Going the Extra Mile

As you have become acquainted with your duties as Sabbath School secretary, you probably have noticed that some aspects of communication in the Sabbath School could use some attention.

Visitors 

Your church probably has a guest book in the lobby with a person assigned to ask visitors to fill it out. Then what happens with the information about visitors? Is the information used?

Church members 

If church members do not attend Sabbath School, are they contacted and assured that they were missed and that they missed something?

Interpersonal 

Are the birthdays and anniversaries celebrated by the Sabbath School? Taking care of these details isn’t really part of your designated duties. They are the icing on the cake, the extra mile. But we’re working for Jesus, and it is His policy to do more than is asked of Him. He said it: “ ‘Whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two’ ” (Matt. 5:41, NKJV).

Find as many ways as possible to reach out to those who are neglected: Will you send cards to sick members? Distribute flowers for anniversaries? Have balloons for birthdays? What device will you use to communicate to the members in your Sabbath School that they are remembered and appreciated?

Cards

Greeting cards are an easy way to convey a variety of sentiments: “We’re praying for you,” “You are missed,” “Get well soon,” “So glad you visited.” Buy your cards in bulk or, using a software program, create a line of cards uniquely focused on the characteristics of your Sabbath School. You may have a budding card designer among your membership. Be sure not to overlook the computer whizzes in the junior class and the senior citizen group.

A worthwhile timesaving step is to place the return address on the envelope, preferably by label, and stamp it with the appropriate postage so that when it comes time to make it out, all you have to do is jot down a brief message and address it.

To organize further, consider a folder to categorize them. A three-ring binder with multiple pockets would work well. Be sure to stock cards in advance so that you do not run out.

Flowers 

Your church probably already has a program for Mother’s Day and/or Father’s Day, when flowers are distributed to members. But wouldn’t it be nice to receive a flower on your wedding anniversary or some other annual event? Inexpensive flowers would be easy to distribute for anniversaries. Or spritz a dab of perfume on the cloth or paper variety.

You could distribute flowers in one of several ways. Since you will have made out an anniversary card, you could place a flower with it and leave the cards on a table in the foyer designated as a distribution center. Or if your church is relatively small, you could distribute the flowers personally. You could announce the anniversaries from the front and pass the flowers out to them.

Balloons

Even many adults love balloons. A bright helium balloon with a matching ribbon is a cheerful way to say, “We’re thinking about you.” You could rent a helium tank once a quarter for birthdays. Members will begin to look forward to balloon day.

Additional ideas

Bookmarks, either handmade or purchased, can replace flowers, cards, or balloons. They can be designed on a computer or crafted from lengths of ribbon and written on with a fabric pen. Refrigerator magnets can be made from cutouts of cardboard or poster board with hand-lettered sentiments on them and a strip of magnet on the back. Special materials are also available to print magnets by computer. Bread-makers in one church sign up to bake for a specific week, so a small load of freshly baked bread is given to each visitor.

No matter what steps you take to recognize and appreciate those who attend your Sabbath School -- regulars and guests -- they will certainly appreciate you for going the extra mile.


Céleste perrino Walker
© 2006 General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists