Deuteronomy 6:5-6 says, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts” (NIV). The next few verses go on to state, “Impress them on your children,” and then indicate that this is a daily, hourly work we are to do for our children. In response to God’s command, the Children’s Ministries Department exists:
To minister to the spiritual, physical, emotional and social needs of children at their most formative time in life by pointing them to their Savior and Friend, Jesus Christ .
To provide training, resources and ideas in English and Spanish for children’s ministries leaders to support them in their ministry for children in their churches and communities.
To encourage parents to be actively involved in the character development and spiritual growth of their children.
Programs for Children
By planning, preparing, providing and supporting programs that directly minister to children at regularly scheduled events such as Evangelism Impact, Adventurer Fun Day, Lake Junaluska Camp Meeting, Eastern Carolina Camp Meeting, Low Country Camp Meeting and Hispanic Camp Meeting, we endeavor to help parents take an active role by encouraging their child’s spiritual growth. Except during COVID-19, special kids’ programs have also been provided at yearly Ministerial Workers’ Meetings and the combined pastors’ and teachers’ conference, as well as the Welcome to the Family Retreat hosted every two years for new Adventists and their families.
We strive to equip leaders by providing Teachers’ Toolkit Sabbath School Training, and Children’s Ministries and Vacation Bible School (VBS) workshops. VBS has been a growing evangelistic outreach for children and parents, with exciting Adventist children’s programs produced by the NAD and Advent Source. An Evangelism Fund subsidy helps cover a portion of the VBS kit cost. This, along with our VBS loan program where we share VBS equipment, props, and decorations, helps to reduce expenses for the churches.
Our Children’s Ministries Department has initiated valuable youth leadership and mentoring opportunities by utilizing local Charlotte and Mount Pisgah Academy students to help at Conference VBS workshops and local church VBS programs. Although the pandemic caused a decrease in the number of VBS programs being offered in 2020 and 2021, some churches still offered virtual or live VBS programs with good response from their church and community.
Kathy’s Kids Storytime (KKST)
The KKST podcast, originally recorded at the Conference office studio, was first released in January of 2018. Social media, word-of-mouth and business cards have expanded the growth of Adventist and non-Adventist listeners to six continents, and downloads have reached nearly half a million. The stories are now being recorded in a bedroom of Kathy’s home at her daughter’s tiny table!
During COVID-19, our Children’s Ministry programs took the form of online resources and virtual programs for Sabbath School, VBS and Camp Meeting. NAD Children’s Ministries and Advent Source broadcasted a worldwide virtual Heroes LIVE VBS program via Zoom and provided virtual Heroes VBS Home Edition and Heroes VBS for Churches (2020,) and the Cactusville VBS program (2021).
Our office, with the help of the Communication Department, conference staff and volunteers, prepared a virtual Camp Meeting 4 Kids in place of Lake Junaluska Camp Meetings in 2020 and 2021 and Eastern Carolina Camp Meeting in 2020. These creative programs are still available for download on the Carolina Conference website and YouTube channel for children and their families to enjoy.
New Staff Assistant
In August 2021, my administrative assistant, Jayme Rouse, and I were excited to have Yudith Flores join our Children’s Ministries staff. With the support of Ricardo Palacios, Hispanic Ministries director, we have planned a quarterly Sabbath School training program for teachers and enrichment programs for parents and children that will be a blessing to our Hispanic church members.
Our marching orders are at hand. It is our plan to continue to provide virtual and in-person training events and programs for the spiritual benefit of our leaders, parents and children, preparing them to meet Jesus and live with Him in Heaven very soon!