13 September, 2021

Throwback Thursday: Excerpts from ‘It Worked for Us’ (Circa 1941)

by | 29 July, 2021 | 0 comments

From 1935 to 1944, Joe B. Maffett penned a monthly column called “It Worked for Us.” Maffett, minister with the Church of Christ in North Tonawanda, N.Y., sought input from readers for the aptly titled column that featured a series of shorter items. Here are three items from the year 1941, the year the United States entered World War II.

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‘A Worn-Out Elder’

July 19, 1941; p. 11

Such is the title applied to a man of a church in Ohio. A preacher writes us and asks what we are to do with a man who is in his second childhood; during his prime he was a fine worker in the church and devout elder, but now he has outlived his usefulness and still holds onto the eldership. He makes long, tedious prayers and “wants to run everything around the church.”

Many churches must face that same problem sooner or later. . . . It is a delicate situation. No one wants to offend a man who has given many years of faithful service to the church. It would hasten such a man’s death not to re-elect him to the eldership.

In another pastorate such a condition was faced and solved by electing such a person elder emeritus. The chairman of the nominating committee together with the minister called on the man and faced the situation with him in a tactful manner, told him that there were other men that should be promoted to the office of elder and that we wanted to honor him by making him an honorary elder. He agreed and the problem was solved. Possibly the answer to the problem would not be so easy in your church. . . .

_ _ _

Youth Sunday

Aug. 9, 1941; p. 2

Early in September, most of our churches this year will want to have a service especially for the youth of the church. It is a good way to rally young people after a dull summer, and it is also an opportunity to impress upon them their responsibility to Christ and the church.

We like to have a Youth Sunday rather than a “Go to College Sunday.” Comparatively few young people are permitted to go to college. All of the young people should be recognized, not only those going to college.

Have them sit in a body during the service. The sermon can very well deal with the responsibilities of youth in these critical days. Print the names of all of the young people of the church in the bulletin. Name the colleges which those young people attend. No doubt some of your young people are now in the Army and Navy. Give their addresses in the bulletin and urge people to write them.

On Youth Sunday, have the young people take part. Let one read the Scripture and another have the prayer. If there is a junior board of deacons, have them officiate Youth Sunday. If there is a young people’s choir, let them sing. For those leaving for college or for the soldier boys in camp, pledge . . . to send them a church bulletin and The Lookout each Sunday. After the evening service, have a farewell social with the college young people as guests.

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Raise That Preacher

Oct. 25, 1941; p. 7

We have read of late of different efforts made to raise the salary of the preacher. The argument given by many writers is that living costs are going up, and because of that fact the preacher’s salary should be increased. This, of course, is true. Any church should see this without being asked by the preacher for an increase in salary. But we know of another angle.

If you love your preacher, if he is a good gospel preacher, if he is faithful to the work of the church, if he sets a fine example both in public and in private, and, if you want to keep that preacher, give him an increase in salary. Hardly a preacher anywhere will leave his field if he has the knowledge that his people love him and appreciate his work.

The writer had as his guest over the weekend a president of a large manufacturing concern in Cleveland. He told of a church that had the opportunity of getting two men for the pulpit. One man would come for $1,800. The other man would not come unless he had $3,000. You can guess which man that church called. The low-priced man. And ever since, the church has been going down. The man that wanted the $3,000 has had a fine record and would have been able to give them a great ministry, but they wanted to save money. This business friend very aptly pointed out that this was poor church business.

It is poor church business when, because we will not give our preacher an adequate salary, he becomes dissatisfied and seeks another pulpit. It would be far better to pay that preacher what he is worth and a little more than we think he is worth and hold him, rather than balance the budget and lose a good preacher. When we make out the budget for the new year, let us not forget the preacher and make generous provision for his welfare this coming year.

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