Congratulations on your choice of Sabbath School ministry. Whether you are a veteran secretary or a newcomer who is eager to dig in and get going, you will wear many hats. Let’s take a few minutes to try on a few.
- Media consultant. As media consultant, you link division leaders and the people who can help them fill the needs of their Sabbath School classes. You will receive information of all kinds from the personal ministries department and distribute it to various people in your congregation. You will gather and record the offerings, review the membership lists, order and deliver supplies. Once a month you have the opportunity to make a presentation to the entire Sabbath School, showing what the Sabbath School has been doing and how it has grown. You are the Sabbath School’s main public relations spokesperson.
- Physician. Think of Sabbath School as your patient. The division leaders are your nurses and orderlies. The health and welfare of your patient is your responsibility, so you must check with the nurses and orderlies for information about the patient. Each week you record vital statistics, such as attendance and offerings, and then you evaluate them. Check on your patient to see if it is thriving or growing weak. Each quarter you assess the health of the patient by counting attendance. Record these statistics in the patient’s chart, and give it to the church clerk.
- Ringmaster. It’s up to you to tame the paper tiger or be covered with paper cuts and devoured by stress. You may be assigned to order the numerous Sabbath School materials and supplies needed to run the Sabbath School. If you store them so that you know what you have, what you don’t have, and what you need, you will be able to distribute materials on time.
- Secretary. If your church is not large enough to hire an office secretary, you may be called upon to file, compose, or type correspondence, mail materials, take minutes at meetings, plus prepare announcements and agendas.
- Coordinator extraordinaire. Whenever the Sabbath School Council meets, you provide secretarial support. Depending on the size of your church, you may also be a member of other committees.
- Banker. Have you ever wondered where the money goes that you put in the offering plate during Sabbath School? The Sabbath School secretary collects it, counts it, and turns it over to the church treasurer. If you don’t automatically get monthly financial reports from the treasurer, request them. You must monitor funds in the Sabbath School accounts so that you can order supplies and approve bills.
Some of the hats you have just tried on no doubt felt more comfortable than others. That’s OK. In time you’ll be wearing them all, sometimes one at a time and sometimes all at once! The job of the Sabbath School secretary has the potential to be as much or as little as you make it.
When you become comfortable with your new responsibilities, you will discover ways to improve the tasks you are performing. You will discard some ideas, improve some, and love some just the way you get them.
“I can remember when the secretary used to do things like announce birthdays and anniversaries,” recalls a church member. “Now, in our church, they don’t do much more than pass out the quarterlies.” When you read on page 10 in Counsels on Sabbath School Work that the Sabbath School should be “one of the greatest instrumentalities, and the most effectual, in bringing souls to Christ,” you begin to realize the tremendous opportunities and responsibilities that are yours in this exciting position. I take off my hat to you!
Céleste perrino Walker
© 2006 General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists