At all our camp meetings, work should be done for the children and youth. A children's meeting or Bible kindergarten should be held daily under the direction of teachers qualified for the work. In simple language, lessons should be given both from the Bible and from nature. Kindergarten methods and object lessons from nature will be of great advantage in interesting the little ones. At some of our camp meetings children's meetings have been held twice a day. After the morning lesson, on pleasant days, teachers and children would take a long walk, and during the walk, by the banks of a river or in the grassy fields, a halt would be called and a short lesson from nature given. In such lessons as these the children can be taught the parables of Christ. The truth will be fastened in their minds as a nail in a sure place.
In our work for the children the object should be not merely to educate and entertain them, but to work for their conversion. We should ask the blessing of God on the seed sown, and the conviction of the Holy Spirit will take hold of even the little ones. If we exercise faith in God, we shall be enabled to lead them to the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world.
This is a work of the greatest consequence to the younger members of the Lord's family. In these meetings even children who are favored with Christian instruction at home can learn much that will be a great help to them. If the children are taught in the simplicity of Christ, they will receive the knowledge; and as they return to their homes, they will bring forth from the treasure house of the heart precious lessons.
The youth should be given opportunity to become more fully instructed in the word of God. Bible truth should be made plain to them. Those who have an experience in the truth should search the Scriptures with them. This will be as seed sown in good ground.
Such meetings for children and youth, if rightly conducted, will be attended by many who are not of our faith, and the lessons learned at the meetings will be repeated at home. Through the children the parents may be reached. At our camp meetings in Australia these meetings have been the means of great good.
Following is a brief account of work done in this line at an Australian camp meeting, as written out by one who had a part in the work:
"On the first Sabbath the children were organized into departments and classes, and the teachers began their work. At the beginning there were six children in the primary department and about fifteen in the kindergarten. As soon as the children living in the neighborhood learned of the meetings being held for them, they began to attend, and each day found many new ones added to the classes. The average daily attendance from the outside was between eighty and one hundred, and on Sundays there was a larger number present. Most of the children were very regular in their attendance. The same spirit of earnestness, attention, and order that characterized the services among the older ones marked the children's meetings. Both in the classwork and in the general review exercises the work was so arranged that the children had a part in doing as well as listening, and in this way they soon felt at home, and their eagerness to bear some part in the work testified to their interest.
"Each lesson opened with a general exercise, which was followed by the class studies; and at the close all assembled for a brief review and song. In the opening exercises, after the song and prayer, the motto and all the memory verses previously learned were recited, either in concert or individually, or both. A short, appropriate reading or recitation was given by one of the children who had previously volunteered to prepare it. The "Scripture alphabet' was learned and recited by the children, each choosing his own letter and verse. The selection and learning of the verses were done at home, and these responsibilities placed upon the children proved an additional incentive for them to be present the following day and to be regular in attendance.
"The ready responses in the review exercises testified that the interest in classwork had been marked, and that many valuable truths had found their way into the minds and hearts of the children. As the children returned to their homes, the parents were surprised and pleased to hear them repeat the whole lesson. Many parents expressed, in various ways, their appreciation of the work that had been done for the children and regretted that the meetings must close so soon.
"Several teachers from Sunday schools attended the meetings and expressed themselves as greatly pleased and benefited by the work done. Parents sometimes came with their children and seemed as much interested as the little ones. Others, though not in harmony with our views, took the trouble to dress their children neatly and allowed them to come. Some parents remarked that they did not know what we did with their children, but one thing was certain, the children would come, and they could not keep them at home. Some of the children came long distances, and we have every reason to believe that much of the seed sown fell into good ground."
The good seed sown in these meetings should not be left to perish for want of care. Many parents would rejoice if the instruction given to their children at the camp meeting could be continued. They would gladly place their children in a school where the same principles were taught and practiced. While the interest of both parents and children is awakened, it is a golden opportunity for the establishment of a school at which the work begun at the camp meeting can be carried forward.
And as believers are raised up and churches organized, such a school will be found of great value in promoting the permanence and stability of the work. Workers in new territory should not feel free to leave their field of labor till the needed facilities have been provided for the churches under their care. Not only should a humble house of worship be erected, but all necessary arrangements should be made for the permanent establishment of the church school.
This matter has been plainly presented before me. I saw in different places new companies of believers being raised up and meetinghouses being erected. Those newly come to the faith were helping with willing hands, and those who had means were assisting with their means. In the basement of the church, above ground, I was shown a room provided for a school where the children could be educated in the truths of God's word. Consecrated teachers were selected to go to these places. The numbers in the school were not large, but it was a happy beginning.
As the work was being pressed forward, I heard the voices of children and parents singing: "Except the Lord build the house, They labor in vain that build it: Except the Lord keep the city, The watchman waketh but in vain." "Praise ye the Lord. Praise the Lord, O my soul.
While I live will I praise the Lord: I will sing praises unto my God while I have any being. Put not your trust in princes, Nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help." "Praise ye the Lord from the heavens: Praise Him in the heights. Praise ye Him, all His angels: Praise ye Him, all His hosts. Praise ye Him, sun and moon: Praise Him, all ye stars of light." Psalms 127:1; 146:1-3; 148:1-3.
The establishing of churches and the erection of meetinghouses and school buildings was extended from city to city. In each place the believers were making a united, persevering effort, and the Lord was working to increase His forces. Something was being established that would publish the truth.
This is the work to be done in America, in Australia, in Europe, and wherever companies are brought into the truth. The companies that are raised up need a place of worship. Schools are needed where Bible instruction may be given to the children. The schoolroom is needed just as much as is the church building. The Lord has persons to engage in the work of establishing church schools as soon as something is done to prepare the way for them.
In localities where believers are few, let two or three churches unite in erecting a humble building for a church school. Let all share the expense. It is high time for Sabbathkeepers to separate their children from worldly associations and place them under the very best teachers, who will make the Bible the foundation of all study.