January 1, 2013
Online Journal - LOCAL CHURCH ADVENTIST EDUCATION LEADERS CAN HELP BOOST SEVENTH-ADVENTIST EDUCATION
Janice Maitland, Superintendent, Ontario Conference, Oshawa, ON

The Church Manual makes the importance of Adventist Education leaders (formerly secretaries) in the local churches very clear. “Each church shall elect an Education secretary to promote and generate support for Christian Education. . . . The Education secretary shall be a member of the Home and School Association, otherwise known as the Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) executive committee, and will work in cooperation with the association” (p. 117).
 
In earlier days, when Adventist schools were being established, the constituency in general seemed more committed to Adventist education and to sending their children to enjoy the benefits that accrued as a result of choosing Adventist education.  In the current age of scrutiny, however, with standards and values being challenged, increased support is needed for Adventist schools by all its stakeholders.    The Adventist Education leader can do much to assist in boosting support for Adventist education among church members as well as in the community.  Consider the following recommendations for Education leaders as they seek to positively influence people’s perceptions of our schools and, by so doing, assist families in enjoying the blessings of an Adventist education.
  1. The leader must prayerfully approach the awesome responsibility of the office.
  2. The leader must demonstrate, through words and by example, an unwavering belief in the school system by enrolling his/her children of school age.
  3. The leader must work closely with the Pastor and the church board in developing a yearly plan to promote Adventist education.
  4. The leader must continually seek to implement ways and means to remind the congregation as well as the community that the school exists to provide a sound, Christian, Bible-based holistic educational program.
  5. The leader must use every opportunity and every avenue available to promote and showcase the products and results of Adventist education.
  6. The leader must initiate programs and activities (e.g., workshops, seminars, literacy and tutoring programs) that are available to all students and to the community, so that the school and Adventist education principles are visible and useful to all those who want to take advantages of the opportunities afforded them.
  7. The leader must forge links with those in the community who have expertise to assist in program delivery, without compromising SDA standards and values, as another avenue of visibility.
  8. The leader must monitor the students who attend the Adventist school and keep in touch with the school regarding students’ performance, behaviour, preparedness for baptism, etc.
  9. As a member of the PTA, the leader should regularly attend meetings and provide suggestions as well as participate in the programs and activities as sponsored by the PTA.
  10. The leader must always speak positively about the school.
  11. The leader should “contact all Seventh-day Adventist homes where there are school-age children or young people, to encourage attendance at the local church school or at a Seventh-day Adventist secondary school, college, or university, and to suggest possible solutions to problems” (Church Manual, p. 138).
This list is by no means exhaustive but definitely provides a start if a new Education leader should inquire from teachers or principals what they can do to help boost the Adventist school system.  It is critical at this time in our history when negative behaviours of young people in our society are increasing, that the Education leader should play a pivotal role in assisting parents to think and act in the best interest of their children by enrolling them in our schools at every level.  Testimonials by many graduates over the years have indicated that:  (a) the nurturing they received in our schools played an important part in their educational experience, (b) the spiritual component (integration of faith and learning) was appreciated, (c) they were adequately prepared for post-secondary education, and (d) they were not deficient in competing with students from public or other school systems.  Seventh-day Adventists operate a school system of which we can be justly proud.
Resources:
  • Seventh-dayAdventist ChurchManual(2005).