May 9, 2012

Tools of the Trade

Small group ministries have become a proven way to bring people to Christ and into the church, as well as a method to continue to nurture their growth as believers. Small groups are widely used in the Adventist Church worldwide, but one of the weaknesses is not knowing what to do with the children. Small groups often are adult-centered and leave out the children.
2010 1514 page30A new tool changes that and makes children central in small group ministries. Footprints provides 12 small group sessions for parents and other mentors of children, and then 24 sessions in which children and their parents (or other adult mentors) study together. These 24 cross-age small group sessions are designed to use active learning to involve children of elementary school age. The focus of the lessons is on developing a relationship with Jesus and learning to be His follower.
Footprints for Parents and Mentors prepares adults to lead effectively in the Footprints for Kids sessions. Each comes with a printed leader’s guide and a CD with the actual discussion guides used in the small group so that you can print out as many as you need.
Footprints can be used to help parents model methods for family worship that keep children involved and focused, or as the agenda for a small group that has a number of young families. These materials were developed by the Kids in Discipleship ministry at Collegedale Church on the campus of Southern Adventist University and have been tested in real-life implementation at four other local churches. You can get these materials from AdventSource or (800) 328-0525.
Strengthening Marriages in Your Church
2010 1514 page30The new DVD seminar by Willie and Elaine Oliver is superb! It includes 12 sessions on practical topics such as marital conflict, spiritual intimacy, forgiveness, anger, communication, sexuality, gender roles, and nurturing fun and friendship in marriage. Each is approached from a rich biblical foundation and provides tangible takeaways that improve marriages.
Willie has a Ph.D. from American University and serves as Family Ministries director for the Seventh-day Adventist Church in North America. Elaine is director of student aid at Washington Adventist University and is Willie’s partner both professionally and in life. Because of their travel and backgrounds they are truly global in their approach. This is one of the most cross-cultural tools I’ve seen in the Adventist Church.
This could be a midweek meeting series or weekend family life seminar at your church. It could also be used in a small group or monthly Home and School Association series. It is of such quality that you can easily advertise it outside the church and invite the local community. It would also make a great gift to couples in your church. You can get this from AdventSource.
2010 1514 page30Text for a Parenting Class
Every congregation should offer a parenting class each year. It’s vital to helping church members with one of the most important spiritual responsibilities they have and is a proven outreach tool. Parenting Boot Camp: Basic Training for Raising Responsible Kids is an excellent textbook for such a class. It has 10 chapters, and each includes a worksheet for parents to make applications from what they are learning and discussion questions to use in a group.
Kay Kuzma is the author. She has spent a long career teaching, speaking on radio and television, and producing materials to help Christian parents. She is perhaps the most accomplished resource person in the Adventist movement on this topic. Pacific Press brought out this book in the past few months. You can get copies from your local Adventist Book Center or by calling (800) 765-6955.
Monte Sahlin is director of Research and Special Projects for the Ohio Conference and is senior consultant at the Center for Creative Ministry. You can suggest ideas and tools to him by e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at (800) 272-4664. This article was published May 20, 2010.