It’s been a million years since I was a regular in kids’ Sabbath School, but many of the songs haven’t changed. So when I popped into the Beginners class during General Conference (GC) Session, it wasn’t long before I was humming the offering song (“Here is my money for Jesus …”) and, of course, the perennial favorite, “Jesus Loves Me.” As in Sabbath school classrooms around the world, there were tiny colorful chairs (brought specially from Maryland), minuscule tables, and props. Lots of props.
Weekends at a GC Session give any Adventist who wants it the opportunity to worship with thousands of fellow believers. Because Sabbath is the highlight, numbers swell on that special day as Adventists from all over who are not delegates or working at the Session take their chance to join the throngs in worship. And what would a Sabbath morning experience be unless it included programming for the entire family—from babies to centenarians? Thanks to the amazing efforts of the General Conference Children’s Ministries and Youth departments, young people were able to have a Sabbath experience like no other.
For Young and Older Young
From the songs and stories in the Beginners classes right on up to inspired teaching from the White Estate’s Dwain Esmond in Youth, every detail had been covered. Areli Jacquez from Texas was in the Kindergarten class helping her mother, Norma (who led the program). That room featured several activity stations, and every few minutes, Norma would rotate groups to the next one. Why? “We are doing different stations on the theme of ‘Ants’ and how hard working they are, with the lesson of how God doesn’t want us to be lazy. And just like the ants are hard workers, these different stations touch on how God wants us to be hard workers too,” Areli says.
Parents were required to stay with their little ones for the duration of the class, and many parents of older kids gladly took the opportunity to hear awesome messages from Esmond in Youth and newly elected General Conference Youth director Busi Khumalo in the Juniors room. Incidentally, these “older kids’ ” classes were without colorful chairs and cool props—such is the sacrifice of growing up.
While the little ones will likely not remember the rare treat it was to enjoy Sabbath School with children from all over the world, it was an experience their parents will never forget. “I love it because we have children from all over the world together, seeing how we can worship God together—no matter where you come from—and worshipping with songs they know and others they are learning. And they get to see many, many people!” Annie Schultz Begle, mother of three-year-old Alice, says. “I can’t wait for all the kids to be singing together in the choir along with the angels in heaven.”
We can’t either.