The topic of young people in missions is one which is continually brought up in the discussions of the young people. This is missions in which they are active participants. In connection with a discussion of this nature, the Summer Workshop in Missions project of the Christian Reformed Church is always brought up. The SWIM project is under the supervision of Classes and is available for qualified members of the Christian Reformed Church who are at least 17 years old. These SWIMers spend eight weeks in communities where a mission board or chapel is instituted. Their duties during this stay consist of canvassing a city with pamphlets, following up on the more interested and assisting in Sunday School and Daily Vacation Bible School.
An interest for a similar project in the Protestant Reformed Churches has been expressed by many of our young people. Those who express this desire and interest are on the whole quite sincere. They have a true desire to work for our churches and tell others exactly what our churches believe. They also seem to think that in this way they would also strengthen their own personal faith.
I should like to deal with just a phase of this varied topic, that is, young people involved in our missions in Jamaica. I shall attempt in this article to propose a project which could be used in Jamaica. Both the values and demerits of such a project will be presented.
The first part of this topic which we shall discuss is the young people who would be involved in a project of such a nature. Who are they? What are they? First, it can be said that they are interested youth. These young people have expressed a desire to enter such a program. Their desire is an unselfish one, not just a wish to see the world. This is not a weak desire, but rather a strong one because these young people are willing to sacrifice practically their whole summer vacation to go and participate in such a program. I, personally, have heard many express this desire for the great experience they would gain.
Secondly, these young people are a qualified youth, both practically and spiritually. Practically, at 17 or 18 years of age they are at the prime of their life. Physically fit, strong, full of vim and vigor, with plenty of get up and go. Also, at this age these youth are free as a bird, for when they are a little older their mind is on marriage and they would then have to work during the summer months for need of money. Spiritually, they are also qualified, for they know the principles of our beliefs and not only know them but also believe, maintain and uphold them as the truth. There are many who are better qualified spiritually but they usually cannot go for practical reasons. The young people are yet qualified, but just do not have the experience.
Thirdly, it can also be said that under such a project the young people would have to be carefully screened. They would have to meet many requirements, both practical and spiritual. First, it would have to be determined whether the desire is sincere or not. Also, I think it would be advisable if they would participate in a week or two of preparatory classes. In these classes they would learn things which they will need on the mission field: thing which would otherwise come only from actual experience on the mission field.
The second part of our topic which we shall discuss concerns the missionaries on the Jamaican field. Who are these men spiritually? First, the missionaries are ministers of God’s Word. They are proclaiming the truth in the Scriptures and feeding the milk of the Word to the spiritual infants on the field. Secondly, there are also qualified elders who assist the ministers. Then, who are these missionaries physically and practically speaking? They are the Revs. Hanko, Heys and Lubbers and the elders Meulenberg, Zwak and Feenstra. These ambassadors, who have already gone to Jamaica to labor, though still healthy and full of enthusiasm, are certainly not in the prime of their life. Some of these gentlemen have already retired and the others are rapidly approaching the retirement age. The handicaps which I implied are definitely not spiritual ones, but rather physical. They are in need of manual and physical assistance. Rev. Lubbers has related that he had to rest five times to climb a hill to reach a church while he was in Jamaica as missionary.
Next we shall discuss the positions of the missionaries and of the young people in relation to each other. The ministers and elders would be in complete authority and control. They would be teacher, guide and trainer of the young people. The young people would hold the position of complete submission. They would be student, pupil and follower. They would hold the same position as Timothy did when he was under the leadership of Paul.
Closely related to the position is the use of those involved in such a program. The young people would assist manually, carrying loads and luggage up and down hills, etc. Also, as Timothy, they would assist by teaching Sunday School and many other odd jobs which the missionaries need done, but which take up much valuable time.
Drawing this article to a close, let us mention a few of the pros and cons concerning a project as briefly outlined in this article. First, let us consider the arguments which could arise against this proposed project. An argument against the young people would probably be that there is no desire for such a mission endeavor among our young people, and if there is a desire it is not a proper one. Also, the young people are not qualified spiritually. They are just young kids, yet. Another argument could possibly be that the young people would take too much authority and act too much on their own. Still another argument which could be brought up would be that the young people would make ministers of themselves and try to “save” others. Yet another argument is that the cost of such a program would be much too high.
Now then, let us look at a few of the merits of a project which would put a few of our young people with our missionaries on the Jamaican mission field. In the first place, I can visualize no problem at all in obtaining good, qualified young people. Those who have expressed such a desire are also those young people who are the best qualified. They are very sincere. In the second place, I cannot foresee any problem concerning the use and position of the young people. Those who would be privileged to go, after meeting all the requirements, both spiritual and practical, and participating in a preparation program, would definitely not be the type of person who would disobey a minister and elder. Nor would they be the type who would take authority upon himself or make himself out to be a minister. Rather, it can be said that those who would go to Jamaica would receive much instruction in doctrine and walk. Also, I believe that they would receive much of value because of participating in this project. They would learn much humility, both spiritual and practical. Spiritual humility would be gained from just watching the ministers and elders work and seeing their tremendous wisdom. Practical humility would also be gained by seeing the very low living conditions of the Jamaicans and comparing it with that of us in the United States and thereby seeing how blessed we really are. Thirdly, this would be an experience which they would not forget for the rest of their lives. They also would serve to unify our churches more closely with those in Jamaica. In conclusion, it can be said that this program would give much spiritual edification and Christian fellowship to all who would have the privilege to participate in such. Finally, I agree that the expense would be high; however, I also believe that all the experience gained would greatly out-weigh the costs. Too, I believe that our young people could raise most of the money needed. The fact that they can raise money has been seen by their efforts in obtaining the funds needed for the 1969 convention in Redlands.
I can say that after very carefully weighing both the pros and the cons, I am greatly in favor of a program of this nature. The reasons I favor it are specifically the experience gained and the physical assistance given to the missionaries. I hope that you also, after carefully weighing both sides, will agree with me and favor sending young people with our missionaries to Jamaica.
Originally Published in:
Vol. 29 No. 5 August 1969
Your Attention Please: You as delegate, have a special responsibility at the Protestant Reformed Young People’s Convention. You occupy a very important position. You have special duty. You, along with three other young people, represent your entire society.
Yours is the privilege, and also the right, to air the views and disagreements of your society about society life, the Federation Board and the Beacon Lights. Yours is the right to aid in the development of the Federation. Yours is the privilege to consider beforehand the nominations of the Board and also the right to bring the nomination from your society. Also, you should consider the agenda to be brought forward at the Convention. Then it’s your heavy responsibility to seriously elect the Board members for the following two years and also to decide matters which might affect society life for many years to come.
At this time the Federation Board would like to offer a suggestion to the young peoples’ societies and especially their presidents. We advise that your society call a business meeting a week or two before the Convention. At this meeting the nominations for the Federation Board members should be taken into consideration, as well as other nominations which your delegates can bring to the Convention. It is also expedient that at this meeting the society advise its delegates on how to vote on other parts of the agenda. Many important revisions of the Constitution are being brought to the Convention by the Board. These revisions should be very deliberately thought over so the delegates will be able to vote wisely. The Board will do its utmost to get the agenda out to the societies a few weeks before the Convention.
The affairs of the Federation should not be taken lightly. It is a cause very much worthy of its existence and deserves your serious consideration beforehand concerning these important matters.
See you all at the 1969 Convention.
Originally Published in:
Vol. 29 No. 4 June July 1969
To no other Convention, which I can remember, has so much attention and enthusiasm been given, than to the Protestant Reformed Young Peoples Convention to be held this summer. The variety of activities sponsored by the young people to earn money which will aid in the expenses of the Convention reveals this great enthusiasm. The main reason for this vast amount of excitement is undoubtedly the fact that the Convention will be held in Redlands, California. This fact offers many valuable opportunities to all Protestant Reformed young people. The opportunity to visit and become friends with our congregation in Redlands, to travel the expanse of our nation, to see the surf of the Pacific Ocean and to spend a week in sunny California. And besides these, we also have all the other privileges which come along with any Convention, i.e., the meeting of new friends, the spiritual edification, the fun and the Christian fellowship. And all this is for the very nominal fee of $120.00 per person. This amount is indeed nominal after all has been taken into consideration.
Those who intend to use the travel arrangements supplied by the Federation Board will follow the tentative plan given below. On Wednesday morning, August 13, at 6:30 AM, two chaperons and three speakers and about 110 young people from the Grand Rapids area will leave by car for the O’Hara International Airport in Chicago, Illinois. Investigations into bus rates with the North Star Bus Lines reveal that the cost would be a little over $18.00 per person. This the Board feels is too high considering how much it would cost to travel by car. Some parents have revealed their willingness to transport the Conventioneers to O’Hara. The cars will leave at this hour of the morning because we have to be in O’Hara at 10:00 AM at the American Airlines booth.
Those who are willing should contact the undersigned as soon as possible. The young people who have cars should also contact him. Cars will also be needed for the return trip on Wednesday, August 20. Therefore we will need more volunteers to return the young people. From the way it looks at the time of this writing between 20 and 25 cars are needed. The cost incurred by the parents who volunteer their services will be the obligation of those young people who participate.
At O’Hara airport they will meet 14 young people from the Chicago area. At 11:00 AM a Boeing 707 will rise gently into the air and head westward. After 31/2 hours flying time they will arrive in Ontario, California, which is located about 30 miles west of Redlands, at 12:30 PM. Meals will be provided on the plane and the cost is included in the travel expense. Buses will take them to Redlands from Ontario for about $1.00 per person. This same mode of transportation will be provided for the young people on the return trip.
Because those who miss the plane will miss the Convention, the cars will meet along the way to Chicago for checking purposes. Also, since there is no time-change between Grand Rapids and Chicago at this time of the year, 31/2 hours will be allowed to make this trip. However, 31/2 hours is not really very long considering the traffic rush which will undoubtedly be incurred in Chicago.
For the latest information or if you have any questions concerning anything pertaining to the Convention call the undersigned at 669-6547 or write him at 3711 Hillcrest, Hudsonville, Michigan 49426.
Before I close, I would like to say that there is room on the plane for five more young people. First come, first served. Please contact the undersigned as soon as possible. Also, a meeting will be held July 19, at which time the balance of the plane ticket will be due.
Originally Published in:
Vol. 29 No. 3 May 1969
There is one thing which I do not think I will ever forget no matter how old I get. That one thing is a part of my youth and something which is a vital part of every Protestant Reformed young person. That something is the place at which I met many young people I never knew existed and was then able to make friends with many of them. A year later, at that same occasion I could re-meet these same people, a year older and changed a bit and then had the opportunity to increase the ties of our friendship. That something was also the occasion of many, many enjoyable times. At these occasions I, along with all the other young people attending, could participate in a wide variety of activities, ranging from swimming to discussing and from banqueting to debating. Yes, I KNOW I will never forget these occasions nor will any of those who had the privilege of enjoying them with me.
Many of you have probably already guessed of what I am speaking. Yes, that something goes by the name of “The Protestant Reformed Young People’s Convention”.
As I now have the great privilege of doing a little part in the planning for our next convention to be held, D.V., in Redlands, California, August 13-20, I did a little recollecting about the past conventions. I am looking forward to this coming convention in eager anticipation and from the plans already made by the host society, I believe that my anticipation will not be let down. To aid me in my recollecting and to get some ideas from the past conventions I decided that it might be a good idea to look up a few of the surveys of past conventions in the Beacon Lights. As I read those surveys dealing with the conventions which I had attended, I re-hashed them over in my mind. What a lot of fun and good enjoyment they were.
After I read these surveys I started thinking, “What is the purpose of the Young People’s Convention? What is their true reason for existence?” At first I could not put my finger on what it was. I tried to recall the agenda of these conventions as given in the surveys in the Beacon Lights to see if I could draw the purpose from these agendas. Let me see, first there were 3 large paragraphs dealing with the trip, registration and the activities of the following day. Next, there was a small two-sentence paragraph dealing with the speech at the mass meeting. Following this, there were four more large paragraphs dealing with the outing. Oh, yes, there was a sentence in the second paragraph dealing with the second speech of the convention given at the outing. Then came a four-sentence paragraph dealing with the activities of Sunday. Next came three more good-sized paragraphs pertaining to the East-West softball game, the election of officers on the Board and the banquet held that night. This time there were two whole, complete sentences stating briefly the contents of the last speech of the convention. Closing the article came a short paragraph saying what fun the convention had been.
Well, according to the surveys it appears to me that the purpose of the conventions was to have fun. But now is that really the true purpose of a Y.P. convention: to have fun? I rather doubt it. I do not think that year after year Y. P. conventions were sponsored and much money spent just for the purpose of having fun. Rather, I believe that the purpose is, very simply, Christian fellowship and spiritual edification. Now, do not get me wrong, I am not putting a ban on “fun” at conventions. “Fun” is a vital part, I will guarantee that, but I also think that it should not be on the foreground, nor do I think it ever was. Yes, I know that the picture I painted above in my synopsis of the convention surveys was in very dark colors, but it is not true. It was tinted in such a way to prove a point, for I believe that slowly but surely the conventions are losing their real purpose.
I can just imagine the question popping into your heads: “How can we have fun at conventions when their purpose is Christian fellowship and spiritual edification?” To that I can simply answer, “Brother, they go hand in hand.” Now do not fall off your rocker in unbelief. It is true. I believe, and I know this only from my own experience, that you and I just have not tried to mix the two together enough. We will find a different kind of fun; one which we will enjoy much more and one which is not so dangerously close to the “fun” of the world.
I know for a fact that there is a better kind of fun, so to speak, and there are about 50 other young people who will agree with me. We 50 had the privilege of attending the first retreat the Federation Board sponsored approximately a year ago this spring. At this retreat a variety of topics were discussed, most of which dealt with the theme of the antithesis between the Church and the world in the areas of entertainment, education, etc. These discussions went on one entire day among small groups of young people. Later a survey revealed that we who had attended had experienced a new and different kind of fun, which is hard to describe. I guess it could best be called “spiritual edification,” in the true sense of the word.
Why do I tell you about this retreat? Because I think that our conventions should be run more along this line. The argument that too many discussions or debates will ruin the whole convention is invalid. This argument has now been proven false by the fact that the retreat was such a success.
The Lord willing, the next convention will be held in Redlands, California. The fact that the convention is planning to be held in California does not mean that the young people will not be spiritually edified. I know that just the word “California” carries connotations with it for many people and that they think that the young people are going there just to have fun. Let me erase that idea from your mind immediately. This convention, as all conventions, will attempt to mix spiritual fellowship and physical fun and I am sure it will succeed.
Originally Published in:
Vol. 29 No. 1 March 1969
Why do we, as young people date? Do we date for fun or do we date with the reason of looking into the future? With either reason in mind the questions of who to go with and where to go on a date are very important. At this period of our lives we are looking for and meeting the person with whom we could very well spend the rest of our lives. They also could be the mother or father of our children. Around us we see unhappy marriages that were entered into without any thought to the religious background and Christian principles. We would do well to ask the Lord for guidance in looking for a mate.
One very important decision we face as Protestant Reformed Young People is, “May we date Christian young people from other denominations?” We might ask ourselves, “May we date him (or her) in order to witness?” The answer to this latter question is a simple “no” because this would only be rationalizing. There are many other ways to witness than by dating, and witnessing is not any easier by candlelight and soft music. We should be constantly witnessing by our speech and behavior.
A question which might also arise is, “As long as I go to our church and school activities, what difference does it make whom I date?” But it does make a difference for the danger, then, is not in the place you attend as much as it is in the person you are with. We have to face the fact that when it comes to dating, some young men and women will use any kind of bait to go out with that one certain person. The good date will not want to go to a show, a dance, or anything of this nature.
“I know I am not going to marry him so what does it matter if I go out with him?” is another excuse we might hear. You probably don’t intend to marry him now, but are you sure you will not in the future? Go out with him once; because he is lots of fun and good-looking, and then you may go with him again. First thing you know, you are in love. Then you will make more excuses to go out with him, for when the heart pull becomes really strong your cool, calm, good judgment seems to stop functioning. Before you realize what really is happening you may be married. Before you were married you may have talked a little about whose church to go to, but at that time, a subject like that didn’t seem important. You love him and you are married to him, but you are not truly happy. Why? Because there is friction in the home. You are living in two different worlds and can’t agree on some of the most important things of life. You have children, they grow up, and then the question arises of where to send them to school. Send them to our own Protestant Reformed Christian School, or to other schools.
A big question which is bound to arise in any discussion of this nature is, “Suppose there are no Protestant Reformed boys or girls to date, then what?” This question is especially prevalent for the young women because it seems that they are the ones who push the panic button first. Do they try to find someone from other churches? Do they wait for a Protestant Reformed mate to call even if it takes many years. (This question itself could make an article. By the way, if anyone would like to write on an article on that subject, I am sure the Beacon Lights Staff would greatly appreciate it.) Are they taking any steps to help promote a “Protestant Reformed date” by taking an active part in all church sponsored functions? Those girls who can wait ultimately realize that it is much better and safer to wait than to jump into a hasty marriage which could determine the church they will be members of for the rest of their lives.
To some girls this solution to wait for a Protestant Reformed male is as far out as the Beatles. To this kind of girl it is an impossibility to wait. There are also many Protestant Reformed boys who just cannot find the right girl for themselves in our own churches. Do they wait? What do these people do?
After they are sure that there exists no mate for them inside our own churches, then should they consider a mate outside of our churches? Once they begin to look for a mate outside of our churches they must be very careful. If this Protestant Reformed young person wants to get married and therefore wants to keep going with this one certain person, he or she will probably not talk about religion and important things on the first date. But, these things must come up quickly before love enters into the picture and that cool, calm judgment stops functioning.
Those who already have and those who will enter the Protestant Reformed Churches at the time of marriage are not necessarily weak and bad members. Some of these, who grew up in another denomination and are now members of our churches put us, who grew up in our own churches, to shame because of their spiritual strength. We can be thankful for this. The question is how do we know before marriage, whether our mates to be from other churches will be strong members or whether they will weaken the whole church. An important talk must come to the surface before love emerges.
The first few dates with anyone should be to get acquainted. The idea of future companionship will slowly come to the surface as time goes on. Repeated dating is the only thing which should bring up the thought of marriage. One thing which in the future will greatly help the Protestant Reformed young people to seek mates from our own churches, is our own high school. It is at the high school age where most couples meet each other and it is here where they are introduced to movies and other amusements of the world. Our own high school would greatly reduce the introduction of these unChristian “habits.”
Another thing which would aid us Protestant Reformed young people in defending our faith, in the high schools and colleges we attend and before the date who is not a member of our Churches, is a more thorough acquaintance with and an ability to defend this truth as God has given it to our fathers and to us. We must have this acquaintance and ability before our dates, so that we can explain the difference between their beliefs and ours (good discussion for our Young People Society’s after-recess). We must be able to defend our beliefs for we are the Church of tomorrow. We must stand immoveable. If we, as Young people of the Protestant Reformed Churches of America, cannot stand, will there exist Protestant Reformed Churches a generation from now?
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