There is a widely felt need among church leaders for a better understanding of youth activities. This is mirrored by a readiness on the part of many youth to make a go of any activities which the church does provide. At the same time, the young people feel that many activities fall well short of their expectations. The activities give no deep-seated satisfaction and do not symbolise any intrinsic worth, or a cause with which they can identify. In the past, Christian Endeavour (CE) has been such an activity. It was also born out of the same needs and concerns. The basic question is then, Why did CE fade away over the past twenty or thirty years?
Discussions about CE often have an implicit question of whether it is relevant to life. This is also the case for the church generally in its difficulty in communicating with that part of the community not already within its shadow. Hence CE is to be seen as a volatile barometer of effects which impinge on the smaller evangelical denominations, and the results of an investigation such as this should be of significance for them also.
This particular thesis focuses on one interdenominational youth group, in contrast to most other literature in the field of religious history which deals with the general religious situation or one particular denomination. CE in Australia has had two books written on it. Both of these were celebratory and not meant to be in any way analytical. Overseas CE books do not address the Australian scene, mostly date from 1929 or before, and are also not analytical.
The above books have been useful in sketching the progress of the movement up to 1938. The one Australian book dealing with more recent times, and commemorating one hundred years of CE in this country, needs to be used with the utmost caution. It gives very little actual detail in any case. …………………