Seventh-day Adventist Churches around the world will join together this Sabbath, September 16, to celebrate World Pathfinder Day (WPD). This year’s theme is “Go With Jesus”, which aligns with the Adventist Church’s “I Will Go” strategic plan, emphasizing the call to mission and service.
“It is hoped that this theme will encourage all Pathfinders to embrace a sense of purpose and commitment to sharing their faith and the love of Jesus with others,” notes Andrés Peralta, General Conference (GC) associate youth director. He adds, “The hope is that young adults across the world will embrace the message of service and let it become a way of life.”
WPD is a tradition deeply rooted in the history of the Church that Adventists have celebrated annually for over a century. This year marks the 73rd time that GC Youth Ministry leaders have coordinated the event, since Pathfinders was officially founded in 1950.
Taking place on the third Sabbath of September each year, WPD is an opportunity to showcase all the activities and honors that a Pathfinder club has achieved in the past year, and to congratulate and encourage young people to continue serving others.
In the spirit of service, Pathfinder clubs often engage in various activities that demonstrate their commitment to their local church and community, including: leading out in worship, assisting local charities, organizing health fairs, participating in environmental initiatives, volunteering in soup kitchens or nursing homes, and visiting church members or people in hospital.
“Each club has the potential to make a difference in their community, and even if just one person is helped, then the job was done according to the standard of Jesus Christ,” Peralta states.
Some Pathfinder clubs use this day as an opportunity to baptize their young people. In some parts of the world, the week leading up to WPD is called “scarf week”, where Pathfinders wear their scarf as a symbol of their dedication to service and to start conversations about the message of Pathfinders.
“During WPD, gifts are unearthed, and the Pathfinders are affirmed. It also reminds the local pathfinders and members that they are part of a global movement,” said Pako E. Mokgawne, GC associate youth director.
As a word of encouragement to Pathfinder leaders who commit so much time and energy to coordinating events like WPD, Peralta states, “For directors and leaders, planning for WPD and beyond can be challenging. One word of encouragement for them is ‘perseverance’. It is essential to remain steadfast in your dedication to the young people you are guiding, knowing that the impact you make in their lives can be transformational both spiritually and personally.”
Echoing this sentiment, Busi Khumalo, World Youth director, said, “WPD is a reminder to me that the Pathfinder club is the cradle where young people are taught to know Jesus as their Saviour and empowered to serve the Lord. Without the Pathfinder club, I wouldn’t be in the church today.”
The GC Youth Ministry team hopes that all Pathfinder clubs will feel connected with Jesus on WPD this year and that they will find the courage and willingness to go and represent Jesus in their schools, homes, and communities.
“I hope [Pathfinders] understand that going with Jesus means they will never be alone, and they will always have a God on their side,” said Peralta.
All Pathfinder clubs are encouraged to use WPD resources created by the GC in their celebrations this year. To access these, please visit this link: https://www.gcyouthministries.org/ministries/pathfinders/