Sunday, June 08, 2008

Sunday School, Missions, and Publications

June 8, 1908 was the 6th day of the Brethren Bicentennial Celebration in Des Moines, Iowa which would continue for three additional days which would include the business sessions. The morning session was focused on Sunday Schools, the afternoon on Missions, and the evening focus was Publications. We will try to include a few excerpts from this day's addresses.

I.B. Trout, "The Importance of the Sunday School Work"

When, a few years ago, I stood in the midst of the great wheat fields of the Northwest and contemplated the harvest that was at hand, the hundreds of millions of bushels of grain that must soon be gathered or else lost to the owners of the soil, I wondered from where the army of harvest hands, needed in so great a work, would come. Then the answer was, that train-load after train-load would come from the thickly-populated places in the East and the work would be quickly and easily done.

When I, today, stand and look out over the Lord's harvest fields, that are whitening to the harvest, when I consider the infinite value of this harvest and the dreadful loss sustained when only one soul is lost, when I consider what a multitude of workers is needed to save this harvest, the question arises, From what source shall these laborers be supplied? The reply is, From the ranks of the Sunday school, the source from whence come all the best workers in the church.

Elizabeth Myer, "Growth of the Sunday School"

There are few, very few local churches existing today that do not have an organized Sunday school. But listen! ...the enrollment of our schools is not over half of our membership as a church. Of the enrollment a half or more are children, and others not in the church, leaving but a fourth of our members active in church work through the Sunday school. ... In a live church eighty to ninety percent of the membership ought to be regular at Sunday school....

Galen B. Royer, "Development of Missions"

Thus the church has wrought under the blessings of God through the past quarter of a century or more. If she has been slow to take this first purpose of her existence she has awakened with a pace commendable. What might be done if every one sought first the Kingdom, as the Master commands, no human heart can foretell. If every member were a real missionary somewhere, - if for every member at home there were a missionary on the field, some might be fewer in dollars, but richer in grace....

William M. Howe, "The Influence of Missions on the Church"

What then have missions done for the church? Be very sure that when we seek to enrich others we at the same time enrich ourselves. Missionary effort, like mercy, is twice blest. ... Not only are our numbers and our territory thus enlarged but active mission work gives the church vision.

Source: Two Centuries of the Church of the Brethren, chapters 10 & 11