The phone rang. “Lois, this is John. The nominating committee has voted to ask you to be Sabbath School secretary for the new year.”
The next Sabbath Lois had a long talk with Jane, the current secretary, and the superintendent gave Lois a job description that she carefully read and prayed over. As Lois reviewed the various tasks, she was amazed at the scope of the Sabbath School work.
Weekly duties: Distribute Sabbath School publications, division and class record booklets, and offering envelopes. Collect attendance booklets and offering envelopes during class time. Count the money, keeping separate the weekly mission offering, the Sabbath School expense offering, the Thirteenth Sabbath Offering, and the Investment funds. Record offering amounts and attendance totals on the church’s Sabbath School summary form before turning the money in to the church treasurer.
This job is going to be a challenge, Lois said to herself. But I like this kind of detailed responsibility.
Occasional service: Lois noted that the Sabbath School secretary is supposed to bring before the Sabbath School occasional reports of the Sabbath School work. It will be fun to prepare a chart showing the health of the Sabbath School, she thought to herself.
Quarterly tasks: Jane invited Lois to help her complete the quarterly responsibilities. Lois was delighted with the prospect of this hands-on training, so they met at the church.
“Let’s go over your supplies,” Jane said. “There are some free materials that we order from the conference Sabbath School department: the mission quarterlies for the adults, teens, and children; extension division forms; offering envelopes; and class record booklets. We use the booklets instead of class record cards so we can enter the names of the Sabbath School members once a year instead of quarterly.”
Lois asked, “Who authorizes the purchase of Sabbath School curriculum materials and order changes?” Jane replied that the Sabbath School Council authorizes all orders, and the church secretary places the order with the Adventist Book Center.
Lois studied the Sabbath School summary form prepared by their local church. She was pleased to note the attendance and offerings. “This is great!” she exclaimed. “By looking over our Sabbath School summary, I feel the pulse of the entire Sabbath School. These are statistics that we record weekly.”
Jane continued her description of the quarterly tasks: “At the beginning of our Sabbath School year, October 1, we inscribe the names and addresses of members on the record booklets from the previous class records.” Jane emphasized the continuous membership plan. “There is no dropping of names at the end of the quarter or the end of the year. Names are deleted only by a request of the Sabbath School member or the Sabbath School Council.”
Monthly agenda: Jane further noted that it was the policy of their Sabbath School to present a report to the entire Sabbath School once a month. “The purpose,” she said, “is to share statistics showing either growth or decline in membership, attendance, and mission offerings. Members look forward to these reports that let them know if their school is growing or dying.
“We keep track of the Sabbath School officers’ class statistics and record the minutes for the Sabbath School Council meetings. Also, I should say that it is important to get the resources, such as teachers’ materials for all divisions, distributed as soon as they arrive. This enables division leaders to begin preparing for the new quarter.”
Jane continued: “I have made it a point to check with the divisions regarding any changes that should be made in the standing orders for Bible study guides and teaching materials. This is especially important when there is a promotion planned from one division to another.”
Required skills: Lois said, “I never dreamed that the Sabbath School secretary’s job was so involved and exciting.”
“Oh, you are the type who will thrive on this work,” Jane responded. “The Church Manual says that ‘there is perhaps no office in the Sabbath School where faithfulness, accuracy, and Christian courtesy are more necessary than in the work of the secretary.’ ”*
Charles H. Betz
© 2006 General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists