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SUPER INTEN DENT

FRANK L. BROWN



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THE WORKER AND WORK SERIES

THE BEGINNERS' WORKER AND WORK. Frederica Beard

THE PRIMARY WORKER AND WORK. Marion Thomas

THE JUNIOR WORKER AND WORK. Josephine L. Baldwin

LEADERS OF YOUTH (Intermediates and Seniors). Hugh H.Harris

LEADERS OF YOUNG PEOPLE. Frank Wade Smith

THE ADULT WORKER AND WORK. Wade Crawford Barclay

THE SUPERINTENDENT. Frank L. Brown

THE WORKER AND HIS CHURCH. Eric M. North

THE WORKER AND HIS BIBLE.

Frederick C. Eiselen and Wade Crawford Barclay



'niiit



The Worker and Work Series

HENRY H. MEYER, Editor



The
Superintendent

By
FRANK L. BROWN




THE METHODIST BOOK CONCERN

NEW YORK CINCINNATI






THE "NEW YORK

PDBUC LTBBARI

AiTOK, U.MUKANO

o t.



Copyright, 1922, by
FRANK L. BROWN



PUBLiC LIBRARY

2199.1 5A

A^TOR, LWilOlC AND
tJ-DCW Fdi-rj^AATIuNS



Printed ia the United States of America



ft)



To My Friend
JOHN WANAMAKER

WHO, AS A SUPERINTENDENT FOR MORE THAN SIXTY
YEARS OF THE BeTHANY PrESBYTERIAN SuNDAY

School of Philadelphia, has been the inspirer

OF untold numbers of superintendents in this

and other lands, this book is affectionately

dedicated






CONTENTS



Editor's Introduction 9

Preface 11

I. The Institution 13

II. The Superintendent 27

III. The School Graded 39

IV. The School Equipped 47

V. The School Organized 57

VI. The Administrative Staff 74

VII. Department Management 92

VIII. The Educational Superintendent 118

IX. Program and Session 128

X. Platform Instruction 152

XI. Sunday-School Music 168

XII. The Superintendent and His Teachers 182

XIII. The Workers' Conference 195

XIV. The Superintendent and the Pupil 207

XV. Recreation and Organizations 222

XVI. The Superintendent and the Home 240

XVII. The Week-Day Program 256

XVIII. Missions in the Sunday School 266

XIX. Temperance and Purity in the Sunday

School 281

XX. Social Service in the Sunday School 291

XXI. Special Days in the School 300

XXII. Evangelism in the Sunday School 332

XXIII. The Country and Village School 347

XXIV. The School's Upbuilding 365



EDITOR'S INTRODUCTION
To THE Memory of Frank L. Brown

The revision of The Superintendent, first written in
1910, was the last work of authorship of Dr. Frank L.
Brown. The task was completed while he was at Clifton
Springs, New York, under medical care, in the late summer
of 1921. As this book is in process of manufacture, the
report of the author's death brings a sense of deep per-
sonal loss to thousands of Sunday-school workers through-
out the world.

For several years past Dr. Brown has been general sec-
retary of the World's Sunday School Association, directing
its affairs with efficiency and constantly increasing its in-
fluence throughout world-wide Protestantism. To Meth-
odists, however, he is best known as the superintendent
of the Bushwick Avenue Central Sunday School in Brook-
lyn, a school that he founded as a mission and of which he
was superintendent to the day of his death. His spiritual
devotion, ceaseless activity, and enterprise made Bushwick
Avenue Sunday School everywhere known not only as one
of the largest but also as one of the best Sunday schools
in Methodism. For years scarcely a Sunday passed with-
out visitors, from one to a score or more, coming many of
them from distant places to observe and learn. No alert
observer ever went away without carrying with him some
fruitful suggestion for the improvement of his own work.
Into Bushwick Avenue Sunday School Frank L. Brown
built his life and personality. It is a living monument
that will endure. The Superhitendent reflects very largely
his own experience as superintendent.

As a member from the time of its organization of the
Board of Sunday Schools, of the Board of Foreign Mis-
sions, of important committees of these and other organ-
izations, and of several General Conferences Dr. Brown
made a large contribution to modern Methodism. With all
his usefulness as a Christian layman he will be best re-

9



10 EDITOR'S INTRODUCTION

membered by those who knew him intimately as a friend
and brother. He was a lover of men, rich in those quali-
ties of character which stand forth preeminently as marks
of the Christian man.

The history of executive and administrative offices in ed-
ucation is distinctively modern. The teaching function
may be traced from an early period of civilization, but the
function of educational management, as a distinct field, is
of very recent development. In the case of our American
public schools the city superintendency is so new an office
that as late as 1870 there were only twenty-seven such
officials in the United States. Within the last few years
the field and responsibility of supervising and managing
officials both in the public schools and the church schools
have been very largely increased. Colleges, normal schools,
training schools, and other institutions are recognizing
the importance of training for this type of leadership.

But religious education has been slow in making plans
for training in administrative work. This was greatly
regretted by the author. By tongue and pen he urged in
season and out the importance of training for Sunday-
school superintendents.

The author recognized that the ideal condition of Sun-
day-school affairs would involve a thorough professional
preparation for every superintendent. Even to give our
superintendents the lesser advantage of short-term train-
ing courses would be very desirable. But the actual situa-
tion necessitates the service of a large number of volunteer
superintendents, most of whom approach their task with-
out even an apprentice training for their work. It was for
these that Dr. Brown wrote The Superintendent. It is not
intended primarily as a textbook in either the theory or
practice of Sunday-school administration. It is, rather, a
handbook of method, a compendium for the guidance of
superintendents in the multitude of greater and lesser
problems that come to them for solution.

The Editors.



PREFACE

The importance of the office of the Sunday-school super-
intendent has grown with the expansion of the Sunday
school, with advance in its educational ideals, and with its
increasingly important relation to the church, its com-
munity touch and world-wide reach.

The nearly 200,000 Sunday schools of this country are
superintended by men and women who are among the
busiest in the church and community life, leaders sincerely
anxious to make the most of their office and hungry for
practical help, as much so as any of the office-bearers of the
church.

This book has been w^ritten out of the experience and ob-
servation of thirty-five years of work as a superintendent,
with the purpose of assisting my fellow superintendents,
or those in training for service, in preparing for effective
work. Not all the suggestions made or plans outlined may
be applied in any one school. The ideals presented, how-
ever, we trust, will not be found impracticable in any case.

It takes most of us as superintendents many years to
come to even an approximate completeness in results, for
we are limited often as to equipment or helpers. The best
superintendents are never satisfied with their work. The
horizon is continually lifting and the vision broadening.

The superintendent of the small school can have a school
as complete and high in quality as the large city school,
and usually more satisfactory in its results through the
possibility of the individual touch. The supreme goal in
Sunday-school work — the shaping of Christian character for
the world's service — can be attained in the smallest school
and under any limitations if there are atmosphere, love,
prayer, patience, and persistent and tactful effort.

Grateful acknowledgment for illustrative material in
these pages is made to Tlie Sunday ScJiool Journal, The
Church School, and the Sunday School Executive.

Frank L. Brown.
11



CHAPTER I
THE INSTITUTION

1. Aim and purpose of the Sunday school. Before
the superintendent can know his task he should have clearly
in mind the aim and purpose of the Sunday school and its
place in relation to the home, the church, the community,
the nation, and the world. He should know something of
the Sunday-school movement and its important part in the
shaping of individual and world character.

Let us glance at a few of the great definitions of the Sun-
day school in its aim and purpose: "The Sunday school is
the world's greatest institution for popularizing the world's
greatest Book." "The Sunday school is the Bible-teaching
service of the church." "The Sunday school is an organ-
ized and scientific effort for religious education." "The
purpose of the Sunday school is to teach religious truth,
chiefly through the Bible, for the formation and develop-
ment of religious character.'" "What, then, is the end of
Sunday-school work? Character training for service in the
extension of the Kingdom." "The function of the Sunday
school is to grow souls possessed by Christ's passion to
win souls. It should be keyed to the purpose of giving the
gospel to every creature."

F. B. Meyer, former president of the World's Sunday
School Association, has said: "I received at the World's
Sunday School Convention at Rome a new vision. If the
Avorld is ever to be saved, it must be saved through its
childhood." Said Moody, "If we can save one generation of
children, the devil will be out of business." Gladstone said,
"Talk about the questions of the time; there is but one
question — how to bring the truth's of God's Word into vital



Cliltou Coufereuce.

13



14 THE SUPERINTENDENT

contact with the minds and hearts of all classes of people."
The Sunday school is recognized as the only institution that
is equipped for this great task by reason of its organization,
its personnel, and its great objectives.

The Sunday school is rising splendidly to its opportunity
through the perfecting of its organization, the development
of its literature, the inclusion of all ages in its plans, the
training of its workers, its use of a sane evangelism, its
outreach into the community and the world. It is more
and more commanding the respect of educators. It is en-
listing in its voluntary service the fidelity, the intelligence,
and the business genius of nearly two millions of Sunday-
school officers and teachers in North America alone. It is
rapidly increasing in numbers and efficiency.

This will be the Sunday-school century. We are already
in the swing of a Sunday-school movement that will lay a
new moral foundation under the state, offset the influences
that threaten our civilization, save the church from decay,
bring religion back to the home, add a new vitality to
Christian missions, and train leadership for service to the
community, country, and world.

2. Religious instruction previous to modei'n tintes.
One of the earliest schools of religious instruction was
formed in Abraham's household. Under Jehoshaphat the
Levites went throughout the land instructing the people
in the law. In the book of Nehemiah there is the account
of a great open-air Bible school, with Ezra as superinten-
dent. The order of service and list of assistants are given.
Eighty years before Christ, Josephus tells us of what are
practically Sabbath schools with Primary, Junior, and
Senior Departments and graded instruction.

In 1527 Martin Luther conducted Sunday schools in
Germany, and about 1550 Carlo Borromeo was promoting
Sunday schools in Milan, 743 existing in Italy at the time of
his death. For more than two hundred years Sunday chil-
dren's services have been held in Germany under the name
of "children's divine service." There is a popular idea that



THE INSTITUTION 15

Robert Raikes started the first Sunday school in 1780; but
Henry Clay Trumbull, In his Yale Lecturer on the Sunday
School, has pointed out that.as early as 1560 a form of Sun-
day school had been adopted by the General Assembly of
the Church of Scotland. There are instances of Sunday-
school work between this date and Robert Raikes' time at
points in Scotland, Wales, England, Ireland, and America.

3. The Raikes movement. Robert Raikes was born in
Gloucester in 1736 and died in 1811. He started his first
Sunday school in "Sooty" Alley, Gloucester, "and thereby
began the creation of a new race out of the social waste"
of his day. My grandmother frequently saw Raikes, a fine-
looking Christian gentleman, and many times told me as
a boy how he went about the streets of Gloucester talking
with groups of children, smiling benevolently, and inviting
them to his school, his hands lifting his coat tails mean-
while. With Mrs. Bradburn, to whom, with three others,
he paid a shilling a day, he would lead his groups of poor
boys through the alleys, the street crowd shouting, "Bobby
Wildgoose and his regiment." Owing to the character of
the first pupils Raikes was called the "Founder of Ragged
Schools," and because of this name and the social impli-
cation involved, a prejudice has existed against the Sun-
day school on the part of some in the church, especially
in England, until comparatively recent times. These
schools were not at first connected with the church.
Raikes' plan was to assemble the children from ten to
twelve in the forenoon. They assembled again at one, "and
after reading a lesson they were conducted to church.
After church they were employed in repeating the catechism
till half-past five and then dismissed with the injunction
to go home without making a noise and by no means to
play in the street." The movement grew unexpectedly to
great popularity. Within a few years 250,000 were en-
rolled in the schools of Great Britain alone; and William
Pitt, the premier of Great Britain, who was opposed to
popular education, even threatened to suppress the Sunday



16 THE SUPERINTENDENT

schools by a Parliamentary act, but was dissuaded by en-
thusiastic friends of the new movement. The Religious
Tract Society of London, the London and Church Mis-
sionary Societies, and the British and Foreign Bible Society
were inspired by the Raikes Sunday-school movement.
John Wesley was quick to discover the value of the new
movement and in 1784 wrote: "Perhaps God may have a
deeper end therein than men are aware. Who knows but
what some of these schools may become the nurseries for
Christians?"

The Sunday School Union of London, founded in 1803, is
the oldest Sunday-school organization. Its helpful work
has extended to all parts of the British Empire.

4. The Sunday-school movement in America. While
to Bishop Francis Asbury is commonly given the credit
of organizing the first Sunday school in America, in the
house of Thomas Grenshaw, Hanover County, Virginia,
in 1786, there are instances of much earlier efforts, even as
far back as 1632, when John Eliot, the preacher to the In-
dians, established in the First Church of Roxbury, Massa-
chusetts, a "practice for training up youth," using the
catechism and Bible.

The American Sunday School Union, established in 1824,
was a merger of unions at New York, Philadelphia, and
Boston, which were organized somewhat earlier. One hun-
dred and thirty-five thousand Sunday schools have been
established through the work of its missionaries in 104
years of work, especially in the West and Far West; and its
good work is still going on.

The Sunday School Union of the Methodist Eiriscopal
Church was organized in 1827, reporting at the first annual
meeting 251 auxiliary societies, 1,025 schools, 10,290 teach-
ers, and 63,240 scholars. It passed through several stages
of amalgamation with other unrelated church interests,
finally emerging from the General Conference of 1908 as a
separate organization known as the Board of Sunday
Schools, with headquarters in Chicago. The Sunday-school



THE INSTITUTION 17

membership reported at the General Conference of 1920 was
4,467,500. The Sunday-school work of other denominations
is carried on through Sunday-school, educational, and pub-
lication boards and societies, which in many cases use the
profits on Sunday-school publications in extending the de-
nominational Sunday-school work through field and area
educational secretaries. The combined official denomina-
tional Sunday-school editorial, secretarial, and publication
interests are represented in the Sunday School Council of
Evangelical Denominations.

The Internuiional Sunday School Association grew out of
interdenominational Sunday-school conventions, the first
one of which was held in the city of New York in 1832.
These conventions were held irregularly until 1869, from
which time they have been held triennially. The Inter-
national Uniform Lessons were adopted at the Indianapolis
Convention, in 1872. The International Graded Lessons
were adopted at the Louisville Convention in 1908. The In-
ternational Association has promoted Sunday-school growth
and improved methods through annual conventions, its
secretarial force, its literature, and through its auxiliary
associations in the States, provinces, and counties of North
America, including adjacent islands. There are in North
America, according to the report at the Buffalo Convention
(1918), 195,343 schools, 1,874,705 officers and teachers, and
18,763,649 scholars.

The WorJcVs Sunday School Association is a development
of the various world's conventions, beginning with the one
held in London in 1889, the succeeding conventions being
held in Saint Louis, London, Jerusalem, Rome, Washing-
ton, Zurich, and Tokyo. At the Rome Convention, with
more than 1,100 delegates present, the World's Sunday
School Association was organized to promote Sunday-school
organization, conventions, and literature, gather statistics,
and to cooperate with other associations in advancing Sun-
day-school standards throughout the whole world. Its
specific purpose is to give a Sunday-school vision to the



18 THE SUPERINTENDENT

workers in foreign fields and to give a missionary vision
to the schools in the home field. As the result of confer-
ences with the denominational mission and Sunday-school
boards representatives of these boards are officially ap-
pointed upon the Executive Committee of the World's Sun-
day School Association. The Foreign Mission Conference
of North America appoints twelve of these representatives,
and the Sunday School Council of Evangelical Denomina-
tions six. ^

5. The relation of the Sunday school to the church.
The Sunday school of to-day is the church of to-morrow.
Church statesmanship and the wisest strategy will con-
serve the mighty possibilities of the Sunday school. "What-
ever you would have appear in the life of the church must
first be put into the Sunday school." The Sunday school
is not the nursery of the church. In the modern form, as
the church school, the Bible-studying service of the entire
church, it is entitled to and is receiving all ages into its
membership. It is regrettable that the Sunday school was
first started as an institution apart from the church, for
this fact for some years divested the church of a direct
responsibility for it, and there are not a few belated min-
isters even in this day who persist in keeping the church
and Sunday school apart and are rarely found at the Sun-
day-school service. In many cases, even where the school
has been recognized, it is still regarded as a children's
affair. The tremendous national interest in religious edu-
cation, the organized-adult-class movement, and the new
interpretation of the Sunday school's value and mission
have awakened a remarkable interest in the Sunday school
on the part of the church. And with good reason. What
are the facts? The dividends from the Sunday schools in-
clude 95 per cent of the preachers, 85 per cent of the church
converts, 95 per cent of the church workers, and 75 per cent
of the churches organized. And this in the face of the fact
that pastors and parents are not giving more than 10 per
cent of their time to the Sunday school, and the church



THE INSTITUTION 19

not more than 10 per cent of its income, and that the theo-
logical seminaries have until recently put but trifling em-
phasis upon Sunday-school training of pastors. In other
words about 90 per cent of return has come from 10 per
cent of investment.

The Sunday school, of all religious agencies, includes the
largest number of persons at a time of life easiest to reach,
and when life, if consecrated, will tell the most and longest
for God and the race. It has the largest number of trained
workers. President Mullen has said, "The whole trend of
my observation, study, and experience has shown me that
in most cases the Sunday school is the most fundamental
thing in church work." The startling fact is that the ad-
ditions to the church membership, aside from the Sunday
school and the direct influence of the Sunday school upon
the homes, probably do not exceed 10 per cent of the total.
And this despite expensive and strenuous revival efforts.
If the church were wise and invested its energy and money
in holding in the Sunday school and bringing to Christ its
young people from twelve to twenty, its problems would be
largely solved. For God speaks most certainly to the life
during these strategic years, and young people can then be
easily molded as workers. It is church folly akin to crime
to permit these young people to slip from under the direct
influence and training of the church by failing to use the
Sunday-school opportunity of holding and reaching them.

What should be the relation of the church to the Sunday
school? It should regard the Sunday school as an essential
part of itself and provide generously for its equipment and
support. It should supervise its organization and charac-
ter of work, through its own committee on religious edu-
cation. In church construction first thought should be
given to the proper housing of the Sunday school, with
provision for departmental division and instruction and
for recreation.

Theological seminaries should plan that candidates for
the ministry should have an adequate course in religious



20 THE SUPERINTENDENT

pedagogy and church-school management, including labora-
tory work in practice Sunday schools.

The pastor and the church officials should be found in
the Sunday school as workers or members.

Provision should be made by the church for the week-day
life of the young people to link their interest and preempt
their whole life for Christ and the church. "Every member
of the church a member of some department of the Sunday
school" should be the objective of the church. The church
may well provide for a paid superintendency where the
conditions favor the investment of the superintendent's
entire time. It should give an adequate opportunity to
every pupil to enter the Christian life. The church should
provide for the spiritual culture of the young in Christian
life and service. It should plan for a leadership-training
class in which young people shall be trained through special
courses as church and Sunday-school officers, and as lead-
ers in missions, social service, recreation, and evangelism.
It should educate its young people in the spirit of giving.

It is not fair to the Sunday school to tack its session of
one hour or less to the end of the church session and expect
it to make its needed religious and educational impress
upon its members. Time is needed for this important work,
and the day may not be far distant when the church will
surrender one of its preaching services, making it the Bible-
teaching service of the entire church. This would magnify
the Sunday-school work, give the pastor opportunity for
definite service in the Sunday school, and not oblige the
faithful Sunday-school worker to attend three services on
a Sabbath. It would solve the question, too, of adequate
time; and while we may not be ready in a voluntary work
for a three-hour Sunday-school session, as contended for
by a contributor to the Educational Review, yet a longer
session than the present average is obligatory for best work.
Many schools are placing their sessions on Sunday after-
noon as a solution of the time problem and to provide
against the temptation to waste the afternoon of the Sab-



THE INSTITUTION 21

bath in doubtful ways. The week-day religious school as
supplemental to the Sunday session is discussed later and
is the answer, in good measure, to the question of sufRcient
time for the educational program of the church. It is al-



Online LibraryFrank L. (Frank Llewellyn) BrownThe superintendent → online text (page 1 of 30)