It is often said that children are the future of the Church. With a recorded global population of over two million children under the age of 15 attending Seventh-day Adventist churches in 2021*, they make up a large percentage of its current population. Undeniably, their development as young disciples of Jesus also impacts the future of the Adventist movement. Even at a young age, Christ invites children to be agents of His love to the world.
The Adventist Church is gearing up to celebrate Global Children's Day on March 18, 2023. During this annual event held every third Sabbath in March, “Thousands of children from around the World Church will engage in acts of service in their local communities,” said Dr. Orathai Chureson, General Conference Children’s Ministries director. This year’s theme is “Love is a Verb.”
This annual celebration is an opportunity to acknowledge the worth of children and the important role they play in the Church, Christ’s mission, and the world at large.
Chureson added, “This day provides children with the opportunity to engage in compassion ministry and service, spreading the love of God to their friends and neighbors and contributing to the proclamation of the everlasting Gospel.”
Agents of Love
God’s sacrificial love is a major theme throughout Scripture (1 John 4:8). Chureson notes, “Love is about action.” However, children are generally “self-focused,” she added. For this reason, she emphasized the significance of teaching children about God’s love and giving them numerous practical opportunities to demonstrate it to others.
“Children, as Jesus’ disciples and Christians, are to be inculcated with a Christian mindset, taught of God’s love, and are to learn to love in a sacrificial manner, even through their limited ways of witnessing and selfless service to others, [the] church, and [the] community so that they may grow in the stature as well as in the right spirit,” she said.
Chureson elaborates, “These desirable characters need to be given opportunities to develop through hands-on experiences, reinforcing and confirming good feelings or joy in doing something purposeful and pleasing to God.”
Therefore, the Adventist Church is encouraging its members to celebrate Global Children’s Day by identifying a need within their local communities and involving children to help satisfy the need in meaningful ways. For example, donating clothes and toys to those in need, or participating in a community clean-up effort are some examples of service activities local churches can organize.
Since this celebration coincides with the Adventist Church’s Global Youth Day, Chureson also points out that many churches join their youth to engage in service.
How to Celebrate Global Children’s Day
As Adventist churches worldwide prepare for this celebration, World Church leaders developed the Global Children’s Ministries 2023 resource package to help local church leaders plan a special and engaging Sabbath program.
The package includes memory verses for children to learn during the week, feature talks, suggested activities, activities for adults to share and connect with children, and a sermon that can be acted out to inspire children toward service.
In years prior, countless congregations throughout the world have organized meaningful service activities for children to participate in. Chureson explains that children worldwide have visited orphanages and children with special needs for Global Children’s Day, distributing gifts and essential items to the children they met. While others visited the elderly in their local communities, befriending them and offering to help with household chores.
Chureson adds that other Adventist children clean their local church and pick up trash in their local communities and many local churches have reported collecting and distributing clothing through a clothing drive.
“Several children have sacrificed their savings to buy necessities and food for others in need,” states Chureson.
From the Sabbath School program to divine service, Chureson notes that local churches should center Global Children’s Day around “selfless service” to those in their local communities.
As the Adventist Church increases efforts towards reaching every corner of our ever-changing world with the Gospel, Christ invites the Church’s youngest members to become involved in His mission. Let us encourage and empower our children to proclaim, “I Will Go,” and be a disciple of Jesus on Global Children’s Day and throughout the rest of the year.
Learn more about Global Children’s Day and find a promotional video and materials here.
*According to the 2021 Children’s Ministries Statistical Report yet to be published by the Office of Adventist Statistics and Research.