Back in his Air Force days, a CHRISTIANITY TODAY staff member, serving as a squadron adjutant, got some unusually good advice from his commander. The counsel came consistently when the two faced complex decisions that would entail problems no matter what course of action they chose. It was simply, “Do something!”

Any capable leader knows that no step at all can often cause more trouble than even a step in the wrong direction. The latter at least furnishes the information of what not to do in the future. Failure to take a step does not provide even that.

The “do something” principle cannot be recommended to irresponsible people. But for responsible ones, faced with a sticky situation, to move quickly is often better than to stand still and wait. A good example of this comes from the founder of the Sunday-school movement, Robert Raikes, of Gloucester, England. Distressed by the “lawless behavior” of children on the streets of Gloucester on Sundays, he set up a Sunday school in Sooty Alley, hiring women to instruct the children in reading and the church catechism. Raikes did not wait for a church committee or an annual denominational meeting to get going. He saw the need and moved decisively to meet it.

In attempting to speak about Sunday-school problems, we realize that different churches have different problems, and that what works at, say, First Baptist in Sacramento will not necessarily work at Second Presbyterian in Syracuse. Clergy and laity alike will be helped most if they take the principles that appear in these pages and in other books and articles about the Sunday school and use them in an imaginative mix suited to their particular situation.

The simple advice to “do something” may be more valuable than it might initially ...

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