Primary Sources for the Presbyterian Masses

Early Tracts by Francis Schaeffer, Part 5 : Children for Christ

In Francis A. Schaeffer on 09/03/2012 at 10:36

These last three tracts by Dr. Schaeffer all concern the Children for Christ organization which he established in 1945. When Schaeffer moved to St. Louis to serve as the pastor of the First Bible Presbyterian Church, he had already been quite involved with children’s ministry, both with his first church in Grove City, PA and at the church in Chester, PA, under the leadership of the Rev. Abraham Lance Lathem. Schaeffer had employed Lathem’s Summer Bible School program immediately upon arriving at his first pastorate and took that church from twenty members to one hundred members in just two years. Regrettably, under Dr. Lathem, Schaeffer was tasked largely with overseeing the construction of a new church (during the Great Depression and constructed by the members of the congregation!). Schaeffer soldiered on through the construction, but when the building was built and Schaeffer was ready to get back to full time ministry, Lathem’s decision to construct an education building prompted Schaeffer’s departure to another pastorate.

In those same years, Dr. Lathem had been pondering the need for something more than just a summer Bible program. A solid year-round program was needed. Schaeffer shared that same concern, and not long after his arrival in St. Louis, after an initial association with the Child Evangelism Association, Dr. Schaeffer and others in the St. Louis church came up with the Children for Christ program in 1944. Named after a well-known book by Andrew Murray, the program was described as “a complete, integrated program for the entire children’s work of the local church or mission.”

The first tract, above, is a simple tri-fold promotional tract telling about the program. The content of the tract places the publication date around 1949-1950.  The second tract, “7 Points . . . How?” is dated 1946 and is a more extensive description of the full program of the Children for Christ ministry. This tract bears only the St. Louis address of the ministry, which incidentally was the address of the church manse. Pictured on the cover of the tract are two children from the St. Louis church, Susan Schaeffer and Nick Barker. The original photographer’s still shots for this cover were recently located among the Papers of the Rev. Albert F. (“Bud”) Moginot, Jr.

By 1945 the program had become national. Our third tract thus bears a copyright date of 1945, but was printed around 1949-1950, given that the cover has both the St. Louis address for the ministry and an address in Switzerland for the director, Dr. Schaeffer, who had by this time relocated his family there in order to begin a ministry of church planting, as well as overseeing the establishment of Children for Christ chapters in Europe.

The seven points of the Children for Christ program were as follows:
Evangelization of the Children
1. Home Classes.
2. Dismissed or Released Time Classes.
3. Open-Air Work.
Directing the Children to the Church.
4. Boys and Girls Club Work.
5. Summer Bible School.
6. Camp.
7. Rallies.

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