Kermit the Frog, a Muppet character, is reported to have lamented, “It ain’t easy being green.” I know of three human connections to the frog’s situation, figuratively speaking: green with envy, green and sick to one’s stomach, and green, meaning “new,” to an experience. With these references in mind, I can say, “Yes, Sabbath School leaders, being green is not easy. So let’s get the green out!”
Officers who missed the conference training session for new officers earlier this year will want to make the next training session. So let’s look back a bit to find possible solutions that can head off missing future opportunities:
- Lack of transportation or a location farther than you could drive yourself? Make connections now that will enable you to carpool next time.
- Don’t want to go alone? Partner with leaders from another church ministry or any other interested friend, Seventh-day Adventist or not. I consistently meet people of other denominations who are attending workshops with a friend who is in a ministry similar to their own or with whom they just have been friends “for ages.”
- Lack of funds? Begin a savings account for your ministry training. Perhaps partner with God to raise funds for your expenses, possibly by Investment. At the start, specify the percentage to be committed to missions and the percentage committed to your ministry training expenses. Or find a sponsor in your family or circle of friends who is just glad to have you busy in a good work.
In the meantime, use your resources: The Sabbath School Handbook and other books by church leaders on the subjects you need to know.
Begin with the essential, an understanding of the principles and methods of religious education, rather than spend time absorbing academic/secular teaching techniques.
Continue to get the green out by making other live connections
- With leaders in other Seventh-day Adventist churches near where you live. Network with local leaders in churches of another conference in your geographic area.
- With your conference Sabbath School director. Get the name and contact information from your local pastor. Or go online. Some local Sabbath School leaders also attend the training events that they hear about from people in other conferences who’ve participated or facilitated.
Teachers and Superintendents
- Superintendents and teachers would thrive if mentored by an experienced and successful facilitator for at least a year. In turn, that person finds someone else to mentor for a year or more. Don’t limit discussions (formal and conversational) to the Sabbath School lesson. Expand the focus to a portion of each certification lesson and at least one resource magazine article each month. Connect in person by phone, by e-mail, by Internet chatroom, etc.
- Give leaders-in-training opportunities to lead. Class facilitators-in-training preside while their mentors join the ranks of their students. Likewise, superintendents-in-training facilitate a Sabbath School Council meeting and a facilitators’ weekly session to strategize about the lesson while the mentor is present. Mentors follow up by arranging private brainstorming sessions about the mentor’s performance. If possible, arrange to have a future superintendent attend a church board meeting.
- Include trainees in your personal social activities, e.g., sports events and house parties, as well as accompany them to Sabbath School social activities, e.g., Bible Bowls, picnics, and potlucks.
- Orchestrated on-going affirmation of those in training: presentation of certificates before the entire congregation as soon as training is completed. Mention the success in church newsletters and in bulletin board displays. Request a letter of commendation for graduates from the conference director.
Unlike frogs, Sabbath School leaders can lose the green. The newness fades. It can be replaced by a rainbow vibrancy that continually deepens, because the learning continually increases.
© 2014 General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists