Christian Education Update

Strategic Evaluation for School of Ministry As we as a Conference continue to evaluate how we accomplish our work and how we can accomplish it more effectively, we have begun to consider our education and training ministries as a Conference. We have clearly understood that the local churches desire to have leaders trained in using their various giftings, but the training and educational responsibilities have been distributed among a variety of our different councils and agencies. To be very specific, the training of lay people has been the responsibility of our Christian Education ministries as a Conference, while the training of our pastors has been the responsibility, since the early 1960s, of the Council on Ministry. In the last three years, we have moved increasingly towards grouping our training initiatives, especially as expressed in the SDBU initiative. As our educational initiatives are increasingly part of a single program, it seems reasonable to ask if the oversight of this program should be undertaken by only one of our Councils. Accordingly, Director of Church Development and Pastoral Services, John Pethtel, and Director of Education and History, Nick Kersten, have approached both Councils to consider the possibility of moving all responsibility for training and education to the Christian Education Council. The groups are working together cooperatively to evaluate this possibility. More information on this will be forthcoming if all of the current leadership in both Councils agrees this is worth pursuing. Child Protection Resolution Update At this year’s General Conference meetings, a recommendation was adopted which required that all local member churches of the General Conference either (1) indemnify the General Conference against potential litigation and/or (2) pass their own child protection policy. This recommendation follows continued progress in the area of child protection over the past few years, under the guidance of the Christian Education Council and the General Council. It is likely that some combination of both parts of the recommendation will ultimately become part of the Conference standard going forward, though churches will have the time necessary to meet this standard. The motivation for this standard is ultimately an affirmation of the autonomy of local churches which comprise the Conference. Up to now, there has...

Scripture Memory Program, 2017-2018 — “Less Talk, More Action”

  This year’s Scripture Memory Program, administered by the Christian Education Council, is centered on our General Conference’s theme for the year as selected by Conference President, Rev. Dave Stall: “Less Talk, More Action.” As has been the case in recent years, those participating can begin either in the month of September or October. The material below reports the verses regardless of the month you choose to begin. Program brochures are available for download from the General Conference’s website: www.seventhdaybaptist.org/scripturememory. Individuals who complete the program receive a certificate honoring their accomplishment, and member churches of the Conference are eligible for additional recognition depending on their level of participation. Reporting is due by early July. Primary Program (ages 5-8) * Month 1 …Do what the word says. — James 1:22 * Month 2 If you don’t watch your tongue…your religion is worthless. — James 1:26 * Month 3 Do not be quick with your mouth… — Ecclesiastes 5:2 * Month 4 When you make a vow to God…fulfill your vow. — Ecclesiastes 5:4-5 * Month 5 How long will you lie there…poverty will come on you. — Proverbs 6:9-11 * Month 6 …if someone has no deeds…can such faith save them?— James 2:14 * Month 7 …If…you say…Go in peace…but do nothing…what good is it? — James 2:15-16 * Month 8 …do not love with words…but with actions. — 1 John 3:8 * Month 9 …the body without the spirit is dead, faith without deeds is dead. — James 2:26   Junior Program (ages 9-12) * Month 1 Do not merely listen to the word…Do what it says. — James 1:22 * Month 2 …Those who do not rein their tongue deceive themselves and their religion is worthless. — James 1:26 * Month 3 Do not be quick with your mouth,…God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few.— Ecclesiastes 5:2 * Month 4 When you make a vow to God…fulfill your vow. It is better to not make a vow than to make one and not fulfill it. — Ecclesiastes 5:4-5 * Month 5 How long will you lie there…a little sleep… a little folding of the hands...

Scripture Memory Program Reporting Final Notice! Roll Call Vote-by-Church…

by Nicholas J. Kersten Director of Education and History       Scripture Memory Program Reporting and Recognition! The coming of the summer means, in many places, our local churches have completed their participation in our Scripture Memory Program! The program traditionally runs from September through May — though this year, we gave local churches the opportunity to start later and run the program from October through June. Participants have been busily memorizing Scriptures selected by our Conference President, Patti Wethington. Upon completion of the program, participants whose names are reported to the Christian Education Council receive a certification of completion. Additional individual recognition is reserved for those who complete the program for a decade. In addition to personal recognition, participants from local churches who complete the program help their church in an effort to secure church recognition for the program in the form of two separate awards. The first is the “Mary Clare Scripture Memory Bowl,” given to the church with the most participants in the program. The second is the “Andrew J. Camenga Award,” given to the church with the highest percentage of church participants who complete the program. Some local churches have already submitted the names of those who have completed the program by email. For those church representatives looking for the official form, it can be downloaded from the General Conference website (http://seventhdaybaptist.org/scripture-memory-program-2016-17-reporting/). To return the form, we ask church representatives to either fill out the form and send it through postal mail, or to fill it out and return it by email. The due date for the forms for recognition at General Conference and to insure eligibility for the awards is July 10, 2017. To be eligible for the Camenga award, churches must also have submitted information for the General Conference yearbook. Final Notice! Role Call Vote-by-Church on Proposed Change to the Statement of Belief In accordance with action taken at General Conference last year, local churches should now be completing their process in preparation for casting their votes on the changes to the Seventh Day Baptist General Conference’s Statement of Belief. At this point, we have advertised the vote for several months (including in the Sabbath Recorder), and...

Sabbath School Teacher of the Year Nomination

Each year the SDB Christian Education Council solicits nominees for the Sabbath School Teacher of the Year Any member church (or branch church) of the General Conference may nominate ONE Sabbath School teacher (Nursery through Adult). Selection for this award shall be based on the following criteria: The Sabbath School Teacher of the Year shall : exhibit the qualities of faith and teaching found in the life and teachings of Christ serve as a Sabbath School Teacher be a member of the nominating church have other Christian education service that shall contribute to a fuller appreciation of the nominee’s Christian service A church whose nominee has received the Crystal Apple Award is ineligible for the following three years. The Christian Education Council selects a person from those nominated to be honored at General Conference. This person receives a certificate of award and a crystal apple. The deadline for nominations for this award for the 2016-2017 Conference year is May 31, 2017. The nomination form can be downloaded here. Upon completion of the nomination form, it should be sent to Peggy Chroniger either by email (chroniger@gmail.com) or by postal mail (5940 St Rt 21, Alfred Station, NY 14803). Nominations sent by postal mail must be postmarked by May 31 to be...

The “Whys” of Child Protection

by Nicholas J. Kersten Director of Education and History In the December issue of the Recorder, I suggested that it was a good and necessary thing for local member churches of our General Conference to implement child protection policies to guide and direct their ministry to our youngest participants. That column introduced a broad topic, and in response, individuals from local churches began contacting us for more information. We are glad for those contacts and hope they continue! But we realize that some may not yet be persuaded that such a policy is necessary. There are many reasons why child protection policies are a necessary part of the life and ministry of our churches today. I would like to briefly lay out four. The first reason to adopt, implement, and review a child protection policy is common sense. Who doesn’t want the children in their church to be protected from those who would harm them? Does anyone want the church to be used as an access point where predators can harm kids? A child protection policy helps your church to be clear about your commitment to protecting kids, and to give clear “to-do” steps to make sure you are doing what you can to protect them. The second reason to have a child protection policy is because the Bible says we need to protect our children. When the General Conference passed our Child Protection Resolution two years ago, we noted that Jesus warned about causing “little ones” to stumble or sin (Matthew 18:5-6). While our kids don’t sin if someone abuses them — they didn’t do anything wrong — the brokenness abuse can cause can lead to difficulties down the road for those survivors. Furthermore, our kids are entrusted to us by God and are made in His image. While they grow, God asks both parents and His people to guard them and protect them as they raise them up in the ways of the Lord. A child protection policy insures we are clear about our Biblical responsibilities to our kids. The third reason to have a child protection policy is because it is a good way to honor and obey the civic authorities....

A New Scholarship for Pastoral Education!

A New Scholarship for Pastoral Education!

Dec 22, 2016

Rev. Nicholas J. Kersten Director of Education and History   The Council on Ministry is happy to announce a new scholarship has been started by Sister Jasmine Lynch of the West Palm Beach, FL, SDB Church in honor of her husband, Pastor Alcott Lynch, aimed towards aiding pastors receive leadership and pastoral training! In her establishment of the scholarship, Sister Lynch explained her husband’s legacy and the purpose for it: “Pastor Alcott Lynch, charter member of the Miami and West Palm Beach Seventh Day Baptist Churches died on November 20, 2015, and was buried on December 7, 2015. Throughout his ministry, he had a heart for recruiting and training of Pastoral students. He saw that the “harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few.” Therefore, I think it is only fitting to establish the Alcott Lynch Scholarship in his memory for the training and education of students who would like to be Seventh Day Baptist pastors…” The scholarship, which can be for up to $1,000 yearly, was officially established earlier this year. Preference for the scholarship is shown to minority students, as a means of ensuring educational opportunities for our increasingly multiethnic Conference. Omari Rhoden, of the First SDB Church of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, is the first recipient of the scholarship. We are proud to honor Pastor Alcott’s memory with this new scholarship, which will aid in supporting Omari’s education in the 2016-17 academic year. We are grateful for Pastor Lynch’s legacy and for Sister Lynch’s generosity in establishing this new scholarship. We look forward to honoring students with it for years to come as an ongoing tribute to Pastor Lynch’s service to the Kingdom of God. Registration for Summer Institute on Sabbath Theology Is Open! The School of Ministry will once again be holding Summer Institute classes in 2017. The class material this year will cover Sabbath Theology. The class consists of an online portion which runs from February to May, and an in-person intensive scheduled for June 4-9, 2017, at the SDB Center in Janesville, WI. These classes are for SDB pastors and leaders and are required for credentialing by the General Conference. Tuition for the class for those not in a...