2022 Southwestern Union Children’s Ministries Training Retreat
ATHENS, TEX. – The 2022 training retreat for children’s ministries leaders in the Southwestern Union took place at Lone Star Camp in Athens, Tex., on March 11-13, 2022. More than 200 participants enjoyed the comfortable facilities. On Friday night Tony Anobile, Southwestern Union vice president for church ministries, presented the devotional, reminding all of us about our calling and the importance of ministering to the children in today’s world.
Children’s ministries directors and area coordinators from the five conferences made a great team of presenters for the Children’s Sabbath School Expo and the Vacation Bible School program.
The first seminar on Saturday morning was “Introduction to Puppetry”. They showed great ideas and resources on how to present Bible Stories using all kinds of puppets. The second seminar was on “Teaching Sabbath School.” At worship time we learned about Abraham’s journey, calling us to go home and prepare our families to serve and worship the Lord.
For about two hours on Saturday afternoon, we had lots of fun visiting the Sabbath School Expo which featured exploring ways to decorate the Sabbath School classrooms, birthday stations and lots of ideas on how to teach the Sabbath School lesson. We learned new Bible verses at the Memory Verse station, and learned to pray, memorize and understand the meaning of the Lord’s Prayer at the prayer station. Two more seminars were presented called “Spiritual Gifts” and “Interactive Storytelling”.
We closed the Sabbath with a very creative vespers program on prayer and then our team put together a banquet in honor of each local church children’s ministries leader. As they entered, we received them with applause and shouts of gratitude letting them know they are great teachers and we appreciate all they do. The banquet featured a nice dinner and lots of prizes.
On Sunday morning, we presented a training session on the VBS program: Jasper Canyon. Each participant was a kid for a day. We learned the new VBS songs for 2022 at the Dig Site and then visited Gemstone Mine to hear a Bible story and learn more about gems and stones. We had so much fun playing at the Testing Pit and making beautiful gemstones at Artifact Crafts station. At the Excavation Post, we had the opportunity to pray for and with others. At the Picnic Snack station we had a delicious brunch.
One exciting presenter was 14-year old Orón López. López presented a seminar on how to make Bible story videos using your phone! It was an excellent presentation and we were very motivated, not only because we can do something like that with our phones, but because God is using the kids we train in Sabbath School!
Please consider teaching Sabbath School to the children in your church. Take any opportunity you have to motivate kids to serve and worship the Lord! If you're not sure, be encouraged by Genesis 12:2, “I will bless you… and you will be a blessing.”
By Sonia Cano
Children’s Ministries Director