Recently, a sister school in Canada accepted help from a volunteer who was unfit for the role. The public outrage that followed was discouraging. However, this situation could have been avoided had capable volunteers been available to assist. Private institutions and nonprofit organizations often do not have budgets for paid staff. They rely on God to inspire His people to donate their time and energy to support valid causes. When organizations have a list of willing volunteers who are able and prepared to serve, it prevents moments of desperation.
We are in a similar position at Henderson Highway.
We need help!
Our lower division Sabbath Schools need trustworthy adults to serve in various capacities. While these classes are not new to our church, the ever-changing needs of them are new. Here is a breakdown of the current staffing situations in our Sabbath Schools:
Beginners (newborn to 3 years)
This class is well supported. In addition to their church-appointed leaders, there are numerous parents and guardians who also help. Because the children are too young to attend class on their own, they are often accompanied by at least one adult.
Kindergarten (4-6 years)
The support decreases a bit, but generally tends to be decently staffed, mostly by church-appointed leaders. On occasion, there is additional support from a parent or guardian who accompanies their child to class. Usually, the parents prefer to escort them to the door and return for them after class.
Primary (7-9 years)
The support decreases again. Even the number of church-appointed leaders decreases. Over the last few years, the Children’s Ministry has shared staff between Kindergarten & Primary. Parental support is pretty much non-existent as the children are able to get to class on their own.
Juniors (10-12 years)
We’re at the bare minimum for church-appointed leadership in this class. There is no parental support.
Earliteens (13-15 years)
Due to lack of leadership, this class was dormant for a number of years. It was reinstated in Spring 2017 to meet the needs of the children and to prevent overcrowding in some classes. It’s too wide of an age gap to keep our teens grouped with the pre-teens. Yet, they’re not quite ready for the youth group either. They’re currently down to one church-appointed leader. This class is in jeopardy of being cancelled. Again.
There is an increase in leadership support, both from parents and non-parents. Our youth group plans social gatherings in addition to their Sabbath School class and often need addtional drivers to assist.
Why not ask the parents? I don’t have kids that age or I’ve served my time already.
Parents are asked. We are very grateful for the parents and guardians who are able to help out wherever they’re comfortable. But it isn’t been enough to fill all the gaps. When the children reach a certain age, they may not be comfortable to participate openly & honestly if their parent is leading or assisting their class. Many parents are exhausted, particularly if they have served in Sabbath Schools from early childhood and onward. There are also some parents who choose to ‘follow’ their children; they will serve in a division as long as their child is a part of that class. Once they are promoted to the next level, the parent either moves as well, or they stop helping.
I’d love to help, but I’m not a teacher or I’m not good at leading.
That’s fine! If you’re good at sitting, we have the perfect position for you–a sitter. Literally, just sit. As part of our commitment to protecting children in our church, we’ve prefer to have two adults available in each class. One would be the leader, while the second adult would be a presence in the class.
Kids scare me.
Guess what? Kids might say the same thing about adults too! Why not seize this opportunity to get acquainted with our young people and start building relationships. You can still be a part of children’s ministry without directly interacting with children. The Sabbath School classrooms need decorating three to four times per year. Perhaps you have items to lend or donate for the upcoming VBX program. Maybe you have an idea that hasn’t been mentioned here yet.
I have more questions.
Wonderful! Sheryl is eager to hear from you. Perhaps you have some great ideas as well.
Please continue to pray for this crucial ministry. We want our children to see Jesus to know Him, not just know about Him. We are preparing them for the Kingdom, for eternal life with God. Lessons learned in childhood will impact them for life, guiding them as they make decisions. God does amazing work with willing hearts.