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Suggestions for Strengthening Youth Sabbath School
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The following sidebar is drawn from the report “The New Orphan: Youth Sabbath School” prepared by Steve Case and Eddie Heinrich for the 180° Symposium. The sidebar offers suggestions for the future strengthening of youth Sabbath School.
 

The NAD should repair the broken links in the youth ministry organizational structure from division to union to conference to local church. The NAD Youth Department should adopt the orphan called “Youth Sabbath School” as its own and allocate time and finances to make this the local church venue for youth ministry. This would include making sure resources and training are available to leaders.

 

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Our recommendation is that a minimum of 25 percent of a conference youth director’s time and budget be allocated to Youth Sabbath School. This radical change would need endorsement from conference administration. Union and division youth directors are called upon to make this a priority to their respective administrations and to actively support conference youth directors in this change.

More specifically, conference youth directors need to establish lines of communication with local church youth Sabbath School leaders. This begins with identifying which churches currently have a youth Sabbath School as well as those that would like to start one. It continues by creating a roster of who the current youth Sabbath School leaders are and how to establish lines of communication with them (email, Facebook, texting, tweeting, snail mail, etc.).

Local church youth Sabbath School leaders should start a roster and take record of those who attend youth Sabbath School. This can inform the leaders regarding their prayers, their planning, their personal contact, and the spiritual development of the young people. This information should also be passed along to conference youth directors, with feedback from the youth director to the local church, too.

Local churches are the place to create, experiment, revise, and share resources for youth Sabbath School. Conference youth directors who connect with local churches should allocate some of their time and finances to spur this. They are in the unique position to then share this with other youth Sabbath School leaders in their conference. Union youth directors should pursue collecting and distributing the freshly created resources deemed the best, looking for a cross-section that has appropriate representation of the congregations within its union. By adding its own funding to this on-going search and development, the union would provide yet another resource that local church youth Sabbath School leaders could access for their use.

If youth Sabbath School isn’t the primary youth ministry venue, then another place and/or time should be identified. Maybe 9:30 on a Saturday morning isn’t the ideal time to target teens in the NAD today. Some swap the church service and Sabbath School on Sabbath morning, but then church attendance lags. Maybe Sabbath afternoon or some weeknight is the better “youth group” gathering time.

The local church must be the focal point for ministry from a conference, union, and division perspective. Large scale events have their time and place, but primary consideration and allocations must be given to local church ministry.

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