UPDATE: Week of Prayer Readings Now Available
The Children’s Week of Prayer Readings have now arrived from the conference. Click on the link to access the PDF document.
Pre-Teens Recognised by IAD’s Children Ministries Department
The Children Ministries Department of the Inter-American Division of the Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) Church has announced on its website that the name of the Department has changed to accommodate adolescents, The new name, according to a post dated September 10, 2014 is now ‘Children and Adolescents Ministries”. The ministry caters to children ranging from 0 to 14 years old.
Below is the text taken directly from the website (italics supplied).
Name of Department Amplified
The Inter-American Division Executive Committee voted at its last Mid-Year meeting held May 2014, to amplify the name of our department in order to give our adolescents a better sense of belonging. The name is now “Children and Adolescents Ministries”.
The current ministry name being used in Jamaica according to the Central Jamaica Conference Website (cjc.org) is Children and Women Ministries, indicating that the ministry has now been twinned with Women’s Ministries. It is not known if the name change will be implemented in Jamaica any time soon. As soon as that information becomes available, I will post it.
Portmore’s Claudia Bailey is new Conference Director for Children Ministries
As most persons would have heard by now, Claudia Bailey of the Portmore District of Churches has been appointed Children and Women’s Ministries Director for the Central Jamaica Conference for the new quadrennium, (i.e. 2014 to 2018). Mrs Bailey is a member of the Portmore SDA Church. She succeeds Pastor Howard Grant. You’ll learn more about the new Director’s plans in a future post.
Commentary: This Weekend’s Thirteen Sabbath Programme gets Bumped off Calendar
This weekend’s Thirteenth Sabbath programme has been bumped off its regular 13 week dateline because the Portmore Federation’s Pathfinders Day will be held on the same day in the Portmore District.
Whose grand idea was that, I don’t know. But I am very disappointed.
The Youth Federation has designated September as Pathfinder’s Month. According to the CJC’s Calendar of Special Days and Events –2014, Pathfinders’ Day was slated for September 20.
To use the traditional date for Thirteenth Sabbath celebrated by Children Ministry departments in the world church, when another date was slotted, without clear communication to the affected Children Ministries Leaders is somewhat insensitive to the church’s Sabbath School and Children Ministries’ 13th Sabbath plans.
The shift will affect the Ministry plans of small churches in two ways:
1. The Pathfinders Day event will be held at Braeton Church, our sister church down the road. Three-quarters of my children are involved in the Adventurers programme, and are therefore planning to head to Braeton for the other programme. At such late notice, (heard of it Saturday evening) even a modified programme with the children who will remain will be almost impossible.
2. There may be no Thirteenth Sabbath programme, or at most, a boiled down version of it in the churches attending this event. The Youth Federation who plans the Day has control over the entire programme including the Sabbath School programme where the children are usually scheduled to do their memory verses. The fact that I wasn’t consulted about the programme (which may be an internal rather than an external oversight– I do not know) suggests that they may have different plans for the usual 13th Sabbath Programme. My children and ministry will not have an input in this important programme. and that is understandable, because the Federation has it’s own objectives and focus. But so does the Sabbath School’s Thirteenth Sabbath programme. That’s why there is a designated day for both programmes.
The only recourse we have as a ministry is to reschedule our Thirteenth Sabbath programme for another available date which defeats the whole point and atmosphere of Thirteen Sabbath, doesn’t it?
But . . . we plod along.
The Adventures and Pathfinders Clubs are a wonderful arm of children ministry which I wholeheartedly support, but we must work together, and that requires sensitive planning and effective communication.
P.S. Hellshire will have our Thirteenth Sabbath programme next Sabbath. Come and share in an exciting display of our children’s Bible knowledge.
October 18 is Adventist Children’s Day
What is Adventist Children’s Day?
Adventist Children’s Day, called Children’s Sabbath in NorthAmerica conference is held twice a year and is a special day designated by the world church to promote children in ministry.
From morning services back to Vespers, children get a chance to shine as they take over the worship services for the day.
In some churches, that may mean children chair all or parts of the day’s programme, leading out in key services such as Sabbath School, Personal Ministries Time and the Divine Service Hour while adults take a back seat. Many local churches provide an afternoon programme as well.
Who is responsible for planning this?
The Children Ministries Committee, led by the Children Ministries leader.
What is the best time to start planning this event?
Right away. It’s already late. Give your team a four week window, so you can cover all the bases and be prepared for eventualities should they arise.
What should I put on the Agenda of this first planning meeting?
Your bucket-list of things to be done prior to and on the day. Coming up with a phased time schedule (organised in three phases — Things to Do Right Away, Three Weeks, and One week to Go) can greatly help you keep track of everything. I also like to assign responsibilities and get commitments from team members for each task or project. Use your first meeting to pray for the event and cast your vision of the programme for the team.
These are the big ticket items I usually include on my meeting Agenda . You can modify to suit your church’s needs and your own vision of the day.
- Day’s Theme and Sermon materials – The Conference usually provides this. If you don’t receive your Children’s Day correspondence, ask your church clerk or Pastor to make inquiries. Materials are usually ready and available for download from the conference website, and should be available now. But to get a head start, ask questions if you see nothing, or come up with your own theme and sermon. At the time of publishing I saw no materials on the website. The Conference’s weekly Communique had not arrived in my inbox when I checked a few minutes ago, which would suggest that leaders can go ahead and craft their own programmes. There’s a good chance that my ministry will be maintaining a prayer focus as Children’s Week of Prayer culminates on that day. But it’s wide open for you to be creative. You can always check back at the site next week to see if they have put anything up, or check the JAMU or IAD websites,
- Key Programmes and Format – Find a concept to go along with the theme. Be creative. Involve as many children as possible.
- Presenters – who will chair and lead out in the main activities of the day? Who will deliver the sermon? Will you use one or more speakers? It is a common strategy at my church to divide up a sermon into segments and have each child present a portion.
- Coaching – draft your capable teachers, parents or elders to assist in coaching all child speakers on elocution and delivery skills.
- Music – Delegate this to your Children’s choir leader. He or she will work with parents and musician to select songs, singers, and schedule and promote rehearsals before the big day. If that person is not a part of your planning committee, you’ll need to provide information about your theme and programme format that is necessary to ensure everything is done in order.
- Approval/Permissions – Present your plan to your Church board and seek the necessary approval. If guests are going to participate, the Board will need to be informed. Letters of invitation to guests need to be signed by your Church clerk and Pastor. You’ll also need to discuss your budget needs for the day if you need money from the Church Treasury to underwrite any expenses.
- Refreshments– Whether or not you have guests, plan some light refreshments or a celebratory potluck for the children. Ask parents for help.
- Promotion – WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, HOW, and even WHY are questions that must be answered as you discuss how you will publicize your day. Relate questions not only to the programme but the communication strategy. Work with your Communication Department if you need help with this. They can usually help with bulletins and designing printed programmes, invitations or flyers for the day. See your Children’s Day as an opportunity to invite and open your church to the community children, so give invites to kids and ask them to invite their friends, ask parents to invite other families, and at least a week before the event, take your ministry team on a community blitz where they issue fliers and canvas each home within walking distance in your church community.
- Welcoming Team – Designate and train your most congenial children to welcome and usher guests to their seats. Will they wear name tags? Will you use a guest book? Will guests get a token? Plan for all these, and delegate someone to coordinate this vital aspect of your programme. If your church is small, you may ask the regular ushers to do this, or draft willing parents and teachers who are not otherwise involved in the service.
- Sanitation and Decoration – Make sure you inform your deacons and deaconesses to make extra preparations for visitors. Harness the skills of the resident church decorator to create a vista that will enhance the worship experience of your Day. Put a banner or a simple chart announcing your theme and the Day as a backdrop.
- Prayer – Always include this vital element during every stage of your planning. Draft your parents’ prayer team or ministry staff to pray for the event.
Provide everyone with a copy of your Minutes or Draft Plan and Schedule of Events leading up to the Day. Check in weekly or as needed to see if everyone is on their marks. Especially monitor the progress of presenters with their coaches to ensure the kids with the most essential tasks for the success of the programme are on target.
A final dress rehearsal at least two days before the event is essential to get a broad view of how the day will flow, and identify any loose ends that needs to be tightened. Have a check-list handy and a Plan B in place.
On the day
Deliver a great programme that will allow children to test their ministry wings and glorify God’s name.
Don’t forget to thank all who contributed to the day’s success. That can usually be done in a Vote of Thanks speech at the end of the day.
Kids Ministry Ideas has a great programme resource that can help put some structure to your planning. Look for Children’s Sabbath under Resources or Kids Ministry Ideas under Links for more exciting ministry ideas.
Children’s Day Afternoon Programme Idea
For this Children’s Day afternoon programme, why not have your children do an Outreach project?
KidsMinistryIdeas.org has a Weekly Sabbath School Outreach page that presents project ideas. Borrow one of the ideas there if you can’t think of one to do in your community.
October 11 is Adventist Teachers Day.
This is a perfect opportunity for your Children Ministry to celebrate teachers serving in Seventh day Adventist schools.
Adventist Heritage Day is also slotted for the same day. Can you find ways to tie the two together? Earlier this year, during Black history Month, I had planned to profile Adventist leaders who were pioneers of the Jamaican church. In my research I found out that one of our early Presidents had been a librarian. For Heritage Day, why not consider a similar focus? Maybe you could profile pioneer teachers and principals of some of the Adventist schools in the island. It may take some time to do a search and find the information you are looking for, so get an early start on it. Start at the Conference Education Department and if they have archives, request permission to access the information there.
Conference Wide Week of Prayer starts the same day October 11 and culminates on the 18th with Adventist Children’s Day. Start planning with your children for those two significant ministry events.
The Week of Prayer reading is available “for Junior Youth” only and can be downloaded from the Conference website or by clicking on this link.
Help Extend the Life of Quarterlies with these Ideas
By now, your Sabbath School Department should be picking up 4th Quarter quarterlies from the conference for distribution in your church this weekend.
One of the problems I face as a class teacher is children losing their quarterlies, sometimes long before the quarter ends. Helping your child care for things owned is a responsibility that belongs to parents, however teachers can help children start the quarter right.
Here are four ways to help your child or student take care of his or her quarterly, or stay on track with the weekly lessons in the event of its loss:
1. Use Name Labels. If a quarterly has no name on it, it makes it more difficult to find it when it’s lost. Attach name labels to the front of the quarterly.
Labels can be obtained at your local bookstore or made using ponal and a sheet of plain paper. The details you put on it is up to you, but must include the child’s name, class, and parent’s name and phone number.
2. Protective Sleeves. Obtain transparent sleeves for a small cost. Place the quarterly in its sleeve and ask kids to keep it there at all times. Sleeves that open like folders and have a pouch work best.
These can be obtained from most book and stationery stores. If you have a large class, consider purchasing them from a wholesale supplier and selling back to parents. Do a search in your Yellow Pages.
3. Lost and Found Box. Create and place a Lost and Found Box in your sanctuary, classroom or any other accessible location to increase the chance of lost quarterlies and other personal items getting back to their owners.
Notify your janitor, deaconate body and the general congregation of its existence and location and ask them to place lost items in your box. Write Children Ministry Lost and Found Box in bold letters on it as well.
4. Copy and File Lessons. At the start of the quarter, teachers can photocopy and file the 13 lessons. Issue copies to children who lose their quarterlies.
5. Always purchase extras. Keep these in a box in the classroom where children can access them when they come to class. These should not be sent home, although if a parent wishes to obtain a copy, he or she could pay for it.
6. Study Online. Children study guide lessons for Beginner, Kindergarten and Primary found in the quarterly can be obtained online from GraceLink.net, although not in story format.
The Conference website has a link that can help you access these resources.
Go to CJC. On the menu bar, click Resources and Opportunities.
Click on Quarterlies, and you’ll be taken to the GraceLink.net page. Select the quarterly magazine for your child’s/student’s class. A video podcast of the week’s lesson is available on the main page. To find lots of other resources including apps, teacher and parent materials, go to Related Links in the GraceLink.net sidebar on the left. I found resources for the Primary Treasure here.
If you have a high incidence of losses in your class, talk with the parents at the start of the new quarter and ask them to help their children to secure their quarterly magazines. You might even consider a way to reward children who keep their quarterlies until Thirteenth Sabbath, adding bonuses for those whose have kept their magazines in tip-top shape and who showed an improvement in responsibility over the last quarter.
Happy Sabbath to you and your family,
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