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Religious education was recognized and increasingly used as a means of personal safeguard and character-building in the Young Men's and Young Women's Christian Associations of North America during the year 1904.

The organizations included within the range of this survey are the Young Men's Christian Associations of North America, with their 1,815 associations and 373,000 members; the Young Women's Christian Associations, affiliated under the general supervision of the American Committee, with their 733 associations and about 80,000 members, and the Women's and Young Women's Christian Associations under the general supervision of the International Board, with their 53 associations and reported regular membership approximating 20,000.

The key-notes of progress in the Young Men's Christian Associations and the Young Women's Associations under the American Committee have been extension beyond the associations proper, strengthened Biblestudy, and the training of leaders.

In the Young Women's Christian Associations under the International Board the keynote of progress has been the intensification and internal organization of personal Christian effort.

Extension Work. Unquestionably, the most significant development of the year 1904 was that in the line of extension of association religious activities, not alone beyond the associations' buildings to other natural centres of congregation, but far beyond the range of association membership; whereas, previously, for some years the major portion of the association religious work has been conducted in the association buildings. Last year witnessed the extension in larger measure than ever before of Bible classes into shops, schools, homes, on shipboard, in theaters, churches, by correspondence to men in the railway service, to boarding-houses, fraternities, offices, and even to outing and vacation

camps. Religious meetings have also been inaugurated in larger measure in shops, and theaters, and the associations have taken a leading part in the conduct of evangelistic meetings in city evangelistic campaigns.

Bible Study and Meetings. The "forward movement " in Bible-study in the Young Men's Christian Association has made the year 1904 most conspicuous in the increase of the number of associations aggressively promoting systematic Bible-study and in the number of students enrolled.

There has been a growing appreciation that the most feasible and effective unit of religious effort is the Bible class, because of its great flexibility, permitting of adaptation to any class of people under any conditions; because of its equally valuable service in evangelization, and in strengthening the Christian life of believers; and because of its emphasis upon personal participation of each in the co-operative work of a limited group.

The experience of the past year reveals a growing sentiment favorable to more moderate-sized and less spectacular Sunday meetings in the association buildings, regularly held, with evangelistic results carefully followed up.

Boys. As a natural sequence to the growing recognition of the period of adolescence as the one affording the largest opportunity for religious development, there has been a rapid increase in the amount of religious work among boys. True to sound pedagogical principles, this work has been done apart from the religious work for men, with a striking increase in the use of boys as the religious leaders of boys. Marked progress has been made in the free adaptation of forms and methods of Bible instruction and in the settings for religious teaching, to put them in harmony with the natural characteristics and interests of the youth. There has been less of imitation of the forms of men's classes and meetings, and the introduction of unconventional forms that make the discussion of religious topics and the enforcement of religious principles, as applied to character-building, a natural feature in the life of a boy.

Life Problems. Beside direct religious teaching in conventional forms of religious service, strong emphasis has recently been placed upon the discussion of practical life problems, generally from a Christian standpoint, but without special reference being made to this fact. Some of the former Bible class and club groups in both the Young Men's and Young Women's Christian Associations have given this turn to their studies and discussions, seeking thereby to work out the simple and personal problems of applied Christianity. In large measure, the value of the noon and midnight shop-talks, conducted on a rapidly increasing scale in both the Young Men's and Young Women's Christian Associa

tions, consists in the translation of fundamental Christian truths into working formulæ for the every-day human life.

Social and Club Forms. The year 1904, more than any previous year, has proven in Christian associations that social contact is the vehicle of personal religious influence. In the movement, therefore, away from large classes to smaller groups, taking a club form of organization, and to a certain extent from large mass meetings to smaller meetings, there is an indication of real progress. More and more, especially during the past year, groups for Bible-study, or the conduct of other religious features, have taken on, instead of the class or committee form, a club form of organization, with special emphasis upon the increase of personal fellowship and co-operation among the members of the group. In addition to the club form of organization, strong emphasis has been laid upon social gatherings and informal teas in conjunction with Bible classes and religious meetings.

Training of Teachers and Leaders. Partly in explanation of the advances of Bible-study and other forms of religious work, and partly as a necessity resulting from the extension movement, a most important element of last year's progress is found in the great increase of attention given to the training of Bible teachers and leaders in Christian work.

Supervision. A conspicuous advance has been made, especially in the Young Men's Christian Associations, and the Young Women's Christian Associations under the American Committee, in the delegating of trained specialists to the task of discovering religious opportunities, defining religious problems, suggesting methods of religious work, and personally coaching local leaders for efficient service.

Reasons for Progress. In brief résumé, it is interesting to note especially those things which have contributed most largely to recent progress. Eight distinct reasons may be given for the growth of last year:

1. There has been, on the part of all Christian associations, a considerable broadening of their field of operation, having reached, especially in matters of religious instruction and influence, far beyond their buildings and beyond the membership or usual past constituency of the association. The association buildings have thus become radiating centers of Christian influence, and the organizations themselves have developed a projective power, enabling them to enter upon an era of service to the large constituency of young men and women of the entire community.

2. There has been a larger investment of money than in previous years. In the City and Railroad Young Men's Christian Association alone, in the local promotion of religious effort, there was expended in 1904, $141,000 as against $127,000 in 1903.

3. There has been a larger and better organized working force. Throughout the country, in both men's and women's associations there was reported a large gain in effective organization and definite assumption of responsibilities by workers.

4. More reliable helps and suggestions have been available to those having religious work in charge than in any previous year. The excellent graded courses provided largely by the International Committee, the increasing volume of literature, defining experiences and valuable methods, the stimulus of the international Bible-study examinations; the Bible-study courses and articles on religious work in such publications as "Association Men" and "The Evangel," together with the increasing correspondence and personal counsel of state and international officers, have all contributed much to inspire and guide association workers in their religious effort.

5. More systematic and aggressive promotion has been given the Bible-study and other religious work than at any previous time. This has been supplied through the local association committeemen and executives, who have felt that the most important present duty is the establishment of a more thorough and far-reaching religious work, and through the effort of state and international specialists, who have gathered and distributed most valuable information, have visited large numbers of associations, counseling in the inauguration and guidance of their work, and have conducted large numbers of institutes for the special training of local leaders of religious effort.

6. The past year has shown among association workers a growing spirit of willingness to be unconventional, if the amount or value of their services might thereby be increased. As Mr. See of Brooklyn has said, "A characteristic feature of the year has been the work done at unconventional times and in unconventional places." The freeing of association workers from the shackles of traditional conventionalities in forms and methods of religious work explains much of recent progress and brings large promise of increasing future power.

7. There has been increasing emphasis on all phases of association work as influencing toward the Christian life. The present conception of religious education is not restricted to include only those activities which bear directly upon the spiritual life; but, true to the model established in the development of Christ himself,-" And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man,"- it has to do with all that constitutes the normal life of a human being dominated by the Christian spirit. The various Christian associations, therefore, while at this period of their development laying special stress upon the

magnifying of direct religious agencies affecting the spiritual life, expressed, both in statement and in the activities they conducted, their continued and growing belief in the essential religious value of the physical, educational, social, and economic means employed.

8. There has been a greater fullness of the Spirit and a new vision. A great religious awakening, such as found expression in the Christian associations last year, does not have its origin in men or methods, but in the Spirit of the Living God incarnate in those who seek to know His will and to do it. In the successes of last year many had a vision of the great unoccupied field, and have felt the inspiring thrill of the power that is sufficient for all things.

Conclusion. For the Christian associations of North America, in the year 1904, to have claimed by occupation a wider field; to have increased religious vitality by the cultivation of greater biblical intelligence; to have established the habit of " striking while the iron is hot " in the youth of the individual; to have practicalized spiritual truth by its larger application to the solution of current life problems; to have put religious activity on a social and fraternal, rather than a monastic and patriarchal, basis; to have trained and set to the task of Christian leadership an army of lay workers; and to have increased in amount and efficiency the forces making for organization and promotion,-is to have made real progress - progress that is substantial, inspiring, and prophetic of a greater work, under God, in the days to come.

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