Christian Education Summit
CAROL JAUDES READS the story “Booth Tucker & the Fringle,” written by Commissioner Doris Noland.
“We’re in for an exciting time,” said Major Brian Bearchell, territorial youth and candidates’ secretary, as he welcomed delegates to Friday night’s keynote session of the Christian Education Summit.
The night’s events ranged from the Creative Arts Team’s lighthearted “Charlie Brown” skits to the thought-provoking vignettes by Carol Jaudes, who performed on Broadway in “Cats,” to the moving “Altars in the Streets” video–creating an evening anchored in hope in a God whose love is bigger than our deepest need.
Commissioner John Larsson, Chief of the Staff, and Commissioner Freda Larsson, brought words of greeting.
Larsson cautioned the audience that “Christianity can disappear in one generation” and affirmed the ministry of those present by stating that “this is an important conference to have because you are reaching youth who have all their lives before them.”
At the outset, Major Millie Bearchell introduced the service corps team members via a video presentation. Teams will serve in five diverse locations ranging from Alaska to the Dominican Republic, Germany, the Pacific Islands, and Malawi.
ALTARS IN THE STREET
Commissioner David Edwards introduced Eastern Territorial Commander Commissioner Joe Noland and Commissioner Doris Noland. The Nolands are Western officers who have made a significant mark on the Eastern Territory.
Edwards commended the “Altars in the Street” video, saying it was a “powerful and moving story of God’s grace and what it did in the life of Joe Noland. It is a success story originating in the Western Territory. This territory is proud of the Nolands and what they have achieved.”
Noland then addressed the crowd, stating: “God wants The Salvation Army to be a prophetic voice today…this is not an Eastern Territory thing or a Noland thing.”
The key to the “Altars in the Street” video is Sunday school, and the active concern of adults for the lives of at-risk children. Twenty-two percent of children live in poverty in the U.S. “It’s an epidemic of historical proportion,” Noland said. “Poverty, neglect and abuse feed off each other and God created The Salvation Army to do something about it.”
The morning got off to an energetic start with Carol Jaudes opening the session as if it were Sunday school (or, as in the East, the new “SONday’S COOL!” programs). Fringle, a character created by Commissioner Doris Noland in her children’s book, Booth Tucker & the Fringle, and Booth Tucker surprised the delegates as they marched down the aisle.
Exciting new models that provide Sunday school materials in weekday activities were shown via video and included: Mission Team (mission teams in at-risk urban settings); Discovery Day (inner city children’s programs that lead to corps planting); Home Base (youth programs in homes); Club 3:16 (mid-week kid’s club); Supper club (family meal times in corps); Local Initiatives (local visions of Christian education).
COMMISSIONER JOE NOLAND speaks prior to the presentation of ‘Altars in the Street.’
Saturday was filled with workshops that provided delegates with a wealth of insight and practical information. Many came with specific needs. Hil Lyons, Seattle Temple Corps, said “I want to see what the Alpha Course is all about and how to implement it in our corps. I’m also excited about the Contagious Christianity course.”
Susan Reel and Kathy Walker, Kalispell, MT, corps, wanted to get ideas that would revitalize their day care program. “We have 80 children at day care. A lot of them are like Charlie Brown in the skit. A lot are at risk. We want to help turn their lives around.”
Workshops offered were: Leading Youth into the Heart of Worship – John Middendorf; Teaching the Youth of Today – Mark York; Walk Through the Bible – John Heouchan; Becoming a Contagious Christian – Bo Bosher; Alpha Course – Bryan Dahms; and Creative Ministries – Carol Jaudes.
Eddie Kerr, Sacramento Citadel, said ” Friday night’s video, ‘Altars in the Street,’ had a tremendous impact on me, convincing me of the need for more prayer and a more proactive approach to the children we serve. I want to take something from the video and connect it with practical ideas from the workshops.”
“This summit is what is needed to inject life into the whole Sunday School program,” said Captain Rob Reardon. “This will refresh what happened last year at the International Congress.”
The Creative Ministries Team provided a unique look at ministry through skits and drama. According to Carol Jaudes, this new form of ministry has been well-received in the East. “It’s visual; it’s non-threatening; and people can relate to it. It has been totally embraced by the territory,” she said.
TEACHING LIKE JESUS
In a powerful presentation, Rev. La Verne Tolbert, Ph.D., of Teaching Like Jesus Ministries, began the final general session of the Christian Education Summit with a dramatic monologue, telling the story of Esther from Mordecai’s point of view. Dr. Tolbert asked those present: What would have become of Esther and the Jews if Mordecai had not taken Esther in and raised her as one of God’s chosen people? Would Esther have fulfilled the purpose for which God created her?
As participants completed a worksheet based on Esther’s story, Tolbert related Esther’s plight to that of children today. She reminded the group that when there is sin in the land, children, the innocent ones, suffer. She challenged her audience, as youth workers, to be like Mordecai–check on the children, be with them and teach them, for each child is here on purpose, God’s purpose. “God’s word will take root in our children’s lives.” (Proverbs 22:6)