Working With Boys
Ch. 3 "Teaching A Boy to Win Others to Christ"
Winning a boy to Christ is one step; teaching him to do similar work with and for another boy is the next step. For it must not be taken for granted that a boy who has given himself to Christ will intuitively know how to reach another boy for Christ. He may, indeed, know how, but it is a part of the privilege and duty of those who are working with a boy to give him special training in this work of winning souls, in order that he may begin his Christian life with its chief work holding ﬁrst place in his mind.
Many a boy has given himself to Christ only to ﬁnd that his new-found joy is not supposed to be communicable by him to other boys of his own age judging as he will by the lack of emphasis laid upon what he is expected to do in that direction. He becomes faithful in attendance upon the church services, correct in his deportment, and quite as devoted to his faith as the grown folks about him, but ordinarily he, in common with them, and because of their example, will miss the greatest privilege of his new life-the winning of others to its loving Giver. Careful training is needed just here. And careful training will give results.
Certain facts as to boy nature are guideposts to the right way of reaching a boy with the evangelistic idea. It may be assumed that the boy is always glad to let other boys know, individually, when he gets a present of a new knife. If he owns a ﬁrst-class football outﬁt he does not hide it from view, but he is likely to wear it in season and out of season. Whatever material possession he acquires is rarely withheld from his playmates. Experience with boys in the things of the spirit conﬁrms the conviction that a boy is generally willing and sometimes eager to tell other boys, individually, of what Jesus means to him.
The spirit of indifference is rarely found in boy-life. Enthusiasm is rather the rule. Life is new and intensely interesting to a boy, and he does not share in the wearied and sometimes cynical views of older folks. He will not think of so many false reasons why it is hard to speak to others personally about Christ as a grown man will. If Christ is real to him, he can make him real to another boy, and he makes little fuss about it.
In the light of these facts it remains for one who is training a boy in speaking to other boys individually for Christ, to utilize and to assume as a means at the start, these natural boy tendencies. One organized group of boys may serve as an illustration of what special training can do in this phase of boy work.
A boys’ guild had been in existence several years in a large city church. The guild stood for the upbuilding of the boy spiritually, mentally and physically. At one of the regular meetings the leader announced that at its close he would like to see for a few moments every member of the guild who was also a member of any church. The line of church membership was used simply in order to get at the boys who had publicly confessed Christ. Was it at all signiﬁcant that just twelve boys responded to the call? Seated in a room apart from the other boys, who were proceeding with the athletic exercises of the evening, the twelve gathered about their leader. He was not much more than a boy himself, and there was close sympathy between the young fellows and himself.
“You are asked to meet here,” said the leader, “because it seems to be only right that the Christian boys of the guild should try to win other boys to Christ. I want to ask you to meet with me in this way occasionally, and each boy can tell us of any boy whom he would like to speak to about his Saviour. We can talk over the best way to reach him, and no doubt help each other to do our best. You need not mention names, but just tell about any difﬁculties that stand in the way of winning the boy to Christ, and let us know from time to time what progress you make. Do you think of anyone now?”
There was an immediate interest in the plan.
“I know a fellow,” said one, “who doesn’t care anything about such things, and spends his time fooling around. He laughs when I talk to him.”
Then the boys fell to discussing this case. They themselves suggested one means after another-a good straight talk, an invitation to the guild, an attempt to quicken the boy’s ambition by showing how much he missed by his present course, and other like hints. The leader gave a suggestion where it seemed desirable, or a warning at one danger point or another, and at last the meeting adjourned, with at least one boy fairly well equipped for taking up his difﬁcult task, and encouraged by earnest prayer, as this band for personal work ﬁnally knelt together in supplication for the youngster who wanted to win his companion for Christ. He had given careful thought to his problem, he had heard the suggestions of other boys, and of the leader, and had been stimulated to go ahead. This was indeed teaching and training.
No records of this band were kept, but it is deﬁnitely known that a considerable number of boys were won for Christ by the direct effort of members of the band. Cases were considered in meeting after meeting. One bright afternoon the leader was standing on a street corner near the church when one of the members of this little group rushed up to him excitedly. Had there been a football victory?
“I’ve got him,” cried the boy, with the grip of his older friend’s hand. “He wasn’t easy, but I kept at him, and he is coming in!”
“Good, good!” exclaimed the leader. “I am very glad.”
The boy’s eyes sparkled. He was only ﬁfteen years old. It meant something to him when he had won a victory for his Master.
“And you’ll keep it up, won’t you?” asked the leader.
“Yes, sir,” said the boy emphatically; “there’s another fellow I’m trying for.”
In truth, there is always “another fellow,” and the boy at your side in your work with boys may be just the one to bring him to Christ. Will you take the trouble to teach him how?
Chapter 1: Working With Boys
Chapter 2: Winning Boys To Christ
Chapter 3: Teaching Boys to Win Other Boys to Christ