The evolution of the institutionalized church has not only given us a fine, traditional order of worship and a somewhat questionable practice of budgeted church management. It has also neatly woven a distinctive societal demeanor into our way of life which, if individually and collectively energized properly, proves to be a real help toward Christian living. Society life as we know it affords us the means and the manner for developing closer intimacy with those of the same household of faith and for the enrichment of the heart and mind of the believer. Membership in our church societies provides opportunity to enjoy the fellowship of other Christians.
Fellowship defined is the communion of comrades—the association of equals in a sphere of common interest. We who are devoted in our society affiliations are blessed with the communion of Christian comrades. Our fraternal study of the Scriptures—the predominant aspect of society endeavor—helps us grow in knowledge and grace. The discussions of practical questions after recess assist us in the broadening of our comprehension of the issues of life. We are guided towards a better understanding of the principles involved in the art of Christian living.
Generally speaking, such a characterization as above is applicable to all our Young Peoples societies. We pray, too, that such a delineation will typify the 1951 Convention as it has those of other years.
However, now as always, the caliber of our societies and their annual conventions is contingent upon a number of factors each of which can have a marked effect upon our meetings. The usefulness of a society as a means to glorify God and its ability to help us live better Christian lives is conditioned upon the extent to which they are present.
The basic factor involves the question of motivation. When the motivating desire to be a member of a young peoples’ society is first and foremost one of seeking to honor and serve the Lord and it is kept in the foreground at all our meetings they are good meetings, worthwhile to attend, truly enjoyable. It is when our presence at a meeting is not consciously directed by this proper incentive that we begin to fail. In the measure that we allow any other motive to project itself our meetings suffer.
Any society or group of societies, like a chain, is as good as its weakest member. One member, misguided in his motives, attitudes and thinking can make the whole group suffer. How easy it is to see these things in others. How often can it be seen in ourselves?
Delegates and visitors who are now planning to attend the Kalamazoo Convention this month should have no other incentive to go than to render praise to God through communion with others who love Him and they must be prepared to carry through this desire in all the meetings and activities of the Convention.
It is an old saying that well begun is half done. If we can truthfully say we will attend in this proper disposition of mind and heart we are well begun.