Young People's Bible Meeting
Young People's Bible Meeting (YPBM), the name of the Sunday evening meeting for young people in the Mennonite Church (MC), also called Young People’s Meeting, somewhat parallel to the Christian Endeavor which began in 1881. The first YPBM was held in the Prairie Street Mennonite Church at Elkhart, Indiana in 1887, an outgrowth of a children's meeting on Sunday evening before the evening preaching service, initiated in 1884 by John F. Funk with Henry Brenneman and Joseph Summers. The second YPBM was begun in 1889 by C. Z. Yoder at the Oak Grove Mennonite Church near Smithville, Ohio as the outgrowth of young people's "singings" which had been meeting for several years in other places. The third such meeting was begun at the Waldo Amish Mennonite Church near Flanagan, Illinois in early 1891, and the fourth at the Zion Mennonite Church near Bluffton, Ohio in 1892. About the same time young people's meetings sprang up in Ontario following the John S. Coffman revivals in 1891-92. The movement soon spread over the church, and by 1910 was well established except in the East. By 1906 the church papers, the Herald of Truth (in 1908 Gospel Herald), published topics and helps for Young People's Meetings, and by 1909 the General Conference appointed a YPBM Topics Committee (in 1931 merged with two other committees into the Commission for Christian Education), which published program outlines and helps in the Christian Monitor and in 1922 began publishing the YPBM Topics Booklet, changed in 1945 to the Program Builder. By these means universal common topics were discussed in Sunday evening meetings throughout the Mennonite Church (MC).
Although called Young People's Meetings, usually they became meetings for the entire congregation in which old and young took part, held in the meetinghouse before the evening worship service or as the sole evening service, usually sponsored by a special committee appointed for this purpose, and often with printed programs prepared several months in advance.
In the East, especially in the Lancaster Mennonite Conference, the meetings were really never held on Sunday evening but were held often on Saturday evening, and then largely only for young people.
About 1940 a movement developed for Junior Bible Meetings, which were held parallel to the adult YPBM on Sunday evening, which have become a fixed feature in most of the well-organized congregations.
The YPBM has made a great contribution to the church in Bible teaching, development of character and conviction, promotion of activity and missions, and increasing denominational loyalty.
Lederach, Paul M. "History of Religious Education in the Mennonite Church," Chap. VI, "History of the Young People's Bible Meeting" (unpublished doctoral dissertation at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, 1949): 194-222.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, pp. 1008-1009. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.
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MLA style: Bender, Harold S. "Young People's Bible Meeting." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1959. Web. 25 May 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/Y6871.html.
APA style: Bender, Harold S. (1959). Young People's Bible Meeting. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 25 May 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/Y6871.html.