BRING THEM IN
Alexcenah Thomas, 19th century
I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. (John 10:16)
During this month our attention is often focused on the ministry of our Sunday schools. The Sunday school has been the church’s chief agency for reaching and teaching children for the past two centuries. It would be impossible to measure the extent of its spiritual influence during that time.
The Sunday school movement began in England during the lifetime of Robert Raikes (1736–1811), who was often called the “founder of the modern Sunday school.” Raikes became intensely concerned with the spiritual and social conditions of the great masses of poor illiterate children. Since education was reserved for the wealthy, four out of five poor children had no schooling. Child labor was shamefully exploited. In the midst of these conditions Raikes began taking children off the streets and teaching them biblical truths as well as the ability to read and write.
Later the followers of John and Charles Wesley, the Methodists, began establishing Sunday schools, first in England and then in America following the Revolutionary War. Still later the Sunday school movement was encouraged further by the founding of the American Sunday School Union in 1824. As this concern for children developed, it became apparent to Christian leaders that music is a natural means for working with children, since most children respond readily to musical activities. This desire to reach and teach children for Christ through appropriate songs was one of the important factors that led to the rise of the gospel song movement during the latter half of the 19th century.
“Bring Them In” has been widely used since being published in 1885 by its composer William Ogden, who was known for his work with children’s music.
Hark! ’tis the Shepherd’s voice I hear, out in the desert dark and drear, calling the sheep who’ve gone astray far from the Shepherd’s fold away.
Who’ll go and help this Shepherd kind, help Him the wand’ring one to find? Who’ll bring the lost ones to the fold where they’ll be sheltered from the cold?
Out in the desert hear their cry, out on the mountains wild and high. Hark! ’tis the Master speaks to thee, “Go find my sheep where’er they be.”
Chorus: Bring them in, bring them in, bring them in from the fields of sin; bring them in, bring them in, bring the wand’ring ones to Jesus.
For Today: Psalm 96:2, 3; Proverbs 11:30; Matthew 13:39; Matthew 18:12
Spend time in prayer for your church Sunday school—the leaders and teachers who have assumed the important responsibility of ministering the Christian faith to children and youth. At your first opportunity let them know of your prayerful concern and appreciation for their work.