that their job is more important, and it may cease to be just push-ing an office off on someone who did not have the resistance to say “no.”
2. The Pastor Should Approve the Lesson. Each week the pastor should review the program in the quarterly. If it is advisable to use it, well and good. If not, he should see that the group has one which will be helpful -either prepare one of his own, or find another one. No quarterly is perfect, and since the pastor is accountable for what the people receive in his church, he should be careful to scan the material used. If it is good, use it. If not, prepare something else in its place. This is done each week in our church.
3. Weekly Planning Meetings. At the Miller Baptist Church. A weekly training union program planning meeting is conducted at six o’clock on Sunday evening. The program is planned for the following Sunday. A new idea is presented each week at this meeting to help the leaders in the presentation of their program. A Bible drill suggestion is also given each week. Just a giving of the parts is not enough. A unique and unusual way to present the program for the following week is given each Sunday evening. Also, at this meeting problems are discussed and necessary adjustment made. It is a helpful meeting for presidents, vice-presidents, group captains and Bible drill leaders in adult, young people and intermedi-ate groups.
4. Elementary Work. The elementary groups in our church use the Gardner System. This literature and work books may be found at most book stores. This work is headed by an elementary director, who oversees all of the work of the nursery, beginner and primary departments. The elementary director has a monthly planning meeting on the last Sunday afternoon in each month. At this meeting the director passes out our mimeographed planning sheets, which give suggestions for presenting each program for the month, along with interest center suggestions and samples, handwork patterns and Bible drill suggestions. Samples of the program material, handwork and interest centers are displayed for each program for the benefit of the workers. This is a splendid method, and God has certainly used it to bless the hearts of our boys and girls.
5. Junior Work. Our junior groups also have a director who meets with the leaders and directors of each junior group once each month to plan their programs and work. The junior director also has mimeographed planning sheets for the workers, along with mimeographed Bible drill suggestions and patterns and attendance reminders. At these meetings the workers in each group may exchange ideas on how to present their programs to make them more helpful and interesting.