Children’s Ministries Leaders Gather in Texas

April 11, 2024

BURLESON, TEX. – The Southwestern Union Children’s Ministries Training Retreat took place at Lone Star Camp in Athens, Tex., on March 8-10, 2024. The theme this year was, “Alive in Jesus” and the retreat welcomed more than 300 participants from across the Southwestern Union territory. 

On Friday afternoon leaders from all over the union territory arrived at the camp. Before dinner they were able to visit the Sabbath School station called “Creative Ideas to Teach in Sabbath School.” The presenters shared fun and easy ideas that the leaders could implement in their own Sabbath Schools. At 6:45 p.m. the praise team, a group of teens all younger than 17, led in singing praises to the Lord. For the opening prayer, participants tried praying in colors. Thirty beach balls of four different colors bounced in the air while music played. The moment the music stopped, the participants prayed with others who held on to the same color beach balls as them.

The first seminar was presented by Bonnie Hawkins-Jordan, who taught participants how to be spiritual ambassadors. 

On Sabbath morning two seminars were presented: Multiple Intelligences and Child Faith Development. The worship service was presented by Southwestern Union Vice President for Multicultural Ministries Osvaldo Rigacci, who shared how children see and respond to Jesus’ invitation to follow Him, and the big and beautiful responsibility we have toward the children, not only in the local church, but in the community. Sabbath afternoon was busy, with a presentation and training on the new curriculum, “Alive in Jesus for Babies and Beginners,” which will be unveiled in 2025. Participants had fun learning about water and sand sensory boxes, parent time activities and all the new ways to bring the Bible stories alive in church and at home.

On Saturday night participants said thanks to all the leaders serving in children’s ministries in the Southwestern Union’s different conferences, celebrating them with a Mexican fiesta dinner. On Sunday morning, participants were kids for a day at the presentation of the Vacation Bible School (VBS) program for 2024, “Thunder Island: Where Jesus is Always with Me.” This program includes happy songs, fun crafts, excellent group games, creative ways to tell the Bible story and a prayer station where children learn about jellyfish and pray for the people they know. 

Participants and presenters were equipped and inspired to continue to minister to children at home, at church and in the community. 

By Sonia Canó
Children’s Ministries Director